CALVARIN, GOULVEN, originally from Vannes, in Brittany, priest of the Séminaire des Missions Étrangères in Paris and of the seminary of Quebec, parish priest, and missionary; d. 26 Nov. 1719 in the Mississippi region.
Before coming to Canada Abbé Goulven Calvarin had been a missionary to Île Bourbon (Réunion). Wishing to devote himself to missionary work among Indigenous people, he joined the seminary of Quebec in 1703. The directors were on the point of sending him to the Mississippi region when a letter from Abbé Henri-Jean Tremblay*, the seminary’s procurator, dissuaded them from doing so. He considered Abbé Calvarin too old to learn Indigenous languages and believed that the abbé would never be called upon for work in a mission. Goulven Calvarin did not go to a mission, but was made parish priest of Pointe-à-la-Caille (Montmagny). He lived there from 1704 till 1708, and then went on to direct the parish and the École des Arts et Métiers at Saint-Joachim until 1712.
Abbé Calvarin doubtless possessed remarkable qualities, for the directors of the seminary of Quebec chose him to join their ranks in 1710. Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix] appointed him canon on 26 Nov. 1712 and promoter of the officiality on 30 Nov. 1716. He had nevertheless not given up on becoming a missionary, and when he was asked to go as superior of the mission to the Tamaroa, he accepted. On 10 May 1718 he left in company with two confrères from the seminary of Quebec, Abbés Jean-Paul Mercier* and Dominique-Antoine-René Thaumur de La Source. But Abbé Calvarin had over-estimated his strength; he arrived among the Tamaroa in a state of complete exhaustion and died some months later, on 26 Nov. 1719.
AAQ, Registres d’insinuation B, 189, 244. ASQ, C13, 51, 297; Chapitre, 40; Lettres, N, 123; O, 41; Missions, 43, 73c; Paroisse de Québec, 2; Paroisses diverses, 57, 59b; Polygraphie, VII, 80. Édits ord., II, 163.