Former General Councilor

Fr. Marcel’s legacy is not only defined by his dedicated service as the first General Councilor for the Canada-U.S. Region, but also by a childhood miracle that shaped his future calling. 

Fr. Warren BROWN shares two pivotal chapters in the life of this beloved Oblate: the establishment of the Association of Oblate Institutes of Higher Learning (AOIHL) and a deeply personal encounter with St. Brother André Bessette, which occurred when Fr. Marcel was just seven months old and faced a life-threatening situation.

Beginnings of the Association of Oblate Institutes of Higher Learning

Fr. Marcel Dumais was the first general councilor for the newly formed Canada-US Region elected at the 2004 General Chapter.  The Chapter recommended that the Congregation might play more of a role in facilitating cooperation between our various institutions of higher learning. Following the approval of the Superior General Fr. Guillermo Steckling and the General Council, Marcel proceeded to organize the first gathering of the Oblate Institutes of Higher Learning for a meeting in Rome in May 2008.  His work with the group that met in Rome helped to produce the first statutes of the Oblate Institutes of Higher Learning and brought together in Rome for the first time the rectors or presidents of the Oblate Institutes.   The present day AOIHL owes a debt of gratitude to Fr. Marcel Dumais for his pioneering coordination and organization of this group which has continued to this day.

Gratitude for a Saintly Miracle Which produced an Oblate Vocation

After the 35th General Chapter of 2010, Fr. Marcel Dumais concluded his service to the Congregation as General Councilor for the Canada U.S. Region.  For a week following the General Chapter, Fr. Marcel remained in Rome for the transition period between the former administration and the new one.  This provided him with a wonderful opportunity that he held secretly in his heart: to attend the canonization of Blessed Brother André Bessette, CSC.  Brother André was a Holy Cross Brother, known to everyone in Canada and the U.S. for his extraordinary devotion to St. Joseph and for building the beautiful and enormous oratory of St. Joseph on Mount Royal, Canada.

In a very private and intimate way, with a trembling voice and tears coming down his eyes, Fr. Marcel shared with another Oblate about the miraculous intervention of Blessed André in his life when he was still an infant.  Marcel was embarrassed by the emotion this evoked in him.  Marcel Dumais was born in May of 1936 and as an infant, not yet a year old, he contracted the flu, with the accompanying effects of a devastating fever, cough, congestion, and inability to breathe.  The 7-month-old boy was dying, the doctor told his mother.  There was nothing that would save the little one. 


In December of 1936, word was spreading that Brother André was on his death bed. Mrs. Dumais, a woman of great faith, knew of Brother André and his gift to help people in distress.  At the beginning of January 1937, Mrs. Dumais went to the convent of the Holy Cross Fathers and Brothers at the Oratoire Sant Joseph.  She asked to be able to see Brother André.  She was permitted to go in a long line that went down the corridor to his room.  It was a long procession of faithful who were there praying and going, one by one, to kiss Brother André’s hand and to ask for graces through his intercession.  Mrs. Dumais waited patiently for her turn to see the holy man.  Brother André’s eyes gleamed from his bed and with the suggestion of a smile, assured Mrs. Dumais that her infant would be taken care of in God’s tender love. 

That dark afternoon, Mrs. Dumais went home through the bitter cold and windy winter.  When she got home, she found Marcel, emaciated from his sickness, but surprisingly with a very bright face, full of life, laughing, sitting up and playing with some little wooden blocks.  Marcel was cured!  Some days later, On January 6, 1937, Brother André died.  Mrs. Dumais thanked St. Joseph and Brother André, and in her heart, she made a promise to God that Marcel would be God’s servant, that he would become a priest. 

It was only many years after Marcel was ordained as a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate that his mother told him the story of how he was healed through the intercession of Saint Joseph and Brother André and of her promise to God that he would become a priest.

The canonization of Saint André Bessette was a truly emotional experience for Fr. Marcel and a great grace.  He felt very united with St. André and with his own beloved Mom on that special day!

Marcel DUMAIS, OMI, former General Councilor for Canada-US Region (2004 – 2010), peacefully passed away in Richelieu, on November 5, surrounded by his brother Oblates. May he Rest In Peace!