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  • Born 8 November 1859 - Berthierville, Berthier, QC, Canada
  • Deceased 20 February 1926 - Quebec, QC, Canada,aged 66 years old
  • Catholic Archbishop of Québec, QC




Individual Note

As a young candidate for the priesthood, he showed great promise, standing first in his class, and on 13 June 1882 the seminary council decided to send him abroad for further study in arts at the Institut Catholique de Paris and the Sorbonne. He received his licence ès lettres from the latter on 31 Dec. 1884 and embarked for Canada on the following 11 June.

From 1885 to 1890 Roy taught rhetoric at the Petit Séminaire de Québec, where he left many of his handwritten lecture notes. At the same time, he gave extension courses in literature (Latin, French, and Greek) at the Université Laval and contributed to Le Canada français (Québec), a periodical published by the university. He was already known for his eloquence, unusual, rich vocabulary, and skill in communication.

Roy was ordained priest on 13 June 1886. While continuing to teach, he ministered as chaplain in the parish of Saint-Zéphirin-de-Stadacona from 1888 to 1890. On 23 June 1888 he was appointed prefect of studies at the Petit Séminaire, but his advancement was blocked in the middle of the 1889-90 academic year. The reason for this abrupt halt is recorded in the seminary's newspaper. Its account of the “academic meeting” of 24 February noted an inappropriate speech in which Roy had apparently made “a very clear allusion condemning the bachelor's bill, and [had done so] in the presence of the Superior and in public.” This legislative measure recognized a matriculation diploma as a sufficient prerequisite for the study of law, medicine, or the profession of notary. The hapless orator's apologies were not enough. The seminary's governing council demanded that he resign from his posts and make amends by acknowledging its absolute authority. When the priest refused to accept the second condition, he was dismissed. He had to leave the seminary and head for the United States.

On 11 March 1890 Roy entered a new phase of his life which would span nine years. Appointed curé of the parish of Sainte-Anne, in the diocese of Hartford, Conn., he did his best to gather together the French Canadians scattered across this industrial city and encourage them to retain their mother tongue. To this end he had a church, school, and parish hall built, taught classes for adults, and recruited teaching nuns. During his stay in Hartford, he adopted Blanche Authier, an orphan who would later enter religious life and become a missionary. Their spiritual correspondence would be published in Montreal in 1927.

Roy returned to Quebec on 7 May 1899, having been assigned by the new archbishop, Louis-Nazaire Bégin, to raise funds for the Hôtel-Dieu du Sacré-Coeur de Jésus, which was experiencing financial difficulties. As fund-raiser, he made good use of his skills in public speaking and, first and foremost, committed himself to social action for the poor.

On 8 April 1908 Roy was appointed bishop of Eleutheropolis and auxiliary of Quebec by Pius X. On 10 May he was consecrated by Archbishop Bégin and received an honorary doctorate in theology from the Université Laval. He remained director of the Action Sociale Catholique but at the same time took over much of the diocesan administration. Because of his past and his unpredictability, the authorities at the Séminaire de Québec greeted this appointment with some reservation.

On 1 June 1920 Roy was named coadjutor archbishop of Quebec, with right of succession. The following year, just back from a holiday and rest in Europe, he became the first chairman of the administrative commission of the Séminaire des Missions Étrangères which the provincial episcopate had established in Montreal. He took part in 1922 and 1923 in founding the Hôpital du Saint-Sacrement, which he was bent on making an ecclesiastical institution.

On 17 April 1923, seriously ill with cancer, Roy entered the Hôpital Saint-François d'Assise, where he would remain until his death. His illness did not prevent him from serving as president of the first Congrès Eucharistique Provincial in September 1923. Even though he could not attend the various sessions, he participated in the closing ceremony on the Plains of Abraham. Soon afterwards he gave up the leadership of the Action Sociale Catholique.

  Photos and archival records

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David ROY Celeste HARNOIS  

Benjamin ROY Desanges GOSSELIN

Paul Eugene ROY 1859-1926