Norbert Provencher

Joseph-Norbert Provencher
Bishop of Saint-Boniface, Manitoba
Archdiocese Saint Boniface
Installed June 4, 1847
Term ended June 7, 1853
Predecessor None
Successor Alexander-Antonine Taché
Other posts Coadjutor Bishop of Quebec City
Vicar Apostolic of North-West (Nord-Ouest)
Ordination December 21, 1811
Personal details
Born (1787-02-12)February 12, 1787
Nicolet, Province of Quebec
Died June 7, 1853(1853-06-07) (aged 66)
Saint Boniface, Rupert's Land

Joseph-Norbert Provencher (February 12, 1787 – June 7, 1853) was a Canadian clergyman and missionary and one of the founders of the modern province of Manitoba. He was the first Bishop of Saint Boniface and was an important figure in the history of the Franco-Manitoban community.

Provencher was born in Nicolet, Quebec in 1787, and was ordained a priest in 1811. In 1818 he and two other priests were sent by Joseph-Octave Plessis, Bishop of Quebec, to open a mission on the Red River in present-day Manitoba. Provencher's mission at Saint Boniface was highly successful; he baptized many of the local First Nations and Métis residents as well as many European settlers. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Quebec in 1819 and was consecrated Titular Bishop of Juliopolis in 1822.

In 1844, Provencher was appointed head of the newly formed Vicariate Apostolic of North-West; when the Vicariate was elevated to the Diocese of Saint-Boniface, he was appointed its first bishop. He founded Saint-Boniface Cathedral and the school which is now known as the Université de Saint-Boniface, and brought both the Grey Nuns and the Oblate Fathers to the Canadian Northwest.

Bishop Provencher died in 1853 and was buried in Saint Boniface.


  • "Norbert Provencher". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2016.
  • Manitoba Historical Society article
  • Catholic Hierarchy article

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