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Rev. Fr. Robert Gauthier

Presbyteri Sancti Sulpicii; Archdiocese of Edmonton

Reverend Father Robert Gauthier

Biography

Originating from Québec, I was born the 22nd of February 1960. With my parents and my two sisters – Francine and Louise – I lived my first years in a small village called Saint-Mathias. A few days after my birth, I almost lost my life due to a very serious illness. Being brought in emergency to a hospital, one of the doctors who greeted my parents said: “You are bringing us a dying child… If you have faith, there is, not far from here, a shrine dedicated to St. Joseph.” As a man and a woman of faith, my parents went to L’Oratoire Saint-Joseph and prayed for me all night. Through the intercession of Saint Joseph and his humble and faithful friend, Brother André, I was saved by God from an imminent death.

Conversion, Vocation and Formation Toward Priesthood

Baptized and raised in the Catholic faith, I slowly began during my adolescence to live like most of my contemporaries. From the age of 15 until 23, I was very far from the Lord. “Faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love, a love which precedes us and upon which we can lean […] for building our lives” (Lumen Fidei no. 4). During my studies in journalism at l’Université Laval, I met the Risen and Loving Lord through a student named Pierre. With Pierre, I came back home (cf. Lk 15, 11-32), I turned back to the Catholic Church and started to live as a real Christian, as an adult in faith. In 1985, after obtaining my bachelor’s degree, an unexpected offer was made to me by a religious of the Congregation of the Holy Cross (the same Congregation as Brother André): to give voluntarily two years of my life as a lay missionary in Rwanda (Central Africa). There, mysteriously, the Lord gave me two signs: both were inviting me to renounce two human projects (my future career in journalism and my desire to get married) and accept, freely, to follow Him in a priestly life and consecrated celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom.

I entered in the Major Seminary in 1988 and I finished my long formation in 1997, the year of my ordination to the priesthood. Appointed by Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte to a parish of the Archdiocese of Montreal, I served for five years in la paroisse du Précieux-Sang, a community of 11,500 families. In 2002, at the invitation of Father Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., I joined the Sulpicians and began another discernment: in my vocation, was there a call to form, to accompany and to teach future priests? During my two years’ experience in a formation team, the answer was “yes” and I was sent to Rome, in 2004, to do a license at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family.

Coming to Edmonton

From August 2007 until June 2013, I worked as a formator in le Grand Séminaire de Montréal. There, I taught, among others, three courses related to ethics: Ethics of Revelation, Sexual Ethics and Bioethics. Last spring, the Provincial Superior of Les Prêtres de Saint-Sulpice asked me if I would be available for a new mission: to join the team of formators in St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta. Although at 53 years old it was for me a new challenge (from now on, to evolve in a totally English environment), I didn’t hesitate a long time. I said “yes” because I was sure that Christ would precede me in Western Canada and would, through my different and new responsibilities, give me light and the power of His grace. Next year, in Newnan Theological College, all things being equal, I will probably teach the course “Married Love and Sexuality.”

Publications

In 1997, I obtained a first license from the faculty of theology of l’Université de Montréal. The title of my mémoire was: Les catholiques divorcés et le non-remariage : un possible choix ? (Divorced Catholics and non-remarriage: a possible choice?)

In 2007, I obtained a second license, but this time from the Lateran University in Rome. My tesina was entitled: Dimension éthique et dimension religieuse de la conscience chez John Henry Newman (The ethical and religious dimensions of conscience in John Henry Newman).