Saint-Norbert is a parish of a few hundred Catholics, situated on the Red River, about twelve kilometres south of Saint-Boniface. It was established in 1857 but the church had already been built in 1855. Father Joseph Lestanc was the first resident pastor and he was replaced in 1860-1861 by Father Charles Mestre. Beginning in 1858 the Sisters of Mercy of Montreal had a convent and a school for girls and the Brothers of the Christian Schools had a school for boys. It was in Saint-Norbert that Fathers Zépherin Gascon and Alphonse Gasté did some months of novitiate in1859-1860 under the direction of Father Lestanc.
Father Mestre became ill in 1862 and was replaced by a diocesan priest, Father Ritchot, who was pastor from 1862 to 1905, and he was succeeded by Father Gabriel Cloutier from 1905 to 1930. Afterwards the parish continued to have diocesan priests as pastors. In 1948, the Oblates purchased the Ritchot building, which served as a French language novitiate for western Canada from 1950 to 1968. It also became a theology scholasticate from 1965 to 1968. . In 1968 the few novices and scholastics were sent to houses in other Provinces. The house and property were sold in 1984. In the years 1946-1948 the Trappists provided hospitality for the seminarians of Saint-Boniface who were then under the direction of the Oblates. The Oblates also had a house for closed retreats in Saint-Norbert from 1960 to 2006.
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.