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Vicariate Apostolic of Keewatin

Includes the northern half of the Province of Saskatchewan

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Keewatin, Vicariate Apostolic of, includes the northern half of the Province of Saskatchewan, and is bounded on the north by the Arctic regions, on the south by the Archdiocese of St. Boniface, on the east by Temiskaming Vicariate, and on the west by the Diocese of St. Albert and the Vicariate of Athabaska. The country in general is barren and uninteresting, though possessing some timber and mineral resources; it is sparsely inhabited by Indians, half-breeds, and a few whites. It was first visited by pioneer missionaries in the nineteenth century, when Msgr. Provencher, Bishop of St. Boniface, sent Abbe Thibault to Ile-a-la-Crosse (1845), Abbe Lafleche (later Bishop of Three Rivers) to explore the Cumberland district (1846), and Father Tache, O.M.I. (later Archbishop of St. Boniface), to join Lafleche at Ile-a-la-Crosse (1846), and thence visit Lake Caribou (1847). These and surrounding missions were subsequently served by Oblates of the Manitoba or Alberta-Saskatchewan Provinces. Prominent among these since 1887 has been the Rev. Ovide Charlebois whose administrative capacities, proved during sixteen years’ ministry at Fort Cumberland, led in 1900 to his nomination as Visitor of the Cumberland District Indian Missions in 1903, to his appointment-as director of Duck Lake Indian Industrial school and, in 1910, to his preconization as titular Bishop of Berenice and Vicar Apostolic of Keewatin, with residence at Le Pas. There are in the vicariate: 15 Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate, 8 Oblate Brothers of Mary Immaculate, 12 Grey Nuns (Montreal), 16 Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart and Mary Immaculate (St. Boniface), 4 Grey Nuns (St. Hyacinth), 10 churches with 16 out-stations; 11,000 Indians, Montagnais, Cree, and Esquimaux, of whom 7000 are Catholics and 5000 non-Catholics or pagans (chiefly Esquimaux). Indian boarding-schools at Norway House (Oblate Sisters, 20 pupils), Lac Laplonge [Grey Nuns (Montreal), 50 pupils], a general hospital at Le Pas [Grey Nuns (St. Hyacinth), 25 beds], a Catholic (French-English) school at Le Pas [Grey Nuns (St. Hyacinth)].


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