BAVEUX, JEAN-CLAUDE-LÉONARD (known in Canada under the name of Jean-Claude Léonard), priest, Sulpician, Oblate of Mary Immaculate; b. 6 Nov. 1796 at Montier-en-Der (dept of Haute-Marne, France), son of Jean-Claude Baveux, farmer, and Marie-Catherine Lefranc; d. 21 Nov. 1865 at Montreal.
After serving in Napoleon’s army, Jean-Claude-Léonard Baveux entered the Petit Séminaire de Monistrol-sur-Loire (dept of Haute-Loire), where he completed his studies, including theology. He prepared for his future vocation by accompanying various preachers, whom he assisted by teaching the catechism. Because he wished to work in America, he joined the Sulpicians in 1827. On 31 May 1828 Baveux, already a deacon, was ordained a priest at Rouen, and shortly after he left for Montreal. The new priest was first sent to the Indian reserve at Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes (Oka), where he remained until 1834; in 1834–35 he was a teacher at the Collège de Montréal. Then after five years as curate of the parish of Notre-Dame de Montréal, he became the secretary of Charles-Auguste-Marie-Joseph de Forbin-Janson*, bishop of Nancy, during the latter’s preaching tour in Canada (1840–42).
Baveux was attracted by missionary life and decided to enter the noviciate of the Oblates at Longueuil in 1842; on 2 Aug. 1843 he made his profession of perpetual vows. After his noviciate he remained for three years at Longueuil, where he gave his attention to the practical organization of the house and preaching in the parishes of Montreal diocese. In October 1846, with the encouragement of Joseph-Bruno Guigues*, the future bishop of Bytown (Ottawa), Father Baveux undertook a recruiting campaign in France, Belgium, and Savoy, and is said to have attracted more than 70 individuals to noviciates in France. Upon his return to Canada in 1848, Father Baveux was appointed founding director of the Saint-Pierre-Apôtre residence, in the faubourg Québec in the eastern part of Montreal and served there from 1848 to 1850. From 1850 to 1863 he was in charge of the church there. The faubourg Québec, under his prompting, became a fervent religious centre; his zeal and popularity in this poor district earned him the title of “father of the faubourg.”
In 1864 ill health obliged Father Baveux to leave Montreal for Caughnawaga, where he was appointed director of the residence on the Indian reserve. Thus he ended his career, as he had begun some 30 years before, among the Indians. He entered the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal on 28 July 1865, and died there after an illness of some months.
Archives provinciales O.M.I. (Montréal), Codex historicus, Saint-Hilaire ; Longueuil ; Saint-Pierre de Montréal (copies at AHO). Notices nécrologiques des O.M.I., I, 217–40. Carrière, Hist. des O.M.I., I, III, IV, V, VI. Fernand Lepage, “Aux origines de la province belge; les vocations belges,” Missions de la Congrégation des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie-Immaculée (Rome), 81 (1954), 294–305. Henri Verkin, “La tournée de propagande du père Léonard,” Études oblates (Ottawa), 26 (1967), 55–88.