Edmonton Archdiocesan Welfare Program: A History of Its Organized Social Services, 1912-1961

William Irwin, Fordham University


The history of the Catholic Church in Central Alberta properly starts with the year 1842. Before this the area was unexplored and unknown until the Reverend Jean Baptiste Thibeault,0.M.I., a missionary from Bed River (now St. Boniface Manitoba), made his first journey to the regions around the upper reaches of the Saskatchewan River. Father Thibeault visited Fort Edmonton and the regions north and west of the Fort during his first journey. The following year at the request of Bishop Joseph Provemcher, Bishop of St. Boniface, he returned to establish himself permanently. This time he advanced Westward to "Devil’s Lake.” He built himself a modest dwelling and a simple chapel on the shore of this lake and changed its name to "Lake St. Anne.” From this humbly beginning the Archdiocese of Edmonton has become one of the most important sees in Western Canada. Today, over one hundred years later, there are 221 Priests working among 105,000 Catholics in that part of the Province of Alberta which is bounded on the North by the fifty fourth degree of latitude, East to the Saskatchewan River, except the Parishes of Legal and Morinville, and then along the river to the Saskatchewan border, on the South by the line dividing the 30th and 31st townships, on the East by the Province of Saskatchewan and on the West by the summit of the Rocky Mountains.

Subject Area

Social research|Social studies education|Religion|Social work

Recommended Citation

Irwin, William, "Edmonton Archdiocesan Welfare Program: A History of Its Organized Social Services, 1912-1961" (1961). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30670844.