Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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PROVENCHER, Jean Norbert, Canadian R. C. bishop, born in Nicolet, Quebec, 12 February, 1787; died in St. Boniface, Manitoba, 7 June, 1853. He was ordained in 1811, and in 1818, at the suggestion of the Earl of Selkirk, was sent to take charge of the Roman Catholic settlers on Red river, with the title of grand vicar. He resided at La Fourche (now St. Boniface), Manitoba. The Canadians, who formed the settlement, had married Indian women, and had lost almost all sense of religion, but he was well received, and in a short time succeeded in reviving the Roman Catholic faith. He also labored among the wild Indians, and established missions in the interior. In 1822 he was nominated vicar apostolic of the northwest and auxiliary to the bishop of Quebec, and he was consecrated under the title of bishop of Juliopolis in partibuts. He returned from Quebec with a few priests, but he did not find them sufficient for the needs of the population that was scattered over his immense vicariate. He afterward obtained the aid of the Oblate fathers, whom he stationed among the Indian tribes, and established schools under the direction of the Grey Sisters. The results of his administration extended to the Pacific ocean, and petitions came in 1835 from the Canadians and Indians of Oregon, asking for missionaries. He could not spare any from his vicariate, but he answered them that he would go to Europe to procure aid. He obtained there considerable sums from the Society for the propagation of the faith, and, after his return to Canada, was able to send two missionaries to Columbia river in 1838. In 1848 the Red river was erected into a bishopric, and Bishop Provencher took the title of bishop of St. Boniface. He founded the College of St. Boniface in 1818, and also a convent.
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