A L K Switzer, March 4, 1964
Father Joseph-Marie Couture, s.j. Part Five
The Resident Priest
“Resident” is a poor title to describe a man who still had nine mission centres to vist along the railway, but is used to indicate that the long canoe voyages, dog team trips , and flying visits were ended.
In 1940 the new presbytery was completed by Father Hamel and the old cabin built for Father Couture in 1928 was transformed into a wood working shop.
When illness kept him confined to the Longlac area in 1941, it took five priests to replace him – two on the River Albany, two on Lake Nipigon and a secular priest who helped out along the railway line.
In December 1945, The Sisters of Christ the King established in Longlac to teach school, care for the sick, teach cooking and sewing to the families under their care.
At the end of January in 1947 the 25th Anniversary of Father Couture’s ordination into the priesthood was observed.
At the time the Longlac church burned, April 1, 1948, Father Couture was bed-ridden in l”hotel-Dieu in Montreal and that Autumn he returned to the College of Sudbury.
When Father Couture was seriously ill March 3, 1949, Marcel Caouette visited him to read to him some letters. He stayed that night to give the sisters who had been nursing the Father, some rest. Father Couture expired in Mr. Caouette’s arms at 5:00 a.m. March 4, 1949 – a great man who had given his life for his faith and friends.