Father François-Xavier Lafrance
Father Lafrance was born in Québec city on February 26, 1814. He was the first resident priest in the parish of Tracadie, in 1842. He was only 28 years old when he arrived but he was highly qualified to help the people under his guidance.
He first studied medicine for three years before being ordained priest. He was the person in charge of the construction of the lazaret in Tracadie.
Father Lafrance founded the first school in Tracadie in 1843 and later, in Memramcook, he founded Saint Thomas Seminary that became Saint Joseph College. He died on November 26, 1867 and he was buried in the parish of Memramcook. Father Lafrance was a great benefactor of the lepers and an apostle of education in Acadia.
Father Ferdinand Gauvreau
Ferdinand Edmond Gauvreau was born in Quebec City on September 12, 1806. He was ordained in 1830.
In January 1852, he came to Tracadie to take over from Father Lafrance. However, his most cherished work and devotion was the lazaret and the improvement of the lepers’ lot. He worked hard at informing the public about the dire needs of the lepers. In one of his articles in the Morning Freeman of Saint John, he concluded with this heart-breaking acknowledgement: «If I were a leper, I would become raving mad! »
He also did the administrative procedures and preparations for the construction of the stone church that was completed by his successor, Father Babineau. After nineteen years of service, he returned to Quebec for health reasons. He died in the parish of St-Flavien, in 1875, where he was parish priest.
Father Joseph-Auguste Babineau
Joseph-Auguste Babineau was born in Saint-Louis-de-Kent, New Brunswick, on April 29, 1844. On September 9, 1871, he was asked to replace Father Gauvreau as parish priest of Tracadie. His first concern was to continue the procedures for the construction of a new stone church, where it now still stands. That construction project started in 1874 and ended around 1896. Shortly after, he constructed the rectory. It is also under his watch and help that the nuns constructed the stone lazaret in 1896 and the hospital in1898.
Father Joseph-Auguste Babineau made several trips to Ottawa to obtain funding for the new building and also an increase in the annual allowance for the nuns who were taking care of the sick. For the 32 years that he spent working in the parish of Tracadie, he was the guardian and great advocate of the lepers, keeping their best interests at heart.