Mgr. Antoine Racine 1874-1893
The first Bishop Mgr Antoine Racine 1874-1893
Biographic record :
Born 26 January 1822, in Saint-Ambroise-de-la-Jeune-Lorette, Mgr. Racine was ordained priest on 12 September 1844, in Québec’s Basilica. His ministry first took place in parishes : curate in Saint-Etienne-de-la-Malbaie, first parish priest of Princeville, parish priest of Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, then parish priest of Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Québec (1853-1874). Upon the erection of the diocese of Sherbrooke by Pope Pie IX on 28 August 1874, Mgr. Antoine Racine was chosen by Rome to become its first pastor. He received the episcopal ordination on 18 October 1874. From the first few months of his episcopacy, Mgr. Racine took the charge of the diocesan procurator, which he will keep until 1892. He founded the Séminaire [Saint-Charles-Borromée] de Sherbrooke and became its first Superior until 1878. In 1875, he also invited the Sisters of Charity of Saint-Hyacinthe to establish the Hospice du Sacré-Cœur. He recruited religious teaching communities : the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary (1870), the Brothers of the Sacred Heart (1882) and the Ursulines (1884). On account of the incredible poverty of his diocese, Mgr. Racine founded the Société de Colonisation de Sherbrooke (1881). Under his pastorate, this institution enabled the formation of new parishes in the Eastern Townships, 54 in all. He gave a great importance to the training of future priests, offering them classes of theology and pastoral courses. He personally taught and preached retreats to the religious communities of his time. In summary, we can say that he established solid bases of the new diocese. He died in Sherbrooke on 17 July 1893 at the age of 71.