TACHÉ, ALEXANDRE-ANTONIN (1823-1894)
Born on July 23, 1823, in Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, Alexandre-Antonin Taché completed his classical studies at the Saint Hyacinthe College and studied theology at the Seminary of Montreal prior to entering the noviciate of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Longueuil. In 1845 he was sent as a subdeacon to serve in the Red River missions, thereby becoming the first French Canadian Oblate to serve in the Canadian Northwest. He was named coadjutor bishop of St. Boniface in 1850, bishop in 1853, and archbishop in 1871.
As a pioneer missionary and bishop, Taché contributed significantly to the establishment of the Catholic Church in western Canada. In 1870 he was asked by the Canadian government to be its mediator during the events known as the Red River Resistance. He was instrumental in negotiating a settlement but later criticized the government for having broken its promise to grant a complete amnesty to all participants, including Louis Riel. Taché regarded Manitoba as a sister province of Quebec, and hence, he and his clergy strove incessantly to promote French Canadian immigration to the Northwest. He was also a vigilant defender of the linguistic and educational rights of French-speaking Catholics in the Northwest. The last years of Taché's life were involved in the controversy surrounding the abolition of confessional schools in Manitoba and the suppression of French as an official language. He wrote numerous pamphlets and letters denouncing this legislation. He died in St. Boniface on June 22, 1894.
Raymond J. A. Huel University of Lethbridge
Archives de l'Archidiocèse de Saint-Boniface, Fonds Taché. Dom Paul Benoît. Vie de Mgr Taché, Archêveque de Saint-Boniface. Montréal: Librairie Beauchemin, 1904.