First Missionaries to Meet Inuit
- Father Alphonse Gasté OMI
- Father Émile Petitot OMI
- Father Camille Lefebvre OMI
- Fathers Henri Grollier OMI and Jean Seguin OMI
Father Alphonse Gasté OMI (1830-1919)
This priest came from France to Canada in 1860. Working among Montagnais, a tribe belonging to the Déné family, he tried to be a mediator between them and Inuit, since Montagnais' expeditions to the farther north were causing conflicts. The peace was finally established and the priest learned to know the Inuit who started to come now to the Caribou Lake and traid their furs. There was no conversion to Chritianity, but relations were friendly and father Gasté gained Inuit's trust. He visited himself the Inuit as far north as Doobant Lake. Some of them came to the mission for several years. Well, father Gasté dreamt of a permanent presence of the missionaries among the Inuit, in their land. He expressed that desire already in 1868. It's realization had to wait until 1912, when father Arsène Turquetil OMI established first catholic mission in Chesterfield Inlet.
Father Émile Petitot OMI
He visited Inuit at Fort McPherson for serveral years (1865, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1877). Later on he went into full Inuit territory, not far from Liverpool Bay, to study the country, language and way of life of the Inuit. In his letters and writings he shows his wonder for the culture he met.
Father Camille Lefebvre OMI
Stationed at Fort McPherson he was assigned to the evangelization of the Inuit, from 1889 till 1898. "Evangelization" means the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His missionary efforts did not bring any tangible success. Nontheless during all that time he remained in contact with the Inuit.
Fathers Henri Grollier OMI and Jean Seguin OMI
About these two missionaries we know that they simply visited Inuit at Fort McPherson. Fr. Grollier went there in 1860 and 1861, Fr. Seguin in 1862 and 1867. Both of them were stationed permanently in the Good Hope mission.