The Retirement of Fr. Louis Fournier
By: Fr. Tony Krótki OMI
For the last few years Fr. Louis Fournier had thought of retirement. His life in the High Arctic, which lasted 57 years, was the most precious to him. His time of building the spirit of the Inuit people, their faith and conviction came to the point of “taima”, self-giving, determination in all he has done for them and with them had to come to the stop sign. Reflecting on his life and work Fr. Louis made decision to rest and yet to continue the prayer for his people yet in another way, in another place. The changing face of the North and its people, made the life for him very difficult, hard and too fast. Men can go only so far and for so long then he must rest. 57 years of service to the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic will never be forgotten. The hunger, freezing and stormy weather, sacrifices, all for the glory of God and the love of his people. How could anyone ever forget that? The last post of his mission work, which is known in Inuktitut as Nauja - Repulse Bay is the place he will cherish very deeply. That was his last Arctic home.
Taking some rest at this time Father Louis will travel to France to see his family and friend. Perhaps he will find the solitude place for the winter of his still beautiful and powerful life. We thank him especially because he is our Brother. He sow the seeds as his predecessors did and now it is our time to take what they left and let the God's Glory shine through our own sacrifices and determination, our prayer and love.
The community of Repulse Bay has a new missionary who replaced Fr. Louis and that is Fr. Daniel Szwarc, coming from Taloyoak. Young, energetic and already in love with the people of the North. He started his new assignment with fixing the house, locks, walls and removing the snow from the roof of the Church. Hoping that the changes will be gladly appreciated he is moving ahead fast. That is a good sign. We wish him many blessings on his new ground.
In this situation Fr. Bogdan Osiecki will have to travel more often in order to cover three missions since Fr. Daniel left Taloyoak. Great distances between communities in Kitikmeot region will certainly ask for extra stretch in time and energy.
Fr. Louis some time ago
Fr. Louis passes his knowledge to the young oblates
Fr. Louis in Repulse Bay with sister Mariana