Biography

Léo Deschâtelets, born March 8, 1899 in Montreal, Canada and died in Ottawa on November 1, 1974, was a Canadian Oblate who served as Superior General of the Missionary Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate from 1947 to 1972.

He pronounced his first vows in 1919 and his perpetual vows in 1922. He was ordained a priest in 1925 by Bishop Emard. From 1926 to 1944, he served at the Saint Joseph Scholasticate in Ottawa. He was first a teacher, then a superior from 1938, and a professor of theology at the University of Ottawa. He was superior of the Eastern Province of Canada from 1944 to 1947.

In 1947, he was elected superior general of his congregation, which was then fully flourishing. His term of office continued until 1972. In 1953, he engaged in a circular letter to all the missionaries to mobilize themselves among the popular masses most exposed to the sirens of Marxism and to inaugurate a period of sociological research. Father Deschâtelets attended the sessions of the Second Vatican Council and encouraged a “new awareness of the Church”. He was overwhelmed by the massive departure of missionaries in the post-conciliar years and especially after 1968. He resigned for health reasons and moved to Ottawa at the Villeneuve residence (formerly Saint-Joseph’s scholasticate). Prematurely aged, he died at the age of 75 on All Saints Day.