Albert Lacombe, Oblate priest, missionary (b at St-Sulpice, LC 28 Feb 1827; d at Midnapore, near Calgary 16 Dec 1916). A successful missionary to the CREE
, Lacombe used his trace of Indian blood to gain an entry to the hearts and minds of the Fort Edmonton Métis and Indians in 1852 when he came to serve them. In due course, he either founded or ministered at the Alberta missions of Lac Ste Anne, St Albert (1861) and St Paul des Cris (Brosseau) 1865. After 7 years as a travelling missionary among the Indians, he moved to Manitoba in 1872 and took over St Mary's parish, Winnipeg. On his return to Alberta in 1882, he became priest of Calgary's St Mary's parish and also served in southern Alberta at Fort Macleod and from his "Hermitage" at Pincher Creek.
In 1883, when the Canadian Pacific Railway came into conflict with the Blackfoot, who threatened to block the route across the reserve, Father Lacombe successfully negotiated on behalf of the railway with Chief CROWFOOT. In 1894 Lacombe was principal of an industrial school at Midnapore; he initiated the colony of St Paul des Métis in 1895, and in 1909 he started the Midnapore Old Folks' Home. As the church's spokesman for the prairies, he played a significant part in influencing government policy, as well as helping settle the prairies. His love for the native people never faded. Called by the Indians "The Man of the Good Heart," he wrote both a Cree grammar and a dictionary.
Father Albert Lacombe
Lacombe used his trace of native blood to gain entry to the hearts of the Métis and native peoples in 1852 when he came west to serve them (courtesy PAA).
Lacombe, Albert, with Native Leaders
Top left, with Crowfoot, Red Crow, Three Bulls, One Spirit and North Axe, 1886 (courtesy PAA/H. Pollard Coll).
J.W. Grant, Moon of Wintertime (1984).
Links to Other Sites
Lac Ste Anne Pilgrimage
The website for the annual Lac Ste Anne Pilgrimage, the largest annual Catholic gathering in western Canada. Located on the shores of Lac Ste Anne, the pilgrimage grounds has been declared a national historic site.