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Diocese of


The Vineyard

Since the early part of the 19th. century, missionary priests answered the Lord's call to become laborers in the Vineyard in bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people of Canada's North. Below you will find information about early missionaries as well as contemporary priests, religious brothers and sisters and lay leaders who minister to the people of the Diocese of Churchill-Hudson Bay.

Lionel Ducharme, OMI

[Mikilaaq - the little one] Born: Montreal, QC (b.1899 - 1979) (1921 - 1979: served in Chesterfield Inlet, Arviat, and Churchill)

Diagnosed by physicians as too poor in health to serve in the North following serious health issues while he was in the Oblate novitiate, young Brother Lionel proved them wrong. In 1921 he set sail from Montreal for the North with Fathers Turquetil and Duplain on the famed M.S. Nascopie ship owned by the Hudson's Bay Company. Two years later he was ordained in 1923 in Chesterfield Inlet by Archbishop Ovide Charlebois, OMI from the The Pas. Br Ducharme's arrival in Chesterfield for his ordination was a surprise appearance after being given up for dead when he and his Inuit companions were lost in a winter storm. Mikilaaq was best known for his time in Arviat where with the help of Okkutak, Akpakaluk, Ailitaq and Uqatsiak he constructed the first mission dedicated to “St Theresa of the Child Jesus” in 1924. An avid gardener, Fr. Ducharme was an innovative kind of guy always puttering around the mission fixing his wind turbine or working on other building projects. Small in stature, he was a welcoming man, big in heart.