On February 02, 1921, meeting in plenary session, the bishops of the province of Québec decided unanimously to found a Canadian seminary of the Foreign Mission in the diocese of Montréal. For that purpose, they were creating a Society legally recognised under the responsibility of the bishops of the province. It is as such that the dream of a young religious nun, Sister Délia Tétreault, was coming to realisation. Since a long time, she was desiring that such a project would come to life. In 1902, with the help of bishop Bruchési, she had founded the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception, giving by that way to thousands of women the possibility of proclaiming the good News in all continents. After this fruitful move, Sister Délia still hoped to set up a major seminary for the missions overseas. She was even going to recruit the first priest, Monsignor Louis-Adelmar Lapierre, parish priest of St. John the Baptist of Montréal, who would be leaving a few years later for Mandchuria.
The parish priest of Joliette, Monsignor J-Avila Roch, was named as the first superior general of the Society. In September 1924, the seminary was opening its doors, welcoming its first 15 candidates and, the following year, the first 3 missionaries were being sent to China. This was the beginning of a story that formed generations of missionaries who were first sent to Asia, then to Latin America and finally to Africa. After the Vatican II Council, the «quiet revolution» gave rise to a profound crisis in the traditional Church of Québec. For some decades, the seminary was welcoming very few candidates to the priesthood.
The Society of the Foreign Mission is now realising a radical move by promoting the formation and the sending to the missions lay people and opening itself to internationality. Mixed teams of men and women , priests and lay people coming from all over, in partnership with other missionary institutes, are bringing an energetic breath and a fiery wind to our Society.
In Pont-Viau, you have the central Council of the Society and the general services: the office of the secretary, the bursar’s office, the animation staff, and also the offices of the Missions-Étrangères magazine which is published 5 times a year and allows thousands of readers to follow the evolution of the Society. Around sixty missionaries who came back from the missions now reside in Pont-Viau, as retired priests, and they compose the core of the circumscription of Canada. Some of them are still involved in pastoral work. Two teams of missionary animation are sharing our missionary experiences with the Québec Church, one in Laval and the other in Québec City. A confrere of the animation, Clément Bolduc, is present among the seasonal Mexicans workers in the metropolitan area, while Frank Alvarez is parish priest of the Filipino community of Montréal. The Roch pavilion welcomes groups undergoing missionary formation and lay associates and seminarians who are preparing themselves to leave for the missions, and also confreres who are passing through. The intercommunity program of missionary formation is holding many formation meetings in Pont-Viau.
Central House of Pont-Viau: firstname.lastname@example.org
Report on the missionary life of Bishop Gustave Prévost, p.m.é.
GUSTAVE PRÉVOST, missionary in China.
In 1938, Bishop Gustave Prévost leaves for China to spread the Good News - he will experience prison and the war.