CARPENTIER, BONAVENTURE (baptized Étienne), priest and Recollet; b. and baptized 18 Sept. 1716 at Beaumont (Que.), probably the son of Étienne Carpentier and Marie-Charlotte Blanchon; d. 6 Jan. 1778 at Saint-Nicolas (Que.).
Étienne Carpentier took his vows on 29 April 1737 and on 23 Sept. 1741 was ordained priest with the name Father Bonaventure. After a few months’ ministry at Lotbinière and a two-year stay at the Recollet monastery in Trois-Rivières, he became chaplain at Fort Saint-Frédéric (near Crown Point, N.Y.) at the beginning of 1747. From 1750 to 1753 he ministered to the parishes of Sainte-Marie-de-la-Nouvelle-Beauce (Sainte-Marie, Que.) and Saint-Joseph-de-la-Nouvelle-Beauce (Saint-Joseph, Que.); then from 1753 to 1754 he acted as chaplain at Fort Frontenac (Kingston, Ont.). For some years afterward there is no trace of him.
In 1758 Father Bonaventure was a missionary to the Acadians and the Indians along the Miramichi River (N.B.). In September of that year Murray, under Wolfe*’s orders, destroyed their settlement (since that time called Burnt Church), forcing Father Bonaventure and his flock to flee into the woods in the direction of Baie des Chaleurs. In 1764 Father Bonaventure became the first resident priest at Bonaventure (Que.). Two years later he wrote Bishop Briand that his age and health no longer allowed him to minister to his immense territory, where he had to cover seven or eight leagues to visit the sick, and furthermore that the mission at Bonaventure could no longer support a missionary unless that person “is willing to follow the trade of a Recollet” and beg.
In 1767 accusations of scandalous conduct were made against Father Bonaventure – he and an Indian woman were said to have had a child – and Bishop Briand called him to Quebec to give an account of himself. Ignoring this order, he was suspended from all his functions as parish priest including that of saying mass in the diocese. Faced with such sanctions he entrusted his mission to Father Ambroise, the priest at Restigouche, and retired to Paspébiac, promising Bishop Briand in January 1768 that he would go to Quebec in the spring. This repentance did not, however, last long, for he seems to have resumed his ministry on the pretext “that having been appointed by the king and the governor no one had the right to remove him.” The Indian chiefs of the Miramichi region had protested the loss of their missionary to the bishop, who replied rather sternly in a pastoral letter dated 9 Oct. 1768 and addressed to the inhabitants of Baie des Chaleurs: he ordered them “to have no further dealings or association with Brother Bonaventure Carpentier, Recollet, for purposes of religion, . . . to expel him from the presbytery, where he has no longer any right to be, to take away from him the key to the church and sacristy and all the vestments and sacred vessels. . . .”
Father Bonaventure finally went to Quebec, where Bishop Briand, out of consideration for François Bonaventure, the parish priest of Trois-Rivières and the Recollet’s cousin, appointed him parish priest of Saint-Nicolas in 1769. After only a few months there, he quarrelled with the churchwardens and sought shelter in his cousin’s house where he remained three years, helping out in that parish. The bishop, who had again removed his authority to exercise the ministry, returned it except for confession in 1772. Two years later Father Bonaventure resumed his parish charge at Saint-Nicolas, where he died on 6 Jan. 1778.
AAQ, 22 A, III, 391, 617; 311 CN, I, 141; 33 CR, A, 37, 49. Archives de l’archevêché de Rimouski (Rimouski, Qué.), Correspondance. Archives de l’évêché de Gaspé (Gaspé, Qué.), casier des paroisses, Bonaventure, lettre de Louis-Joseph Desjardins à Mgr Hubert, 30 sept. 1795. N.B. Hist. Soc., Coll., III (1907–14), no.9, 303 (James Abercrombie to James Wolfe, 24 Sept. 1758). Allaire, Dictionnaire, I, 100. Jouve, Les franciscains et le Canada: aux Trois-Rivières, 180–81, 236, 243–44. Archange Godbout, “Les aumôniers de la vallée du Richelieu,” SCHÉC Rapport, 12 (1945–46), 74–75. Henri Têtu, “M. Jean-Félix Récher, curé de Québec, et son journal, 1757–1760,” BRH, IX (1903), 305.