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Fr. Laurent Roy, o.m.i. (1924-2012)
08/02/2012 Notre-Dame-du-Cap

It was with great regret that the Province of Notre-Dame-du-Cap learned, on January 10, that it had just lost a much esteemed confrere in Ottawa, Fr. Laurent ROY, age 87. For ten years, he lived at Maison Deschâtelets where he had retired after 22 years as a missionary in Chile and 27 years at the service of the General Administration in Rome.

Born in Quebec in 1924, Laurent Roy studied at the diocesan Minor Seminary, one of the most prestigious high schools in the city, when, after careful discernment, he applied for entry into the novitiate of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1945. He said that he had been attracted by both the missions and community life. After two years of philosophy at St. Joseph Scholasticate in Ottawa, in 1948, he was called to the International Scholasticate in Rome to join the post-war community and study theology at the Athenaeum Angelicum. He made his perpetual oblation on July 16, 1949, at the summer house in Roviano, where he was ordained a priest on July 8, 1951.

Having joined the Oblates to respond to a call to the foreign missions, Laurent was part of a group of Canadians who were chosen at the beginning of the 50’s for a new mission in Chile. Soon, he became superior of the Oblate Minor Seminary in Antofagasta (1956-58); then, superior of the Inter-American Scholasticate in Santiago (1958-68); and then, provincial superior of Chile (1968-1974). At the end of his term, since he was known for his vast knowledge, his concern for order and his gift of writing, Laurent was called back to Rome to be Secretary General of the Congregation (1974-1986). In particular, he collaborated in the preparation of the unanticipated General Chapter of 1974. So many meetings in Rome and beyond, so many letters, reports, translations as a result of his talent, his knowledge of languages and his great availability! The works of Fr. Roy have always been known for their precision and their presentation.

When he had completed this mandate, the General House would not, however, be deprived of his services and of his much appreciated fraternal presence. Laurent accepted therefore to continue, for another 15 years, his exceptional service to the government of the Congregation as administrative assistant to the General Council. Finally, in spite of his failing health, before returning to Canada, he wanted to celebrate his 50 years of priesthood and experience the Holy Year which celebrated the passage into a new Millennium.

Laurent spent much of his retirement as a volunteer at the Deschâtelets Archives, revising texts that they submitted to his careful and expert attention, in particular articles to be published in the journal, Vie Oblate Life. He is remembered for his vast knowledge, his openness to the Church and to the world, nurtured in great part by his life experiences, first in Chile and then in Rome, and by the contacts and travel required by his service. An avid reader, he kept an ongoing interest in religious and political issues. Close to his heart was the Church, in its past history and its present day, as well as a desire to understand better how the world of our day was evolving. Finally, he relished those works that were known for their literary quality, as a way of improving the quality of his own writing and to enrich his conversations.

At the beginning of January, Laurent had taken from the library a recent book entitled: “I believe in the resurrection of the body;” they found this book on his bedside stand after his death. Now he is contemplating forever the God of his deep faith and of his hope. Faithful servant, honorable, generous, beloved: may he repose in joy and peace, assured of the gratitude and fond memories of the Congregation. (Alexandre TACHE)