Rémi Gaulin was born in Quebec (Lower Canada) on June 30, 17 87. After studies in the seminaries of Quebec and Nicolet, he was ordained priest in Quebec on October 13, 1811. He served as assistant and pastor in several parishes of Upper and Lower Canada as well as in Nova Scotia and in the island of Cape Breton.
In 1832, Bishop Alexander McDonnell, bishop of Kingston, acquired Rémi Gaulin as coadjutor. He was ordained bishop in Montreal on October 20, 1833. He became the second bishop of Kingston on the death of Bishop McDonnell in 1840.
Beginning in 1841 his physical and mental health began to deteriorate seriously. In June 1843, Bishop Michael Power of Toronto took advantage of a period of calm in Bishop Gaulin’s illness and had him sign a letter handing over his powers. Bishop Bourget succeeded in bringing the patient to Montreal and he appointed Patrick Phelan as coadjutor of Kingston. The latter was ordained bishop on August 20, 1843 and administered the diocese from then onwards.
Relations with the Oblates
Bishop Gaulin had long periods of perfect lucidity. Bishop Bourget appointed him pastor of Assumption and he had him preside at religious ceremonies and ordinations. That is how it happened that Bishop Gaulin, on July 30, 1848, ordained Fathers Médard, Bourassa, Pierre Fisette and Jean Nicolas Laverlochère to the priesthood at L’Acadie (Lower Canada). It was also he who ordained Bishop Bruno Guigues to the episcopacy in the cathedral of Bytown. On the occasion of his acceptance of the Bytown mission at the beginning of 1844 Bishop de Mazenod refers to the bishop of Kingston several times but the transactions of the Oblates and Father Telmon were more particularly with Bishop Phelan as coadjutor.
From 1849 to 1852, Bishop Gaulin tried to resume the direction of his diocese and he caused quite a lot of problems to Bishop Phelan. In 1851, Cardinal Franzoni, Prefect of the Congregation of Propaganda, and Pope Pius IX himself intervened to declare that Bishop Phelan alone was responsible for the administration of the diocese. Bishop Gaulin died on May 8, 1857 in Sainte-Philomène, near Montreal. He is buried in St. Mary’s cathedral, Kingston.
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.