Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Léon Abel Provancher

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Naturalist, b. 10 March, 1820, in the parish of Béconcourt, Nicolet county, Province of Quebec; d. at Cap Rouge, P.Q., 23 March, 1892. He studied at the College and Seminary of Nicolet, was ordained 12 Sept., 1844, and for the next twenty-five years laboured zealously and fearlessly. He organized two pilgrimages to Jerusalem, one of which he conducted in person. In 1865 he established in his parish at Portneuf a confraternity of the Third Order of St. Francis, probably the first of its kind in Canada. From childhood he had a special love for the study of nature and all the time he could spare from his pastoral duties was devoted to the study and description of the fauna and flora of Canada; his extensive pioneer work in this domain won for him the appellation of the "Father of Natural History in Canada". In 1868 he founded the "Naturaliste Canadiene", a monthly publication which he edited for twenty years, and from 1869 until his death he was engaged almost exclusively in scientific work. Among his chief writings are: "Traité élémentaire de Botanique" (Quebec, 1858); "Flore du Canada" (2 vols., Quebec, 1862); "Le Verger Canadien" (Quebec, 1862); "Le Verger, le Potager et le Parterre" (Quebec, 1874); "Faune entomologique du Canada" (3 vols., 1877-90); "De Québec à Jérusalem" (1884); "Une Excursion aux Climats tropicaux" (1890) "Les Mollusques de la Province de Québec".

LAFLAMME, Proceedings and Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada for 1892, Presidential Address (Ottawa, 1893); HUARD, L'Abbé Provancher in Le Naturaliste Canadien, XXI-XXVI, XXX (Chicoutimi, 1894-9; Quebec, 1903).

Edward C. Phillips.