Categories: Male Authors - Francophone Authors - Authors of Non-Fiction - Southeast
Source: Village Historique Acadienne.
André-T. Bourque (born 27 July 1854 at Beaumont and died 28 June 1914 at Memramcook) was a Holy Cross Father, missionary, author, and Acadian composer. He was known for his musical compositions and his book Chez les anciens acadiens : causeries du grand-père Antoine (1911).
The son of Thaddée Bourque and Anne Bourque, André-T. attended the village school until the age of 11, when he entered the Saint-Joseph de Memramcook college, where he began his classical studies and music training. In 1874 he moved to Clare, Nova Scotia, to become a teacher. His musical reputation preceded him, such that he was offered the position of organist and choir director at Sainte-Marie church in Church Point, NS.
In 1880, Bourque entered the noviciate of the Holy Cross Fathers at Saint-Laurent, near Montreal. He returned to Memramcook in 1881, where he completed his theological studies and was ordained as a priest on June 3, 1884. He assumed the role of music teacher, directing the Saint-Joseph College band as well as acting as parish organist.
Several years later Bourque decided to become a missionary in east India. He worked for six years (1891 – 1896) in the Bangladesh mission. Little is known of his work and travels in India, except for a few travel notes published in the Moniteur acadien in 1892. Upon returning from Bengal, Bourque spent several months in France recovering from health problems.
Returning to Memramcook in the summer of 1897, Bourque taught a variety of subjects while also giving presentations on the customs of the Bengali people. In January 1901 at Tacoma, Washington, he was released from his religious order vows and became a secular priest.
Upon his return to New Brunswick in 1909, he accepted a position at the diocese in Chatham. Bourque worked for several months in Campbellton, and survived a great fire that destroyed the city in July 1910. He subsequently wrote a series of Acadian nationalist songs: Plainte et Pardon, Évangéline, la Marseillaise acadienne, le Pêcheur acadien, et la Fleur du souvenir. These compositions preserve the language, law, and traditions of Acadie. “Patriotic songs, we know, are strong factors in the sustainment and revival of patriotism amongst the people. If I may be so bold, nationalist songs are to the Nation as the religious hymns are to the Church.” / « Les chants patriotiques, on le sait, sont de puissants facteurs pour soutenir et raviver le patriotisme chez les peuples. J’oserais même dire que les chants nationaux sont à la Nation ce que les chants religieux sont à l’Église. »
In August 1910, Bourque left Chatham parish to become vicar at Newcastle, and began publication of his book Chez les anciens acadiens : causeries du grand-père Antoine, which was the first compilation of Acadian folklore, and an authentic telling of daily Acadian life in the 19th century.
Readmitted to the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1911 and installed at Saint-Joseph, Father André-T. Bourque returned with enthusiasm to the musical work he had begun 30 years prior; even composing a new song, le Gondolier. This was his last composition, however, and after several weeks of hospitalization in Moncton, Bourque died in the Saint-Joseph College infirmary on June 28, 1914.
Chez les anciens acadiens : causeries du grand-père Antoine
Aussi faut-il dire que les alliances d’autrefois étaient toujours commencées et cimentées sous les auspices de la réligion. Point de ces mariages faits à la vapeur comme il arrivé de nos jours, sans préparations et quelquefois sans messe et sans bénédiction nuptiale; de ces contrats tout mondains où l’on semble vouloir exclure toute participation de l’action divine et surnaturelle, avec un cérémonial froid et banal qui ne dit rien au cœur des jeunes contractants les laissant pour ainsi dire à leurs seules ressources, privés du secours et des grâces du Ciel pourtant si nécessaires à ceux qui sengagent dans les liens indissolubles et parfois difficiles de l’état du mariage.