Three Rivers, Diocese of (TRIFLUVIANENSIS), formed from the Archdiocese of Quebec, to which it is now suffragan, founded on June 8, 1852. The diocese at first comprised on the northern shore of the St. Lawrence, the Counties of Champlain and of St. Maurice—the County of Maskinonge being at that time a part of the County of St. Maurice; on the southern bank, the Counties of Yamaska, Nicolet, Drummond, and twenty-four townships in the County of Sherbrooke. Later on, this territory was divided, especially for the erection of the Diocese of Sherbrooke and of the Vicariate-Apostolic of Pontiac. Lastly, in July 1885, all the parishes of the southern shore were erected into the Diocese of Nicolet. It now comprises forty-three parishes and eight missions. The Catholic population is 84,000; non-Catholic 800, of whom 600 are Protestants.
The first bishop, Msgr. Thomas Cooke, died in 1870 and was succeeded by Msgr. Louis-Francois Lafleche, administrator of the diocese from 1869 to 1898, year of his death. Msgr. F.—X. Cloutier is the present and third Bishop of Three Rivers; born at Ste-Genevieve de Batiscan, Champlain, Quebec, November 2, 1848, he was ordained priest, September 22, 1872, appointed Bishop of Three Rivers, May 8, 1899, and consecrated on July 25 following by Msgr. L.—N. Begin, Archbishop of Quebec. The diocese contains 100 secular priests; 1 convent of Franciscan Fathers; 1 house of Oblate Fathers; 10 schools of brothers; commercial colleges, academies, etc., 4 under the direction of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, 3 under the direction of the Brothers of Christian Instruction, 2 under the direction of the Brothers of St. Gabriel, 1 under the direction of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. There is also a juniorate in charge of the Brothers of Christian Instruction.
The institutes of women are: Ursulines, 7 convents; Sisters of the Congregation of Notre-Dame, 2 convents; Sisters of the Assumption, 4 convents; Sisters of the Good Shepherd, 1 convent; Gray Nuns of the Cross, 1 convent; Daughters of Jesus, 2 convents, 1 kindergarten for boys and 13 schools for girls and boys; the Sisters of Charity of Providence, with 4 orphanages, 2 boarding-schools for girls, 4 asylums, and 1 hospital; Dominican Sisters of the Holy Rosary, 1 orphanage, they also have charge of 2 religious institutions; Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood, 1 monastery.
The churches, mostly all of them remodeled, are remarkable in structure and in size. The cathedral, erected in 1854, and restored in 1904, is a magnificent monument of Gothic architecture. The schools in each parish are numerous and well conducted. The Seminary of Three Rivers, founded in 1860, has a yearly attendance of 300 students. Religious and benevolent societies are numerous and flourishing. The diocese has also literary circles, Young Men’s Associations, savings’ banks, parochial libraries, and temperance societies.