My mission in Canada will be exclusively a mission of charity, of penance and of peace
Frédéric Janssoone was born on November 19, 1838, in the North of France. His mother was Flemish. His parents are devout and cultured people and give him a solid education. He loses his father on January 13, 1848, when he is only nine years old. Four years later Frédéric feels a call to priesthood and enters the Collège d’Hazebrouck, first, and then the Institution Notre-Dame des Dunes. In 1855, though, he has to leave school to look for a job to support his mother.
After his mother’s death, in 1861, Frédéric is able to complete his studies. In 1864 he enters the novitiate of the Franciscans in Amiens. He is ordained priest in Bourges on August 17, 1870, and takes part in the foundation of the convent of Bordeaux and becomes superior of this community. In 1876 he is sent to Holy Land to be the assistant to the head guard of the Sacred Sites in Palestine. He helps with administration, promotes a renewal of the custom of Holy Land pilgrimages, reestablishes the ritual of the Way of the Cross in the streets of Jerusalem and directs the construction of Saint-Catherine’s parish, next to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. He revises the set of customary regulations that had developed through the centuries between the Latins, the Greeks and the Armenians for the use and maintenance of the shrines of Bethlehem and the Holy Sepulcher. He also is an excellent preacher.
In 1881 he makes his first trip to Canada to establish an annual fund-raising for the Holy Land. In 1888 he returns to Trois-Rivières where he founds the Commissariat for the Holy Land in Canada, that he will direct for 28 years. He preaches retreats and organizes pilgrimages to Saint-Anne-de-Beauprè, the Sanctuaire de la Réparation à Pointe-aux-Trembles and to Saint-Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, where he meets and becomes friend of Frère André. He dies of stomach cancer in Montreal on August 4, 1916. He was beatified by Pope John-Paul II on September 25, 1988.