Writing to the Bishop of Montreal about the Oblate missionaries, Eugene said: 

I await impatiently some news of the first mission that our fathers have given in the parish where you have placed them… I have learnt from Father Honorat of the blessings God has bestowed on the retreat he gave in collaboration with the charming priest who associated himself with his work and who manifests a willingness to join the Congregation.

He is referring to Father Damase Dandurand, a Canadian diocesan priest, who was so impressed by the missionary zeal of the newly-arrived Oblates that he asked to become one. 

May this first graft on a vine transplanted to so good a soil by the vine keeper that you are be a thousand times blessed! I pray from the depths of my heart to the Father of the Family that he multiply the species and that the example of this first one be soon imitated by a great number of others.

Letter to Bishop Bourget, Bishop of Montreal, 13 April 1842 EO I n 11

“When the first Oblates from France, whom Bishop Bourget had obtained from Bishop de Mazenod, arrived in Montreal on December 2, 1841, Father Dandurand was resident in the bishop’s house. Shortly afterwards he decided to join them, and he began his novitiate on December 24, probably in Saint Hilaire. The following year, at Christmas, he took vows in Longueuil. Bishop de Mazenod rejoiced to have found in him ‘the first fruits of this good country of Canada.’ Starting in 1842, he took part in numerous missions or retreats in the diocese of Montreal and his ministry was specially appreciated by the English speaking Catholics.”

E Lamirande. (See:

Thus began a long and fruitful ministry which ended with his death at 102 years-of age.

This entry was posted in WRITINGS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Ordained as a priest in September of 1841 – only a few months before the first Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate arrived from France, he began his novitiate with them less than a month later and took his vows a year later.

    I found myself amused at some of the terminology used to describe his life; serving and living with the “little people” as well as comfortable meeting with the mighty, in what was considered to be an “ill reputed slum” and which is now the capital of our great country and what I call home.

    One of the things that I admire about Dandurand is his perseverance through many struggles in his long life. He inspires me and gives me hope. He was aware of his own emotional poverty which he struggled to overcome and from which he found peace at the end of his life at the Juniorate in St. Boniface.

    He seemed to struggle to be at ease with being “a light to his neighbours’ feet” as they journeyed through life, rather than one who carried a great torch to lead the parade of neighbours.

    His life and ministry was anything but “unspectacular” and so I loved Frank’s closing statement about Dandurand’s life being a long and fruitful ministry. For me he ranks up there with Joseph Gerard and Tempier and so many others that I have known in my own lifetime.

    I am reminded of the lines from the Lacombe Mission Statement of how we “…” risk finding ourselves among the marginalized of our community, our society and our church,
    taking our place among the poor and the powerless,
    walking with those who, like us, hold within themselves
    tremendous beauty, strength and gifts
    as well as weaknesses, brokenness and limitations,
    that together we may help one another experience the love of God,
    so we may be healed and give of ourselves in the service of the continuous unfolding of the reign of God within creation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *