GEORGEMÉ, SÉRAPHIN, priest, Recollet, missionary, provincial commissioner for Canada; b. c. 1659, d. 1705 in Paris.
He joined the Recollets in Paris in 1679. He was ordained a priest in 1684, and was a lecturer in theology until 1686. The following year, the provincial chapter of Paris appointed him guardian of the convent of Notre-Dame-des-Anges at Quebec and provincial commissioner for Canada. He arrived in Canada in 1688. In his capacity as guardian and commissioner he had to pit himself against the bishop of Quebec concerning the burial of one of his religious. The trouble began on 11 Dec. 1688, when Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix] forbad him to have Father Nicolas Cadart, who had just died, buried in the cemetery of the hospice of Notre-Dame-des-Anges. According to the bishop, burials were the exclusive right of the priest of the parish. The next day Father Georgemé replied, asserting the age-old rights of his order, which were based on apostolic concessions and had been approved by Bishop Laval. In a letter addressed to him on 13 December, Bishop Saint-Vallier repeated his prohibition, at the same time suggesting that the priest sing the service in the cathedral or conduct it behind closed doors in his convent. The Recollet replied on 14 December, and under the cover of apparently sincere apologies he none the less stood his ground. Moreover, on 17 December, in the name of the Recollets, he addressed a kind of remonstrance to the bishop on the subject of his refusal to allow Father Cadart solemn burial; among the signatories are to be found the names of Fathers Xiste Le Tac and Ambroise Pélerin. It seems that the solemn service was indeed held, followed by burial in the community cemetery, since on 18 December Bishop Saint-Vallier wrote to Father Georgemé to convey to the Recollets his displeasure at their disobedience.
This long and hasty correspondence between the two ecclesiastics brings out clearly the personality of the superior of the Recollets: an enlightened man, on the whole level-headed, but courageous and firm when necessary. It was this firmness that Bishop Saint-Vallier had occasion to praise in speaking of him in a letter written 3 March 1693 to Father Joseph Denys: “I hope that God will reward the firmness of Father Séraphin [Georgemé], your confrère.” Bishop Saint-Vallier was then maintaining the same position as Father Georgemé, opposing officers who were keeping for themselves part of their soldiers’ pay. He asked the parish priests to refuse them absolution. This recommendation created problems for the confessors. A few years later, however, the theologians of the Sorbonne decided in favour of the bishop and Father Georgemé.
In 1691 Father Georgemé exercised his ministry on the Durantaye seigneury, and during his stay it was he who entered almost all the acts in the registry. On 13 Sept. 1692 he signed the deed by which the convent of Notre-Dame-des-Anges was sold to Bishop Saint-Vallier [see Luc Filiastre]. At that time he was still a lecturer in theology at Quebec.
He went back to France in 1694, and the following year he was in Paris, according to Abbé Tronson’s letter to Dollier de Casson: “Father Séraphin, who came to see me twice at Ivry, talked to me about everything with moderation. Perhaps Tronson was alluding to the relations of Father Georgemé with Bishop Saint-Vallier, which have been mentioned earlier!
On 27 Feb. 1698 Father Georgemé was back in Canada, since he took part in the third synod at Quebec. He did not play a leading role in this assembly, nor did the 33 secular and regular priests who participated. Bishop Saint-Vallier, the only legislator, reserved that role for himself.
Father Georgemé returned to France in the autumn of 1700. He was elected provincial councillor at the chapter meeting held in Paris in 1701. He died 27 Aug. 1705 in Paris, at the age of 46 and after 26 years in holy orders.
AAQ, Registres d’insinuation A, ff.236, 237, 240, 244, 248, 250, 419, 481; Registres d’insinuation B, f.47. Archives des Franciscains de Québec, Dossier Séraphin Georgemé. Caron, “Inventaire de documents,” APQ Rapport, 1939–40, 289. Mandements des évêques de Québec (Têtu et Gagnon), I, 195, 367. Gosselin, L’Église du Canada, IV, 206. Hugolin [Stanislas Lemay], L’établissement des Récollets à Montréal, 1692 (Montréal, 1911), 49. Jouve, Les Franciscains et le Canada: aux Trois-Rivières, 73. J.-E. Roy, Histoire de la seigneurie de Lauzon (5v., Lévis, 1897–1904), I, lxxx. Marie-Antoine [Roy], Saint-Michel de la Durantaye [notes et souvenirs]: 1678–1929 (Québec, 1929), 32, 79. Henri Têtu, Histoire du palais épiscopal du Québec (Québec, 1896), 36.