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North Bay man head of new Franciscan province

Franciscans are the spiritual sons of Saint Francis of Assisi

There wasn't a lot of fanfare, but two Franciscan provinces in Canada merged Monday to make one bilingual Franciscan Province in Canada.

And the head of that province is a 55 year old North Bay man, now headquartered in Montreal.

Pierre Charland is the Minister Provincial of the new Franciscan Province in Canada, named Holy Spirit.

Franciscans are the spiritual sons of Saint Francis of Assisi.

"For 800 years, simplicity, humility, poverty, justice, peace, joy in God and universal fraternity have formed the heart of our approach," says their website.

"The creation of the new Holy Spirit Province of Canada takes us back to the roots of our Franciscan charism. It reflects a desire to be led by the Spirit, even on unkown paths," says a news release. 

"It takes us back to the experience of Pentecost, and to the core of the Gospel. This is what I hope will characterize the new Canadian province," says the new Provincial minister.

The proclamation of erection of the new Province and the formation of the new Provincial government opened the Chapter.

"Go rebuild my house!" is the theme for the Chapter of Union which are the words which St. Francis heard at the San Damiano crucifix, in Assisi, continues the release.

The new province will include 87 Franciscan brothers, aged 32 to 97.

Before the union, the Franciscan presence dates back to 1615 with the arrivals of the Recollects. Denoted by their grey habits and pointed hoods, the Recollects took vows of poverty and devoted their lives to prayer, penance, and spiritual reflection. 

The existing Franciscan presence dates back to Quebec, 1888 and the first presence in Western Canada was in 1908. Then the Commissariat of the Holy Land was created. St. Joseph Province was founded in 1927 with Christ the King founded in 1955. In 2018, before the unification, Saint-Joseph Province had 55 friars and Christ the King Province had 32.

The headquarters of the new Province will be in Montreal at La Resurrection convent.

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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