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RAYMOND (Raimond), JOSEPH-SABIN, Roman Catholic priest, professor, vicar general, and author; b. 13 March 1810 at Saint-Hyacinthe, Lower Canada, son of Joseph Raimond, a merchant, and Louise Cartier; d. there 3 July 1887.
Joseph-Sabin Raymond studied at the Séminaire de Saint-Hyacinthe from 1817 to 1826; his teachers, who had been recruited by the founder, Antoine Girouard*, were former pupils of the Séminaire de Nicolet. After teaching for a year at the Collège de Chambly, he returned to the seminary, where he was to remain for the rest of his life. He taught in turn philosophy (1832–36) and theology (1852–62), as well as holding the posts of prefect of studies (1841–72, 1875–76) and superior (1847–53, 1859–83).
By the time he was ordained on 22 Sept. 1832, Raymond had become familiar with French Catholic writers; since the early 1830s he had been reading the works of Hugues-Félicité-Robert de La Mennais and of Charles Forbes, Comte de Montalembert, and had become interested in the Paris newspaper L’Avenir, the organ of the liberal Catholic writers. In 1833 he corresponded with La Mennais, and, from 1839 to 1852, with Montalembert, whose ideas he brought to Lower Canada; he met most of the great Catholic writers, including Prosper Guéranger, François-René de Chateaubriand, and Jean-Baptiste-Henri Lacordaire, on a trip to France and Italy in 1842 and 1843. These men were landmarks in Raymond’s religious and intellectual pilgrimage, and they made him aware of “the necessity of religious studies.”
His enthusiasm for the liberal Catholics and for La Mennais was fully shared by Jean-Jacques Lartigue*, the auxiliary to the bishop of Quebec at Montreal. However, the condemnation of La Mennais’s philosophy in the 1834 encyclical Singulari nos, which described it as a “vain, futile [and] uncertain doctrine,” left a deep impression on Raymond. For him, this meant a break with La Mennais, as he stressed in a long article in which he deferred to the instructions of the Vatican, but which Bishop Lartigue refused to have published. By this article Raymond made it clear that he conformed to orthodoxy in the teaching of philosophy at the Séminaire de Saint-Hyacinthe, and announced his acknowledgement of papal authority. Thus he followed the example of liberal Catholics such as Lacordaire and Montalembert who had dissociated themselves from the thinking of La Mennais.
Raymond nevertheless continued his work at the seminary during the 1830s. At the time of the 1837–38 rebellion, he did not stand aside from the vital issues under discussion, and he no doubt shared the belief that the bishops should petition the government for various democratic reforms. In any case, he used his influence in 1838 to obtain the release of Charles Vidal, a Patriote of Saint-Hyacinthe, thereby, reportedly, attracting the suspicions of Colonel Bartholomew Conrad Augustus Gugy*. Raymond travelled through Europe in 1842 and 1843, and made contact with the newspaper L’Univers and the journals Annales de philosophie chrétienne and L’Université catholique of Paris. He observed that the educational and research institutions in Paris and Rome were returning in their programmes to medieval conceptions widely held in the ancien régime. On his return to the seminary, Raymond became involved in extramural activities; from 1843 to 1852 he contributed articles on ancient and modern civilization, the Middle Ages, and religious studies to the Mélanges religieux, which was under the ægis of Ignace Bourget, the bishop of Montreal. His principal concern, however, remained the direction of studies: to instruct “is our way of fighting,” he wrote in 1844. Both orator and master of rhetoric at the seminary’s annual graduation ceremony, the prefect addressed the students and their parents on topics such as religious studies, the papacy, the duties of the citizen, and the state of society. His speeches were published in La Revue canadienne.
The spirit of the seminary gradually began to permeate life in Saint-Hyacinthe. For example, at the Union catholique, a sort of college literary society founded around 1865, Raymond delivered public lectures on “moral strength,” “the love of truth,” “the intervention of the priest in the intellectual and social order,” and “tolerance,” thereby attacking the anticlericalism of the Institut Canadien of Saint-Hyacinthe and its spokesman, Louis-Antoine Dessaulles*. Dessaulles, in retort, publicly denounced the influence exerted by the seminary on Le Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe since 1861; hence the town’s two leading figures became embroiled in a long controversy lasting from January to July 1867. Central to the dispute were two of the major political and social questions of the 19th century: the relations between temporal and spiritual authorities, and the role of the clergy in secondary education. In connection with the matter of teaching, the sixth provincial council, held at Quebec in 1878, was to recommend that the colleges give their pupils a sound training in Christian philosophy.
The clergy had organized university teaching; it had also coordinated both the administration and the teaching of the classical colleges by affiliating them with the faculty of arts of the Université Laval. It was to further these efforts at standardization that Raymond and his colleague Abbé Isaac-Stanislas Lesieur-Désaulniers* collaborated in the 1870s in the “official restoration” of the medieval philosophy of the Dominican, Thomas Aquinas; Raymond’s repeated requests to Lacordaire before the latter’s death in 1861 were instrumental in persuading the community of the Dominicans to take up residence in Saint-Hyacinthe in 1873.
In his approval of Abbé Benjamin Pâquet*’s pamphlet, Le Libéralisme, published at Quebec in 1872, Raymond showed that he had understood, as did Archbishop Elzéar-Alexandre Taschereau*, the need to depolarize the dispute between liberalism and ultramontanism. Indeed, for Raymond, neither liberalism nor gallicanism, as Pius IX defined them, existed in Canada; at most there was a kind of Catholic liberalism which amounted to a conciliatory attitude to the civil authority and democratic liberties rather than a doctrine. This stand involved Raymond in a controversy with the newspaper Le Nouveau Monde and with Bishop Bourget at the beginning of 1873. Mgr Raymond, who had become a vicar general, continued to write apologetics during the last years of his life; unlike bishops Bourget and Louis-François Laflèche*, as an educator and writer he had neither a hard line to maintain nor pastoral instructions to have respected. Rather he adopted the oblique ways of the scholar who has learned the art and value of fine distinctions in controversy as in wider conflicts.
Raymond’s activities well illustrate the social repercussions of clerical domination in education. As a teacher of philosophy and theology, he also represents the orthodox viewpoint. A scholar in the forefront of religious thinking, he did, however, dissociate himself from La Mennais to join hands with Rome. In the French Canadian kingdom of militant ultramontanism, Raymond was “accused” of “Catholic liberalism”; but his orthodoxy lost nothing by his search for new alliances and practical adjustments. After 1860 a new position of strength gave the clergy a different style of negotiation with political authority. Raymond had experienced this transition from the church “militant” to the church “triumphant,” with all that the change implied in the manner and substance of its pronouncements and its works.
[Among Joseph-Sabin Raymond’s numerous works are: De l’intervention du prêtre dans l’ordre intellectuel et social . . . (Saint-Hyacinthe, Qué., 1877); Devoir du citoyen . . . ([Saint-Hyacinthe], 1875); Devoirs envers le pape . . . (Montréal, 1861); Discours prononcé à la translation du corps de messire Girouard, au séminaire de St-Hyacinthe, le 17 juillet 1861 (Saint-Hyacinthe, 1861); Discours sur la nécessité de la force morale adressé aux membres de l’Union catholique, le 29 janvier 1865 (Montréal, 1865); Discours sur la tolérance prononcé devant l’Union catholique de Montréal, le 15 mars 1869 (Montréal, 1869); Dissertation sur le pape (Montréal, 1870); Éloge de messire I.-S. Lesieur Desaulniers prononcé à la distribution des prix du séminaire de St. Hyacinthe, le 7 juillet 1868 (Saint-Hyacinthe, 1868); Entretien sur les études classiques (Montréal, 1872); Entretien sur St. Thomas d’Aquin à l’occasion du sixième centenaire célébré en son honneur (Saint-Hyacinthe, 1874); Méditations sur la passion et le précieux sang de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ (Montréal, 1888); and Nécessité de la religion dans l’éducation (Saint-Hyacinthe, 1874).
Raymond also wrote numerous articles, sometimes under the pseudonyms “S,” “Un Canadien catholique,” and “Un catholique,” in the following newspapers: L’Abeille (Québec), 22 nov., 13, 20 déc. 1849; Le Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe, 15, 18, 22, 29 mars, 1er, 7, 12, 15, 19 avril 1853; 3 mai 1861; 13, 17 oct., 5, 15 déc. 1865; 12, 16 janv., 13 févr., 6 mars 1866; janvier–juillet 1867; L’Écho du pays (Saint-Charles[-sur-Richelieu], [Qué.]), 25 juill. 1833; 2 janv., 25 sept. 1834; Mélanges religieux (Montréal), 25 févr. 1842; 25 sept., 2, 12, 23 oct., 6, 9, 23, 27 nov. 1849; 15, 25 janv., 8, 12 févr., 3, 6, 10 sept. 1850; as well as in the following journals: Le Foyer canadien (Québec), 4 (1866): 95–120, 137–64; 6 (1868): 226–53; Les Nouvelles Soirées canadiennes (Québec), 6 (1887): 555–56; Rev. canadienne, 1 (1864): 104–11, 214–27, 347–64, 533–46, 673–85, 749–65; 3 (1866): 650–64, 752–65; 4 (1867): 79–97, 214–32; 8 (1871): 27–56; 11 (1874): 440–51, 843–49, 901–6; 13 (1876): 525–41, 575–87, 642–59: 15 (1878): 200–16; 16 (1879): 564–74; 20 (1884): 651–69; 21 (1885): 641–51.
Joseph-Sabin Raymond’s papers and those of the Raymond family are held by the Arch. du séminaire de Saint-Hyacinthe (FG-3) and represent the most important source used in preparing this biography. There are also some items which relate to Raymond in the AAQ, the ACAM, the archives of the bishoprics of Saint-Hyacinthe and Trois-Rivières, and at the ASQ. y.r.]
Binan [Alphonse Villeneuve], Le grand-vicaire Raymond et le libéralisme catholique (Montréal, 1872). Le Nouveau Monde, 8 janv. 1873. Le Pays (Montréal), février–juillet 1867. Québec Gazette, 30 Nov. 1833; 24, 27 April 1835. Allaire, Dictionnaire, I: 465. C.-P. Choquette, Histoire du séminaire de Saint-Hyacinthe depuis sa fondation jusqu’à nos jours (2v., Montréal, 1911–12). Lareau, Hist. de la littérature canadienne, 453–54. A.-J. Plourde, Dominicains au Canada (3v. parus, Montréal, 1973– ), I. Claude Galarneau, “L’abbé Joseph-Sabin Raymond et les grands romantiques français (1834–1857),” CHA Report, 1963: 81–88. Robert [Philippe] Sylvain, “Le premier disciple canadien de Montalembert: l’abbé Joseph-Sabin Raymond (avec une lettre inédite),” RHAF, 17 (1963–64): 93–103.