St. François de Laval (1623-1708)
First Bishop of Quebec; first Bishop of Canada. François was born in Montigny-sur-Avre, France. From his earliest years, François desired to be a priest. At the age of thirteen, François lost his father. After being ordained, at the age of thirty two, François was chosen to be a Vicar Apostolic (kind of like a missionary bishop) in Asia. However, he was prevented by the Portuguese Court. So for three years he lived in solitude, until he was made Vicar Apostolic to New France. François tended with great zeal this fledgling Church, which at this time was truly mission terrority with no Diocese or parishes to speak of. He had a seminary built and a trade school established. After fifteen years in New France, the Diocese of Quebec was established, extending from Acadia to Lousianna, and François was named its first Bishop. With a spirit of poverty and mortification, François kept in check the honours and dignity of his office. When François was advanced in age, he resigned as Bishop of Quebec in order to allow one younger to assume the arduous office. For twenty two years, François suffered to see his successor undo much of the good work he had done. However, in 1700, his successor being detained in France, François was given administration of the Diocese of Quebec till his death at age eighty five.
O God, eternal shepherd of the faithful, who sent Saint François de Laval as Bishop to extend the dominion of Christ to the people of Canada, grant, through his intercession, that we may strive always to keep and to put into practice the faith which, with unquenchable zeal, he strove to proclaim.