Memorable Manitobans: Arthur J. Lacerte (1915-2000)
Born at Marcellin, Saskatchewan on 7 January 1915, he entered the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in St. Laurent, Manitoba in 1934. After his First Vows, on 15 August 1935, he studied at the Oblate International Scholasticate in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood on 15 June 1941 in Ottawa. It was in the fields of education and administration that his gifts and talents were showcased. At the College Mathieu in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, he simultaneously or successively held the posts of professor, prefect of discipline, dean of studies, band conductor, sports coach, retreat master, responsible for the military cadet corps, and vice rector.
From 1957 to 1967, he was rector and professor at College Saint-Jean in Edmonton. He was involved in the integration of the College into the University of Alberta. The agreement that Lacerte negotiated with the University guaranteed the survival of the College. From 1957 to 1967 he was provincial superior of the Oblate Province of Manitoba. During this time he continued his career in teaching at the Saint-Boniface College. After his third term as provincial, he took a position at Saint-Paul University in Ottawa. There he was professor and assistant director -- later director -- of the Institute of Pastoral Studies. He sat on the administrative council of the University and was assistant vice-administrator.
In 1979 he was named one of the governors of the University of Ottawa. In 1990, Saint-Paul University awarded him the Centennial Medal for his contribution to the Pastoral Institute. In 1991, he received honorary doctorates from Saint-Boniface College and the University of Manitoba. In 1997, the Government of Canada recognized his contribution in the advancement of education in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario by enrolling him in the Order of Canada.
In 1985 he retired to the home of his sister in British Columbia. At the beginning of the 1990s he came back to Manitoba where he joined the Oblate community at the Casa Bonita in St. Boniface.
He died at Ottawa on 17 June 2000, following a long illness.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 22 June 2000.
Page revised: 10 July 2009
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