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Historical dictionary... (388)

Perréard, Jules [Jean]

Born: Lyon (Rhone), December 13, 1827.
Took the habit: N.-D. de l’Osier, June 20, 1856.
Vows: St-Boniface, May 31, 1858 (No. 460).
Died: Saint-Albert, Canada, July 11, 1895.

Jules [Jean] Perréard was born in Lyon, France, on December 13, 1827. As a boy he worked as a baker and then he joined the novitiate in Notre-Dame de l’Osier on June 20, 1856 and he pronounced his first vows there on May 26, 1857 having received a one-month dispensation. In his monthly report, Father Florent Vandenberghe, novice master, always gave a favourable account of him: “a young man who has known the outside world. He does not talk much. He works and is painstaking… he is totally dedicated and quite decided,” “a somewhat sombre character, an excellent Brother, humble and hard working”. “a Brother of great virtue, quite humble and submissive”, “does not make much noise, he tries to be all things to everybody”. He received his obedience for the vicariate of Red River.

After his final oblation, made with a one-month dispensation, in Saint-Boniface on May 31, 1858, he left for the North with Father Émile Eymard to help Father Grollier in the mission of Fort Resolution, near the Great Slave Lake. From there he wrote to Father Valentin Végréville: “I am a jack-of-all-trades: cook, food-spoiler, bad carpenter, butcher, mason, chair maker and furniture dealer etc.”. He became ill during the winter after eating fish liver. Since he could no longer eat fish, which was the main food in that mission, Bishop Vital Grandin sent him to the Nativity mission in Fort Chipewyan, close to Lake Athabaska (1858-1861). Afterwards he helped found the mission in Lake Caribou in 1861-1862, and then worked in Île-à-la-Crosse in 1862-1870. He then went to Saint-Albert in 1870 and he only left there, it seems, towards 1894-1895 to go to Calgary and Saint-Paul du Lac La Selle, in Alberta. In 1895 he became ill from an insufficiency of calcium in his jawbones and he went to Saint-Albert where he died on July 11. He is buried there in the Oblate cemetery.

Bishop Grandin wrote a short necrology note about him, in which he said: “In the 38 years which he spent on the North-West, this good Brother has certainly given many services in the different missions where he worked. He was a devoted Brother, a strict religious; he had great and beautiful qualities but his judgement did not always measure up to his goodwill. He was sometimes given to excess and exaggeration, which could not fail to bring painful observations from his superiors and sometimes from his confreres.” As a result he could sometimes be unpleasant and refuse to speak. If his superior pointed out to him that his behaviour left something to be desired, he would become friendly once again.

Yvon Beaudoin
and Gaston Carrière, o.m.i.

Sources and Bibliography

G.A.: oblation formula; 38 letters of which one to Bishop de Mazenod and 32 to Father Joseph Fabre; manu notes by Bishop Grandin and Father Jules Le Chevalier.
Archives of Saint-Boniface diocese: some letters to Bishop Taché and Bishop Grandin.
Missions OMI, 1862-1886, passim.
Carrière, Gaston, o.m.i., “Perréard, Jean [Jules]”, in Dictionnaire biographique des Oblats de M.I, au Canada, Vol. III, Ottawa, 1979, pp. 64-65, with sources and bibliography. This is the text published here with certain additions and corrections.