Bishop Patrice A. Chiasson

Bishop Patrice Alexandre Chiasson was born in Grand Etang, Nova Scotia, on November 26, 1867. The son of Olivier Chiasson and Angèle Haché, the future bishop moved with his family to Rogersville, New Brunswick, while he was still a child. In 1885, he received his teaching license and worked as a school teacher before continuing his studies at the Provincial Normal School in Fredericton and then at Collège Sainte-Anne in Church Point, NS, graduating there in 1894. He studied for the priesthood with the Eudist order in France, returning to Canada in 1898 to take a position of teacher and superior at Collège Sainte-Anne.

Father Chiasson worked nineteen years as an educator at Collège Sainte-Anne before being called to become Bishop Thomas F. Barry's successor in Chatham. Thus, in that same year, Father Chiasson became the third Bishop of Chatham

Bishop Chiasson's term had several notable landmarks. His appointment itself was significant, as Bishop Chiasson was the first Acadian bishop of a diocese with an Acadian majority. Under his supervision, St. Michael's Cathedral was fully completed in 1923, some twenty years after its construction began. Moreover, St. Thomas College in Chatham received its charter in 1934, rising from the level of a small academy and seminary to a full-fledged degree-granting institution. Most significantly—at least as far as St. Michael's is concerned—in 1938, the seat of the diocese was moved 80 km to the north, to the town of Bathurst. Bishop Chiasson judged that from there the diocese could better serve northern New Brunswick's Catholics, many of whom were and still are French-speaking Acadians. Indeed, Bishop Chiasson did much to further the social and spiritual development of New Brunswick's Acadians.

Although Bishop Chiasson was the last Bishop of Chatham, he remained the Bishop of Bathurst until his death in 1942 at the age of 74. He was succeeded by Bishop Camille-André LeBlanc.

Sources

History of the Diocese of Bathurst

Hamilton, W.D. "Chiasson, Patrice Alexandre." Dictionary of Miramichi Biography. Miramichi: (self-published), 1997.