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Father Hubert (Girroir) Girouard

Thanks to Helena Fougere McCay who posted that picture on Ile Madame NewsGroup

Born....... : July 18, 1825 at Tracadie N.S.
Death...... : January 25 1884 at Havre-a-Boucher, N.S.
Parents.... : Joseph Girouard and Angelique Leblanc.

By the 1850s Acadian leaders throughout the Maritimes were emerging to spearhead the movement for educational and linguistic rights for French-speaking citizens. One of these leaders was Father Hubert Girroir.He began his ministry in Arichat in 1854.

Father Hubert Girroir was the first Acadian born in Nova Scotia to become a priest. A native of Tracadie, he served in Arichat, Cheticamp and Havre-Boucher. For almost 30 years he fought for French-language instruction in schools frequented by Acadian children-not an easy task in a diocese dominated by Scottish priests who, like the Irish, believed in the future of an English-language Church. An academy or high school continued to function in Arichat under Father Girroir's direction. He succeeded in obtaining members of the French-speaking order of the Christian Brothers from Montreal to run the school from 1860 to 1866, but they were obliged to leave as a result of Charles Tupper's Free School Act of 1864 which placed certain stipulations on the qualifications of headmasters of schools receiving public funds. In an attempt to enable the Christian Brothers to stay and thus ensure the existence of a French secondary school on Isle Madame, Father Girroir addressed the following letter to the Premier of Nova Scotia, Sir Charles Tupper: It seems that there is a fatality attached to the Acadian race: for since thirteen years that l have been in public life, I have worked like a man at my post, beggared myself for the education of the country, and, the moment that matters were assuming a fair state of existence, here comes a death blow that blasts all my anticipation's. It seems that, whenever an Acadian community is on the point of taking position among others, here must be something to thwart the efforts of many years. God help us! Nevertheless, my confidence in you makes me hope that you, Hon. Sir, will come to our rescue by granting us what we justly expect. Neither Father Girroir nor any of his successors were able to obtain members of a French-language religious order to take over the Arichat Academy. As a result, it continued to function with lay teachers, several of whom were Acadian graduates of St. Francis Xavier, including Remi Benoit, a native of D'Escousse. Young girls were more fortunate to the extent that a convent school was opened in Arichat in 1856 under the direction of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal. A second convent school was opened later in West Arichat. According to a prospectus at the end of the 1870s the convent in Arichat offered a full "course of instruction in the French and English languages".

Excellent webpage on Rev Fathers Hubert and Conrad Girroir
by Helena Fougère McCay

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