Le Conseil Rév. S.-É.-Perrey 

The first Acadian priest of PEI.

Saint-Simon and Saint-Jude

Tignish, PE

July 14, 1988

 

1802 - 1887

 

Born: July 15, 1802, Tignish, PE

Education: 1819-1826, in Nicolet, Quebec

Ordination: June 28, 1828, in Saint-André

Death: August 3, 1887, in Egmont Bay

Interment: August 5, 1887, in Egmont Bay

 

Sylvain- Éphrem Poirier, who still signed "SE Perrey" was born on July 15, 1802, in Tignish, PE. He was the 7th in the family of 9 children of Pierre (Grand 'duvet) Poirier and Marie Chaisson.

 

Can we really get an idea of what were the circumstances in which Sylvain was born? The Acadians had barely recovered from the years of the appalling Deportation of 1758. It must be admitted that life was certainly not easy for them.

 

The other Acadian families were forced to leave the shores of Malpeque Bay to go and recover in the virgin forest of the Tignish region (near what is now called "The Green" These were the very first family to settle in Tignish.

 

Sylvain-Éphrem was probably baptized in the first small church in Tignish built piece by piece in 1801.

 

He attended school in Tignish and subsequently went to continue his studies in Rustico.

In 1819, Father Joseph-Étienne Cécile, parish priest and missionary in Rustico, recognized the aptitudes and moral qualities of the young Poirier and recommended him to Bishop Plessis of Quebec, who found him a place at the College of Nicolet. Until 1826, he remained there while pursuing studies which would lead him to the priesthood.

 

In a letter of May 24, 1819, to Bishop Joseph-Octave Plessis, Father Joseph-Étienne Cécile spoke of his protege as follows:

 

"He offered himself a Young Acadian named Poirier who wishes to study in the ecclesiastical state. He is a little old, he is entering his seventeen or eighteenth year. He has only ordinary talents. . However, he will be able to succeed. I teach him about a month ... He is above all virtuous and firm in what is good.

 

Imagine the hardships and sacrifices experienced by this young Acadian, who at this time in the Acadian history of PEI. was so far from his family.

 

He returned to the Island in 1862 and completed his studies under the aegis of Bishop Angus-Bernard MacEachern, apostolic vicar of the bishop of Quebec. He received the priestly anointing from Bishop MacEachern on June 28, 1828, in Saint André, PEI. After his ordination, the young priest was appointed parish priest in Tignish.

 

What a great day for the Acadians to see one of their own ascending to the Lord's altar! Abbé Poirier played a major role in the habitation and survival of the Acadian people from the very beginning. For about fifteen years he alone took care of an apostolate which stretched from Tignish to Miscouche, a distance of about sixty miles.

 

At that time, transportation and accommodation were very basic. He certainly had to lie down under all the elements. He traveled by canoe, on horseback, on foot and no doubt otherwise to visit his people in the missions. Poirier "always" gave the impression of being cheerful, content and happy in his ministry despite all the difficulties ".

 

In 1844, S.É Poirier (Perrey) was appointed to the cure of Miscouche with the services of Egmont Bay and Mont-Carmel. Newly ordained young Peter MacIntyre became pastor of Tignish and surrounding areas. In 1860, because of his faltering eyesight, Father Poirier took a well-deserved rest from his labors. He withdrew and went to stay with one of his sisters at the Étang-des-clous near Tignish.

 

In 1869, having regained his strength and having regained sufficient sight, he again assumed his responsibilities as a priest to his flock. He was assigned to the parish of Mont-Carmel as the first resident parish priest of this parish. In this post, he also took care of the Egmont Bay mission.

 

On July 4, 1878, Father Sylvain was celebrated in the chapel of the Convent of Saint Joseph in Charlottetown to mark the fiftieth anniversary of his priestly ordination. Now a convent, this building was moved to Charlottetown in 1864 from Saint-André where it had served as a church and in which the first Acadian priest of PEI. had been ordered.

 

Finally, in 1879, Father Poirier, who had become blind, retired from the ministry and went to live in Egmont Bay with his nephew Félix Poirier.

 

He became a member of the Council of the Collège Saint-André founded in 1830 by Bishop A.-B MacEachern. Later, he gave his support to the establishment of the Saint-Dunstan College founded by Mgr. Bernard-Donald MacDonald in 1855. He was president of the Prince County branch of the Total Abstinence Society. He was a founding member of the Diocesan Mutual Insurance Society for the Elderly and Disabled Priests, founded in 1846. He had churches built, extended and completed, and he had presbyteries erected. Having a good knowledge of religious music, he organized choirs in the missions. The influence he had in this area, it was said, was still felt in the parishes of Prince County at the time of the liturgical changes brought about by Vatican 11.

 

In his will, Sylvain-Éprehem Poirier bequeathed money for the education of young Acadians; scholarships were created at Collège Saint-Joseph in Memramcook, NB, and at Collège Saint-Dunstan in Charlottetown, PE.

 

Father Sylvain-Éphrem Poirier (Perrey) returned the soul to the Creator on Wednesday August 3, 1887. His funeral took place in the Saint-Philippe et Saint-Jaques church in Egmont Bay in front of an imposing crowd of faithful and members of the clergy. His mortal remains were buried in the cemetery of the parish of Egmont Bay.

se.jpg

Sylvain-Éphrem Poirier, who still signed "SE Perrey" was born on July 15, 1802, in Tignish, PE. He was the 7th in the family of 9 children of Pierre (Grand 'duvet) Poirier and Marie Chaisson.