Joseph-Norbert Provencher

Joseph-Norbert Provencher, Roman Catholic priest, bishop of St-Boniface (b at Nicolet, PQ 12 Feb 1787; d at St-Boniface, Man 7 June 1853).

Provencher, Joseph-Norbert

Joseph-Norbert Provencher, Roman Catholic priest, bishop of St-Boniface (b at Nicolet, PQ 12 Feb 1787; d at St-Boniface, Man 7 June 1853). Ordained a priest in 1811 he was sent to the troubled RED RIVER COLONY in 1818 to build its first Catholic church and to help introduce some stability into a community the bulk of whose people, Scots, Irish and Métis, were Catholic. A modest but strict and uncompromising man with a strong suspicion of Protestantism, he sought to strengthen Catholicism in the North-West by undertaking several important tasks: the education of the young, the conversion of the Indians and the encouragement of Catholic emigration, a policy continued by his successors. Appointed a bishop and apostolic vicar of the North-West in 1820, his authority was extended to the Pacific coast in 1835; and in 1847 he became the first bishop of St-Boniface.