Painter: Dominique Beauregard
Photographer: Robin Simard
Detail: Acrylic on canvas; 36″ x 48″
Painting by Dominique Beauregard from the « Les Stations du curé Labelle »
“I have many irons in the fire” was an expression Antoine Labelle was fond of using in his letters.
He was constantly involved in an unceasing flurry of projects. Brimming with vitality, with a huge capacity for work and an iron will, Labelle was able to take on an amazing number of tasks. Many people were surprised by the rate at which he worked and his boundless energy: “The bishop visiting me can’t believe how much I’ve taken on,” he wrote to his friend Dr. Jules-Édouard Prévost. “To be able to get through the work he got through in 20 years, he had to be a man of many parts: a priest, a colonizer, a politician, a man of ideas, devoted, indomitable, unselfish, fiery, and indulgent to the point of ignoring the limits of indulgence,” wrote Arthur Buies.
His sleeves rolled up, hammering away at a piece of iron, forging a country—J’ai bien des fers au feu depicts a Curé Labelle in all his strength, pounding away at a thousand projects. A master blacksmith, his raw material was the forest, the country, the land, and the people who inhabited it.