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> Issue 56 > Page 3 - Pere Anselme Chiasson: Conversation and a Family Album

Page 3 - Pere Anselme Chiasson: Conversation and a Family Album

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/1/1 (398 reads)

(Can you tell me how, growing up in Cheti? camp, that decision was made?) Well, we had priests, we had a parish priest. And we had sisters--nuns. See. they were teaching us. Especially those sisters were keeping an atmosphere, see, where our vo? cation would be born and cultivated. Me, I was--something special. I was already with a guy from Cheticamp (Father Eucharist Le? Blanc) who was a missionary in Africa, a Capuchin father. And he was writing a lot, in newspapers and (to) people of Cheti? camp. So, even if I had never seen him, I knew him, I was hearing people talking about him. I desired to become a mission? ary like him, you see. And I was praying to the Blessed Virgin that she would put me on the road to be able to become one. And in 1927, he came back to Cheticamp from Africa. So he came to school. And he asked if there was any one student there who would like to be a Capuchin father. Asked the sisters to send a pupil to see him. And the sisters sent me to him. So that's why.... At that time it was--for us--we were poor. He was promising to help me pay for my college and everything. So it was nearly the only way to become a priest. To follow him. It would have been hard for me to be a secular priest. And I wanted to be a missionary, too, so it was --the road really opened for my ideals. So that's Fr. Eucharist LeBlanc... Anyway, we left--three students from Cheti? camp- -to go be with him in Ottawa. It was not at the door. In Ottawa. And I had never been farther than Grand Etang--once. I had never seen a train, never seen an inside toilet. I had never seen electricity. I never seen nothing! (Pfere Anselme laughs.) And I spoke the old Acadian French, when we arrived at Ottawa with all French Canadians.... But I didn't go to Africa because, before I became a priest, Mussolini took Ethio- Fr. Eucharist LeBlanc. He is the man who in? spired Pdre Anselme. Looking at this picture, P're Anselme said: "He was called Mederic Le? Blanc, but when he en? tered religion, a Capu? chin father, he took the, name of Eucharist • Fr. Eucharist LeBlanc. And he was going to the Halifax seminary to be? come a secular priest, but he wanted to go to the missions. So one day he met a Capuchin father who came to preach at Cheticamp. And he told him what was his Ideal, to be a missionary. So the Cap-| uchin father told him, "Well, we have a mis? sion in Ethiopia, if you want to join us.' And that's what he did. "So he went to make his theology In Spain. Then right from there went to Ethiopia and was there 10 years. And he came back in 1927. And that's why • I was In 10th grade, I think, In Cheticamp. I went to see him, and I followed him, to the college of Ottawa." pia, where Fr. LeBlanc from Cheticamp was a missionary. And (Mussolini) sent out all the missionaries who were there, to put in Italian missionaries. So we couldn't go there anymore. And afterwards we had a mission in India. But I was not interested in India. Africa I would have been inter? ested, but not in India. So I remained in Canada. I was a teacher, and taught philosophy and theology in Mon? treal. I was a parish priest in Ottawa. And since 1959 I'm here in Moncton. I taught a few years in the University of Moncton, the folklore. Especially I was an archivist and director of the Acadian Cen? tre (Centre d'Studes acadiennes) at the university. Left page: Capuchin Fathers Anselme Chiasson and Eucharist LeBlanc, Anselme's mentor. Above: the main street of Cheticamp circa 1914, from a Notman Archives photograph. (Your mother-- what was her wish for you when you were a little boy growing up?) I don't know. Be? cause she died before I left. She died 3 years before I left Cheticamp, before I went away to school. But certainly, she would have been glad. I don't know. As far as I remem? ber, it seems 1 to me that she expected a lot
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