Archbishop of Quebec and first Canadian cardinal, b. February 17, 1820; d. 1898
Taschereau, ELZEAR-ALEXANDRE, Archbishop of Quebec and first Canadian cardinal, b. February 17, 1820, at La Beauce, Province of Quebec; d. 1898, at Quebec. He entered the Seminary of Quebec in 1828, and graduated after brilliant studies in 1836. While pursuing further studies in Rome he was on the point of joining the Benedictines, owing to his relations with Dom Gueranger. He reconsidered his decision, however, and returned to Quebec, was ordained priest at La Beauce, September 10, 1842, and thenceforth devoted himself to the work of the seminary. He was successively occupied as disciplinarian and professor, and as member of the seminary council was one of the founders of Laval University in 1852. In 1854 he again studied in Rome, residing at the French Seminary, where he took the degree of Doctor of Canon Law in 1856. He was superior, 1860-66. In 1862 and 1864 he returned to Rome in defense of the rights of Laval, and again in 1869, as theologian of Archbishop Baillargeon during the Vatican Council. In the same year he was reelected superior of the seminary and Rector of Laval University, and in 1871 was made Archbishop of Quebec. In 1886 he was raised to the cardinalate, taking his title from Santa Maria della Vittoria. He was particularly zealous in educational matters; the Seminary of Quebec found him at all times a devoted protector; he saved from extinction the classical college of Ste. Anne de la Pocatiere, and aided the growth of new colleges at Levis and Chicoutimi.
Msgr. Taschereau’s episcopal administration was very fruitful. He founded at Quebec the Sacred Heart Hospital, canonically erected forty parishes, founded thirty missions, established various devotions, procured the creation of an episcopal see at Chicoutimi, consecrated seven bishops, ordained more than three hundred priests, convened three provincial councils, and introduced the Redemptorist Order into his diocese, giving it charge of the parish of St. Patrick, and of the shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre. He organized the memorable celebration of the second centenary of the foundation of the See of Quebec, consecrated the new basilica of Ste. Anne de Beaupre, and performed the solemn translation of the remains of Msgr. de Laval. He was much devoted to the Holy See, to which he paid episcopal visits in 1872, 1884, and 1888. He also welcomed at Quebec on three occasions the representatives of the Holy See, Monsignori Conroy, Smeulders, and Merry del Val. In 1871 he was himself charged with the office of papal delegate in a very important matter concerning Montreal. His theological ability and literary gifts were of a high order. Though obliged to give most of his time to administrative matters, he left a manuscript “History of the Seminary of Quebec”; his published discourses, and pastoral and other letters fill six folio volumes of 900 pages each. Cardinal Taschereau was of a silent disposition, but his speech was always pointed and effective. He was venerated by his clergy and people, who admired his Christian piety and dignified bearing.