Quebec History Marianopolis College

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L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Georges Camille Clapin


[This text was written in 1938. For the full citation, see the end of the text.]

CLAPIN, GEORGES CAMILLE (1857-1929) Sulpician priest and educationist, was born at St. Hyacinthe , Lower Canada on 28 May 1857, the third son of Joseph Clapin by his wife, Marie-Léocadie Lupien. He was educated in his native town, at the Grand Seminary in Montreal , Lower Canada, and received his L.Th. from Laval University in Quebec City in 1881. Subsequent to his ordination on 26 July of that year, he taught at St. Hyacinthe College for some time. However, in 1885, he decided to enter the Company of St. Sulpice and prepared for this step at Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris, where he completed his novitiate one year later. From 1886 to 1887 he studied at Paris whence he returned to America. This was followed by two years of teaching, first at St. Charles College, Ellicott City , Md., and afterwards at Brighton Seminary, near Boston, Mass., from 1890 to 1891. From then until 1900, with the exception of a year (1895-1896) spent at St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, Md., he held a professorship of philosophy and theology at Montreal . In 1900 the office of superior of the Collège Canadien de Rome fell vacant through the death of M. Guillaume Leclair and Clapin was appointed to fill it. He remained there until 1911 when he returned to Montreal as almoner of the Congrégation of Notre Dame and of the Normal School for Girls.


Clapin was a gentleman, a scholar of deep culture and a priest of distinction. When the archbishop of Montreal heard of his appoint­ment to Rome , he expressed this opinion to the Superior of St. Sulpice. "Vous mettez là un poisson dans l'eau". In the last years of his life he had the dining room of the College Canadien decorated with beautiful murals. Of a sensitive nature and discriminating taste, Clapin was interested in art, music, entomology, rare editions of books, and antiques. His fine spirit, profound kindness and tact, and understanding of people, acquired in his travels, probably made him an outstanding example of the ecclesiastical educationist.


Clapin died after a long illness at the Hotel-Dieu at Montreal , P.Q., on 4 December 1929 and was buried in the cemetery of the Sulpician mission, at Oka, on the Lac de Deux Montagnes, P.Q. His sister, who was a sister of the Sacred Heart of Montreal survived him. A portrait of Clapin by Georges Szoldatics, a Roman painter, hangs in Father Laberge's room at Montreal College , P.Q.


[J. B. A. Allaire, Dict. Biog. du Clergé Canadien-Français, St. Hyacinthe, P.Q., 1908; Morgan, Can. Men, 1912; private information.]


Source: O.M. "Georges Camille Clapin", in Charles G. D. ROBERTS and Arthur L. TUNNELL, A Standard Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Canadian Who Was Who , Vol. 2, Toronto , Trans Canada Press, 1938, p. 63. Proper French accents have been restored.

© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College