BRASSARD, LOUIS-MARIE, priest; b. 17 Dec. 1726 at Quebec, son of Jean-Baptiste Brassard, a beadle, and Marie-Françoise Huppé, dit Lagroix; d. 27 Dec. 1800 in Nicolet (Que.).
Louis-Marie Brassard was enrolled in the Séminaire de Québec on 4 Dec. 1742 and on 15 Dec. 1746 received the tonsure. He continued to live in the seminary until he was ordained priest by Bishop Pontbriand [Dubreil*] on 20 Dec. 1749. He was immediately given parish responsibilities as a curate. Historian Jean-Baptiste-Arthur Allaire* claims that his first assignment was to Île Royale (Cape Breton Island) as a missionary. If so, Brassard stayed there only briefly since by March 1750 he was curate at Charlesbourg. The following autumn he was appointed parish priest of Nicolet. Brassard also had to serve an area including the present-day parishes of Saint-Grégoire-le-Grand and Saint-Antoine-de-la-Baie-du-Febvre. He ceased ministering to the mission of Saint-Grégoire at an unknown date and to Saint-Antoine in 1786.
Brassard ran into difficulties with the faithful of Saint-Antoine over the building of a church and presbytery there. They argued strongly against his plan to construct these buildings on land he owned on the shore. It is significant that Brassard did not win this conflict. We do not know, however, how far he should be held responsible for the dispute. Brassard was devoted to his bishop and his flock at Nicolet, but he gave the impression of not being as interested in the people of Saint-Antoine as he should have been. Relations between them became so strained that in 1785 the latter complained to Bishop Louis-Philippe Mariauchau d’Esgly that they had been ignored by their pastor.
On the other hand, Brassard had a tranquil and pleasant life with his Nicolet parishioners. Since he was near them and they had the chance to get to know him, they were in a position to recognize and value his talents. He reciprocated. In 1784 he built the stone church they wanted on land he had bought in Nicolet in 1770. A house and various other buildings were subsequently erected on the same site. He bequeathed his goods, as well as his rents and his lands, to the parish council of Nicolet, in order to provide his parish with a primary school. The need for such an institution was great, there being none in the vicinity. The school was opened in 1801, a few months after his death. It remained in existence until the Brothers of the Christian Schools came to Nicolet in 1887. The building which it had occupied became in 1803 the Séminaire de Nicolet, a classical college, but the school continued within the college building.
In his history of the Séminaire de Nicolet, Bishop Joseph-Antoine-Irénée Douville comments on Brassard’s zeal and his affection for his parishioners. The few relevant documents which have been preserved seem to refute the assertion so far as the people of Saint-Antoine-de-la-Baie-du-Febvre are concerned, but Brassard apparently served the inhabitants of Nicolet to their complete satisfaction and he continued to minister to them until his death on 27 Dec. 1800, although after 1791 he was no longer the parish priest.
AAQ, 515 CD, I, 3; IV, 198; IX, 2a. ANQ-Q, État civil, Catholiques, Notre-Dame de Québec, 19 déc. 1726. Archives de l’évêché de Nicolet (Nicolet, Qué.), Cartable Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-Nicolet, I, 5–8, 17. ASN, AO, Polygraphie, I, 4–42; Séminaire, IX, 53; Titres divers et contrats de l’abbé Louis-Marie Brassard; AP-G, L.-É. Bois, Garde-notes, 9, p.147; 11, p.84; 14, p.62. ASQ, mss, 2, f.53. Allaire, Dictionnaire. J.-E. Bellemare, Histoire de la Baie-Saint-Antoine, dite Baie-du-Febvre, 1683–1911 (Montréal, 1911), 59–160; Histoire de Nicolet, 1669–1924 (Arthabaska, Qué., 1924), 104–62. J.-A.-I. Douville, Histoire du collège-séminaire de Nicolet, 1803–1903, avec les listes complètes des directeurs, professeurs et élèves de l’institution (2v., Montréal, 1903), I, 1–20.