DUROCHER, FLAVIEN, Sulpician, Oblate of Mary Immaculate, missionary, parish priest; b. 7 Sept. 1800 at Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu (Verchères County), L.C., son of Olivier-Amable Durocher and Geneviève Durocher; d. 6 Dec. 1876 at Quebec.
After studying at the college of Montreal from 1818 to 1820, Flavien Durocher taught there until 1823; on 20 September of that year he was ordained priest. He was appointed assistant priest at Notre-Dame de Montréal, then at Trois-Rivières, and in 1827 he joined the Sulpicians, who received him as a member the following year. He resumed teaching at Montreal (1827–29), then became assistant priest on the Indian reserve of Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes (Oka); there until 1843 he gave his services to the Algonkins, for whom he had some religious works printed.
As he wanted to devote his efforts more completely to spreading the gospel among the Indians, he entered the noviciate of the Oblates at Longueuil (Chambly County) in 1843, and was sent a year later to the residence of Saint-Alexis in Grande-Baie (Grande-Baie, Chicoutimi County). Appointed superior in 1849, he was entrusted with the supervision of 14 missions among the whites and eight among the Montagnais at Chicoutimi, at Lac-Saint-Jean, and at the king’s posts on the banks of the St Lawrence and as far as Labrador. He had thus to cover a territory of more than 200 leagues. For these Indians he composed books of prayer and built chapels, particularly at Bersimis.
At this time the Oblates considered that they would be better situated at Quebec, even for spreading the gospel among the Indians. They left their Saguenay residence in 1853 and took over the Saint-Sauveur chapel, which had been built by Abbé Zéphirin Charest and which was inaugurated on 29 June 1853. Durocher was appointed director of the new residence (1853–73). Following the fire of 14 Oct. 1866 the mission of Saint-Sauveur was made into a parish, and by the efforts of Flavien Durocher, who was nominated parish priest, the church and the schools rose once more from their ashes.
This work did not prevent him from retaining his interest in the Indian missions – the residence of Escoumains, and that of Bersimis, which was controlled by Quebec. Almost every year he visited the Lac-Saint-Jean mission, and worked towards the establishment of missions among the Naskapis in the interior of Labrador and on Ungava Bay.
Durocher was a high-spirited, persistent, and devout man, and was regarded as a zealous minister by several generations of worshippers at Saint-Sauveur, of which he was parish priest from 1867 to 1876. A lake and township in the province of Quebec bear his name, and a monument has been erected in his honour in the city of Quebec.
[The AHO hold several works by Father Flavien Durocher; the main manuscripts are: “Anicinâbe aiamie Kikkinwa’ amigusi kiwek’amang Kanactogeng,” 1842; “Dictionnaire français-montagnais,” [1846–47]; “Instructions sur le sacrement de pénitence,” [algonquin], 1834; “Kikijeb gaie onaguci aimaianiwang. Manadji’ata K.M.,” 82–121; “Tebeniminang Jezos ka iji-pimâtisigubanen akking ij onbiwinitagogubanen wakwing Kikkinawâcijikâtêm ka on dimikâtênik o miniwadjimowiniwang Kwa Mattieu, Kwa Mark, Kwa Luk, Kwa Jan”; Pierre Cholenec, “Vie de Catherine Tekakwita appelée en algonquin Mitakwenibekwe, morte en odeur de sainteté au Sault St Louis en 1680, à l’âge de 24 ans,” traduit de l’algonquin par Flavien Durocher. The main printed works are: Aiamie kushkushkutu mishinaigan ([Québec], 1847); Ir mishiniigin. Eku omeru tshe apatstats Ishkuamishkornuts, Uiapokornuts, Uashaornuts, Mashkuarornuts, Shikotimiornuts kie Piokuakmiornuts ([Montréal], 1852). [Pierre Cholenec], Catherine Tekakouita (traduit de l’algonquin par Flavien Durocher, [Montréal], 1876). g.c.]
AAQ, PP. Oblats; Registres des lettres des évêques de Québec. Archives générales des O.M.I. (Rome), Dossier Flavien Durocher (copie aux AHO). Archives provinciales O.M.I. (Montréal), Dossier Flavien Durocher; Dossier Québec; Dossier Saguenay (copies aux AHO). Marcel Bernad, Bibliographie des missionnaires Oblats de Marie-Immaculée; I: Écrits des missionnaires Oblats, 1816–1915 (1v. paru, Liège, 1922). Notices nécrologiques des O.M.I, III, 301–31. A.-L. Bertrand, Bibliothèque sulpicienne ou histoire littéraire de la Compagnie de Saint-Sulpice (3v., Paris, 1900), II, 376–77. Gaston Carrière, Un apôtre à Québec; le père Flavien Durocher, o.m.i. (1800–1876), premier curé de Saint-Sauveur (Montréal, 1960). Adrien Valiquette, Biographie du révérend père Flavien Durocher, premier curé de Saint-Saveur de Québec (Québec, 1911).