On March 5, 2018, Fr. Laurent Gallant died at the Carrefour Providence in Montreal at the age of 86 years. Sixty-six (66) of these years had been spent in religious life with fifty-eight (58) as a priest.
Over the years, St. Francis of Assisi Fraternity had many connections with Fr. Laurent. During his regular visits to the Island, he always took time to make contact with our fraternity. He facilitated one of the fraternity’s annual retreats as well as a retreat for members in Newfoundland. He also conducted the most recent pastoral visit to our fraternity.
Fr. Laurent was born on December 24, 1931 in Piusville, PEI, son of Antoine Gallant and Marie-Ida Arsenault. He began his early education in Piusville and, in 1944, he went on to l’Université Saint-Joseph de Moncton in New Brunswick (note that he would have only been 13 when he left home to begin his studies off-Island). He entered the novitiate of the Franciscans in 1951 and was solemnly professed in 1955. He went on to study philosophy and theology in Quebec, and to obtain a higher education in France where he studied in Strasbourg, Lyon and Paris; in 1978, he obtained his Doctorate in Religious Sciences and Sacramental Theology from the Catholic Institute of Paris; his theses was on “The Little Office of the Passion of St. Francis of Assisi”.
Over the years, Fr. Laurent worked as both a professor and director of liturgy in various institutions within Canada and abroad. He also participated in numerous committees supporting the formation and study of friars, including being director of novices within his Province. For over 10 years, he was responsible for developing and leading the organization tasked with animating the life of the Franciscan Family in Quebec (SIAF). He also led and participated in the organization of pilgrimages associated with Expérience d’Assise, and was a regular participant in international congresses on medieval studies. In 2014, he was elected on the Definitory Council of the Province of St. Joseph and, since 2015, had been the Director of the Province’s Library.
Fr. Laurent was a remarkable Franciscan, both a scholar and humble brother, who made an outstanding contribution to his community, to the Church and to society at large. He will be greatly missed within the Franciscan Family. May his soul rest in peace. - submitted by Doug Clorey