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Memorable Manitobans: Omer Robidoux (1913-1986)

Cleric, educator.

Born at St. Pierre-Jolys on 19 November 1913, son of Joseph Robidoux (c1887-1919) and Jeanne Tanguay (1888-1937), his primary education was received in a local school administered by the Sisters of Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. His secondary education was at the Holy Family Juniorate in St. Boniface (1928-1933). In August 1933, he entered the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at St. Laurent and took his first vows a year later. He spent six years studying philosophy and theology at Lebret, Saskatchewan. He was ordained as a Catholic priest in June 1939.

After studying the Saulteaux language at Fort Alexander in 1940, the following year he was sent to do mission work about Indigenous peoples at Lestock, Saskatchewan. He served as Principal of residential schools at Lestock (1947-1951) and Lebret (1951-1958) before becoming the first Principal of the Assiniboia Indian Residential School (1958-1966). In 1966, he was appointed to the Commission to the Missions and Indian Schools of the Oblate Province of Manitoba and, the next year, he was named Provincial Vicar.

In March 1970, he was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Hudson Bay-Churchill, based at Churchill, where he became known as the “Flying Bishop” for his frequent travels throughout the north.

He was killed in a plane crash at Rankin Inlet, North West Territories [now Nunavut] on 12 November 1986 and was buried in the St. Boniface Cemetery.

Sources:

Birth registration [Joseph Alfred O. Robidoux], Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Death registration [Jeanne Robidoux], Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Crash victims mourned in remote northern hamlet,” Winnipeg Free Press, 14 November 1986, page 3.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 17 November 1986, page 39.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 18 November 2022

Memorable Manitobans

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