Born: Saint-Benoît (Lower Canada), May 30,
Took the habit: Montreal, October 21, 1855.
Vows: Montreal, October 23, 1856 (N. 596),
Priestly ordination: Ottawa, September 8, 1861.
Left the Congregation: 1872
Died: Grande Isle, Maine, U.S.A., May 8, 1893.
Jean-Baptiste Richer was born on May 30, 1833, in Saint-Benoît-des-deux-Montagnes, then in the diocese of Quebec. His parents were Jean-Baptiste Richer and Marie Anastasie Brazeau. After classical studies he began novitiate in Montreal on October 21, 1855 and he took vows there on October 23, 1856. He continued his studies in Ottawa College and was ordained to the priesthood in that city on September 8, 1861 by Bishop Bruno Guigues.
In a report made in 1872, Father Vandenberghe says that Brother Richer made a good novitiate. Father Antoine, his novice master, “was very pleased with him. After his vows, he had a number of occupations but his aptitudes tended to make him more suited to material work than to the needs of the ministry. He was sent to Red River where it was thought he might be procurator.” He worked in Saint-Boniface from 1861 to 1864, with responsibility for service in Saint-Charles, then in Saint-Joseph of Pembina (Walhalla), North Dakota, from 1864-1870.
In 1870, Bishop Taché asked the Provincial to receive Father Richer in that Province “because there was danger of a scandal.” In 1870-1872, he was in Maniwaki where he had the position of treasurer. The superior soon complained of Father’s conduct and his bad administration. He was called to Ottawa and left the Congregation in 1872. He ministered as a diocesan priest in West Boylston, Maine (1872-1873), became the first pastor of Suncook, New Hampshire, (1873-1876), pastor of Van Buren, Maine (1876-1884), and of Grande Isle, Maine (1884-1893). He died there on May 8, 1893 and that is where he is buried.
Sources and Bibliography
G. A.: oblation formula; two letters of
which one to Bishop de Mazenod; report of Father Vandenberghe 1872.
Archives of the Archdiocese of Saint-Boniface: two letters to Bishop Taché.
Carrière, Gaston, o.m.i., “Jean-Baptiste Richer”, in Dictionnaire biographique des Oblats de M.I, au Canada, Tome III, Ottawa 1979, p. 127. This text, with some additions, has been used here.