Taché, Alexandre Antonin
TACHÉ, ALEXANDRE ANTONIN
Second bishop and first archbishop of Saint Boniface, Manitoba, Canada; b. Fraserville, Quebec, Canada, July 23, 1823; d. St. Boniface, June 22, 1894. Taché was the son of Charles and Louise-Henriette (Boucher de la Broquerie) Taché. After his theological studies at the Grand Séminaire of Montreal, he joined the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and, while still a student, accompanied Pierre Aubert, first Oblate missionary in the West. Taché was ordained at Saint Boniface (Oct. 12, 1845), then went to Île-à-la-Crosse (1846), where he worked for the evangelization of the Cree and other native nations of the region: Chippewayans, Athabascans, and Caribou-Eaters. At 27 he was named coadjutor to Bp. Joseph N. Provencher of Saint Boniface and was consecrated titular bishop of Arath, Nov. 23, 1851, in Marseilles, France, by Bp. Charles J. de Mazenod, founder of the Oblates. When Provencher died (June 7, 1853), Taché succeeded to the see, but continued to visit his missions, traveling as far as Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories, in 1855. In his see city he supervised the erection of a new cathedral (1861) following the loss by fire in December 1860 of his cathedral and his residence.
The transfer of the Northwest Territories to Canada and the disregard shown by the Canadian government for the rights of the local population brought serious troubles in 1869–70, culminating in an insurrection led by Louis riel. Taché was assisting at Vatican Council I, but returned in haste at the request of the Canadian government. He did much to calm spirits and obtain safeguards for the national and religious rights of the population. At the same time he played an important part in organizing the new province of Manitoba. He became an archbishop Sept. 22, 1871, with the bishop of St. Albert and the vicar apostolic of the North as suffragans.
He met the needs of an expanding Catholic population by providing new parishes or residential missions; these increased from nine in 1858 to 36 in 1888. He also founded a French Catholic newspaper for the defense of the rights of his flock, called the Provincial Council of Saint Boniface in 1889, and played an important part in the controversy over Catholic schools, suppressed by an unjust law in 1890 although guaranteed by the constitution of Manitoba.
He wrote many books and pamphlets about his Western missions, including Vingt Années de Missions (Montreal 1866) and Esquisse du Nord-Quest (Montreal 1869). He also wrote pamphlets about the amnesty—L'Amnistie (Montreal 1874) and Encore l'amnistie (St. Boniface 1875)—, the situation in the Northwest in 1885 (Quebec 1885), and the school question—Denominational or Free Christian Schools in Manitoba (Winnipeg 1877), Les Écoles séparées de Manitoba (St. Boniface 1890), Un Page d'histoire des écoles de Manitoba (Montreal 1894), and Mémoire sur la question des écoles (Montreal 1894).
Bibliography: j. p. a. benoÎt, Vie de Mgr Taché, 2 v. (Montreal 1904). a. g. morice, History of the Catholic Church in Western Canada: From Lake Superior to the Pacific, 1659–1895, 2 v. (Toronto 1910); Dictionnaire historique des Canadiens et Métis français de l'Ouest (Quebec 1908). a. savaÈte, Vers l’abîme v.7 (Paris 1910).