Memorable Manitobans: Maurice Alonzo Cournoyer (1894-1975)
Born at St. Jean de Wickam, Drummond County, Quebec on 11 May 1894, son of Edouard Cournoyer (1856-?) and Matilde Desrosiers (1860-?), shortly after 1906 he accompanied his parents to Worcester, Massachusetts where he was educated at Holy Name of Jesus School and Assumption College. He studied at St. Borromeo’s seminary and graduated in philosophy from the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec and attended the Grand Seminary in Montreal.
By 1920, he was teaching at St. Boniface College and was ordained by Alfred Arthur Sinnott on 17 December 1921 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Winnipeg. From 1921 to 1925, he was the Curate at St. Edward’s Roman Catholic Church and Chaplain of St. Joseph’s orphanage in Winnipeg before serving at the Ste. Rose du Lac Parish, and then at St. Augustine’s Church in Brandon. In 1925, he became Pastor at St. Columbia’s Roman Catholic Church in Swan River until 1929 when he returned to the Winnipeg area. In 1929, he became Assistant Pastor at Notre Dame Parish in Selkirk and St. Vital Roman Catholic Church at Fort Garry. When the parish was split, he took a full-time focus at the St. Vital Church in Fort Garry in 1931, working there until his retirement in 1967. For a time, he also held charge of missions at Souris, Minnedosa, and Neepawa. In recognition of his community service, he received the Fort Garry Order of the Gate in 1970.
He received his Domestic Prelate designation on 22 March 1958 from Pope Pius XII and was invested in June of that year, at the opening of the new church building. During the Second World War, he was appointed Roman Catholic Chaplain (1943-?) of the 103rd Basic Training Centre at Fort Garry and given the rank of Captain. He was both a life member and honourary padre of the Royal Canadian Legion.
He died at Winnipeg on 11 November 1975 and was buried in the St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery. He was honoured with the naming of St. Maurice School in Fort Garry.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
“Roman Catholic chaplain named,” Winnipeg Tribune, 23 October 1943, page 5.
“Servicemen honor their fallen comrades,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 June 1945, page 17.
“Fort Garry Parish priest feted on 25th anniversary,” Winnipeg Free Press, 15 October 1946, page 3.
“City, Fort Garry pastors are honoured by Pope,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 March 1958, page 4.
“Citizens given pins, awards,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 January 1970, page 25.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 13 November 1975, page 60.
Levesque family tree, Ancestry.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 19 November 2020