This church is located at 4731 Burke Road, Port Alberni. Founded in 1951, it is valued for its association with the Oblate Order and the Sisters of St. Ann, from Quebec.
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate came to Canada from France in 1841 to promote Christianity to Indigenous people and new settlers. While many of their contributions were celebrated in the past, they have more recently issued apologies for their role in the residential school system and for the part they played in the “cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious imperialism” towards Indigenous people.
The Sisters of St. Ann arrived in Victoria from Quebec in 1858, to establish education and health service for new settlers and Indigenous people. While many of their contributions are celebrated, in 2014 the Sisters acknowledged that their involvement in Canada’s Indian Residential Schools contributed to a form of cultural oppression that has had a lasting effect not only on those who attended the schools but also on subsequent generations.
Fr. Wilfred Brazeau was the founder and first pastor of the French Parish. The nearby Smith Memorial School was staffed by Sisters of St. Ann as part of this same parish.
Although the original building has disappeared, the current building represents the evolution of this Francophone parish, as the Oblates and Sisters of St. Ann ensured its creation and development.