Author: Antoine Labelle, January 17, 1876
Source: Chancellery of Saint-Jérôme
Reader: Lou Harvey, 17, a student at Cap-Jeunesse school in Saint-Jérôme. Lou is autistic.
Reading by a teenager of a letter from the curé Labelle.
Reverend Canon Joseph-Octave Paré, Secretary of the Diocese of Montreal
Dear Sir, I write to you in regards to a wedding held here. Antoine Longpré, of this parish, has lived for many years in Nebraska. He has married before a magistrate Lucie Hélène Hayes, daughter of a Protestant father and a Catholic mother. They arrived in Saint-Jérôme some weeks ago. She says she was never baptized. Her mother had her first child baptized secretly. But Lucie’s older sister writes that she was never baptized. If so, the marriage is void. I have asked her if there can be any doubt; she says there is none. I hope the young woman wishes to become Catholic. Supposing she does not, is it better to demand their reprobation and request no exemption, or ask Rome for an exemption and trust in their good faith until it is granted?
I have seen the woman; she is studying her catechism to know the Catholic religion, and I have reason to hope, but am not yet certain. I am obliged to believe she is being truthful. They love each other such that they would not want to separate, even if required to. Permit me, through you, to bring this case to Monsignor of Montreal, so that in his wisdom he may dictate to me how to proceed.
I am busy organizing the convoys of firewood to Montreal. It’s Monsignor of Montreal’s wish. I spoke to him Sunday and we are ready to start.
I cannot say if we shall succeed. Ah! My affairs overwhelm me. I shall go into town tomorrow to see my creditors and their books.
With deepest respect, Dear Sir, Your most humble and devoted servant,
Father Antoine Labelle