Born February 29th,
1920 Ordained May
1927 Died January 15th, 2013
Take my body Jesus, eye and ears and tongue;
Never let them Jesus, help to do Thee wrong;
Take my heart and fill it, full of love for Thee;
All I have I give Thee, give Thyself to me.
This was one of Father's favourite prayers, especially during Benediction.
Father was one of the five sons of Claude M. Mersereau and Brigid M. (Mc Ginley)
Father's Ancestry: the Mersereau's were just some of many Huguenots (term applied to Calvinist
Protestants in France) who fled persecution by the Catholics to the British Colonies in America. The widow of
Jean Mersereau , 3 of her 4 sons and her 2 daughters landed in what is now Long Island ,New York in 1783. Born
in Chatham, New Brunswick, Canada on 21 Mar 1885, Claude Middleton married Brigid Mary Mcginley and had 5
children. He passed away on 6 July 1941 in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada. Father’s mother Brigid Mary
Mcginley was of Irish decent; her parents came directly from Ireland and she was brought up at Mcginly's corner
in Memramcook N.B. Father had told me that in Staten Island N.Y. there is a plaque of the arriving of the
Mersereau's and in Memramcook N.B. there is also plaque of his mother’s parents called Mcginly's corner where
their farm used to be. Father Charles J. Mersereau was born in Bathurst, New Brunswick on February 29th, 1920,
He attended Sacred Heart Catholic School as far as 8th grade. As Bathurst did not have a Catholic high school
at that time, Father attended Bathurst high public school for 3 years. After graduation, the principal, a
protestant, advised Father to attend St. Joseph's University. Father first attended Teachers College in
Fredericton N.B. in 1938, taught one year at Miramichi Road. While Father was teaching at the school he was
approached by two professors from Dalhousie University and they offered him to attend University to become a
medical doctor, but he turned down the offer. Father then decided to attend St. Joseph University for 3 years
in Memramcook, N.B. It was at St. Joseph's that he decided to become a priest. His father, a convert, was
delighted . In 1942 he entered Holy Heart Seminary in Halifax, N.S. where he spent 4 years .
Two of Father's brothers had joined the Army and Father had approached the Bishop and wanted
to join the service also but the Bishop said it would be better to be a Priest.
Gerard, the eldest, served overseas in the Canadian Artillery then returned home to
practice law. He died partly due to liver disease from illness experienced overseas in the veterans hospital
in Saint John in 1952 (Claudia, Terry, Jay, and Pat are his children). When Father was visiting his brother
Gerard one day he was approached by a nurse, and she whispered to him that his brother should see a priest.
Father approached him and mentioned that he would get a priest for him but his brother answered and said "I
want you Father Mersereau to give me Extreme Unction."
Cyril the next boy was killed in Normandy France on the 8th June 1944 while
serving as a Lieutenant with the North Shore New Brunswick Regiment (Guy is his son). Father said to me that
Father Hickey a local Priest who was the Chaplin for his brother’s regiments came back and told Fr.
Mersereau that his brother had received Extreme Unction. Frank the third son carried on the family business
as publisher and editor of Bathurst weekly newspaper, The Northern Light. He died in November 1994 (Margaret
and Jean are his children)
Frank, the third son, carried on the family business as publisher and editor of
Bathurst,s weekly newspaper, The Northern Light. He died in November 1994.
Father Charles Mersereau was the fourth son. I used to tease Father and said he
was spoiled as his mother would take him to Montreal to St, Joseph's Oratory and his mother would tell
Brother André that she had 5 boys and he said to her "they will be alright". His father had the local
newspaper in Bathurst, N.B, called the "Northern Light". Father grew up in this atmosphere and he delivered
papers and was a reporter. Father mentioned to me that some of his brothers played a lot of sports and he
would watch them as they grew up.
Claude (junior) was the youngest . He was a teacher,
principal and school superintendent he had retired to Bathurst and died there in June 1990.....Mary, Michael
Teresa, Anne and Karen are his children.
In 1946, his uncle tried to prevent Father Mersereau from entering the Priesthood and
the Bishop delayed his ordination. Also in 1946 Father was enrolled at the Sulpician Seminary in Montreal,
Que. Soon after being called back to Saint John, N.B. , he was ordained a Priest on May, 30th, 1947. At
Father's ordination in Saint John, his mother and his aunt, Aunt Min, Mrs Lawlor, his mother Brigid's older
sister all attended.When Father came to Bathurst to celebrate his first mass there was a large reception,
attended by Fathers mother and her three sons, and many residents of the local community. (His father died
in 1941). His mother bought him a beautiful Chalice with rubies. Much later this chalice was unfortunatley
stoln from one of the parishes where Father served. When Father was visiting Bangor, Maine he was able to
get another Chalice.
In the 1960's Father was at a convention in Fredericton, N.B. and while attending, John F.
Kennedy was there and when he saw Father he went right away to greet him. Also in the 60's Father served as
a Chaplain in the Canadian Navy for 6 years. He travelled extensively, and especially liked working with
young people. There was a situation that arose, Father wasn’t happy about it . The Protestant Minister
agreeded with him, and he left the Navy shortly after this incident .
Fr. Charles Mersereau never shied away from arguments with superiors when he felt the
principles of the Catholic Church were at stake.
Father Mersereau was fully bilingual in two languages (English and French). Father admitted
there have been a few attempts to have him “defrocked,” but all failed. He remained a faithful Catholic to
the Church and His flock. Father was on CBC radio with the program host Peter Gzowshi to prevent the
demolition of a 110-year-old church in Blissfield. But Father's attempted failed and the church was
Carol and myself first met Fr. Charles Mersereau when we were attending Mass in Salisbury,
N.B. While visiting Fr. Mersereau , we mentioned going on vacation to Montreal and Father decided to along
come with us. While visiting we met Fr. Yves Normandin a Traditional priest.
Eventually Father met Mr. James Wood and Bill Johnson and they purchased a small
building for a Chapel and they called it The Canadian Martyrs Chapel. Father and the parishioners solicited
for donations and were successful. Father had some of the accessories and many were donated. The Canadian
Martyrs Chapel held its first Mass on Holy Thursday. in 200l. The Holy Latin Tridentene Mass was offered on
Sundays, Holy Days and special feast days and "Benediction" on Saturdays. In the year 2004 The Canadian
Martyrs Chapel came to a close.
In June 2007 Father Mersereau came to Amherst, N.S. And resided with
Leo and Carol Despres for five years. While with us Father offered Mass every Sunday , Holy Days special
days and every Saturday Benediction. Sadly on May 2012, we had to admit Father Mersereau to Drew's nursing
home in Sackville, N.B.
While Father was living with us we had a fireplace, while sitting in
front of it he said the flame reminded him of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Father moved in with us in the year 2007 and he was to be with us for the next 5 years
celebrating Holy Mass. Since we were fortunate to have a priest we decided to have a spiritual life. Through
the week we would have days of prayer at Our Lady Mystical Rose Chapel.
Holy Mass---- Sundays Holy Days Special feast days
Tuesdays----- Devotion to the Sacred Heart
Fridays-------- The Stations of the Cross
We took the time to make some videos about Father, and when I
had played them back to him he was very much surprised, and I said to him one day these video's will travel
to all parts of the world. I would also say to him once in awhile that he was more important that the
President of the U.S.A; this was his answer “do you think so?”.
In addition to offering the True Mass and Sacraments at our Chapel we travelled to other
locations to offer Mass and administer the Sacraments, Father would not refuse anyone especially if it was
just for Extreme Unction.
New Brunswick: -------- Moncton, Bouctouche and Salisbury
Nova Scotia: ------------ Amherst, Digby, Dartmouth, Pugwash
Prince Edward Island:-- Summerside, Cornwall
Newfoundland ---------- Stevenville
Father had a great love for the Real
Presence and offered Benediction
of the Blessed Sacrament on a regular basis. He was very much devoted to Our Blessed Mother and the
Canadian Jesuit Martyrs
When we went to Montreal on that trip and met Fr. Yves Normandin, Father would always
investigate any Church and its beauty. While looking around the sacristy he found a beautiful statue of “The
Canadian Martyrs”, and he asked Fr. Normandin if he could have it, but it wasn't his to give. Once Carol and
I started celebrating Mass with Father he mentioned to me about the statue the Canadian Martyrs. We had
friends in Montreal and they were able to find out where the statue was and we bought it.
We had met some friends from the Tatamagouche area and they had called to tell us that Fr.
Daniel Ahern would be coming down to the area and was going to have a Traditional Mass. Since Carol I had
known Fr. Charles Mersereau we called him and were able to attend and meet Fr. Ahern. Fr. Daniel Ahern had
been coming down this way as he has a couple of missions here. We were fortunate to have him only if was for
every two months. When Fr. Ahern had come down on one of his trips and met Father at our home he mentioned
to Carol I'll see if he remembers his Faith, and when he came out of the room he said “He knows his faith!”.
Father Ahern mentioned to us that he learned a lot from Father Mersereau and mentioned that he was from the
old school. A couple of times Father had gone on some trips and visited Fr. Francis Le Leblanc in Arizona
and his trip was paid for. Another trip Father made with a priest and this was said to Father “You shouldn't
associate with Fr. Ahern”; Father Mersereau replied “I love Fr. Ahern”. Fatherwas very happy in the company
of people and when he had good crowds at a Mass he was delighted. I would say his greatest moment was when
Fr. Ahern had arranged that we would have a special Mass for Father when his
60th anniversary in the Priesthood in May in the year 2007. Fr. Ahern brought down Fr.
Joseph Collins to help in this celebration, and there had to be about 75 in attendance. Now we did have some
children that came to Mass, and for their first confession Father would fit the bill as they loved Father;
he would only give them an “Our Father” for Penance.
Here are some pictures from that celebration:
We were listed in the Official
Traditional Catholic Directory and had visitors from the U.S.A. and Canada who would attend Mass and
enjoyed talking to Father. I would call different traditional Priest so Father would have someone to talk
with , Fr. F. Le Blanc , Fr, Paul Wickens, Fr. Cekada, Fr. Y. Normandin and some would call him. Through the
years when Father with us there were several SSPX priests who, while passing through, would visit also. We
had got a phone call one night and it was Father Hewco who was travelling back ffrom Cape Breton Island,
N.S. and had asked Father if they could stay over night - of course he said yes, the problem was there were
18 boys travelling with Father and two were seminarians, there were bodies everywhere. As I mentioned before
we travelled to Celebrate Mass and to administer Extreme Unction, I always did for charity reasons but if
anyone wanted to give donation for expenses that would be okay, but every time Father would refuse this
One could easily entertain Father by just taking him for drives in the car, before he came
to be with us one time, while he was waiting for a new place to stay we had him for three months. We had
taken him for a drive every night with Carol's mother who was always with us. Father got along with Bella as
they were the same age and admired her for having 15 children. For the years 2007 to 2011 Father had moved
in with us as mentioned and we still would go for drives in the evenings 2 or 3 times a week as before, but
just around the area. If you would look at a map of Nova Scotia and followed the coast line this is this
area, we followed for our vacations, the fours of us. Of course we had to go to Bathurst, N.B. where Father
grew up. We were about 5 miles away form the town when Bella took a spell, and Father directed us to St.
Joseph's Hospital; which was closed. We decided just to go straight into town to ask someone and when we
came to a set of lights there was a police car parked across the street. As we were driving slowly, Carol
jumped out as the car was moving- my door hit a telephone pole and shut. I crossed the street where a Police
woman came over to the car we helped her with Bella, and she was cutting her bra so to breathe better. She
couldn't believe a Priest was at her side that soon. As soon as Father appeared Bella woke up and was taken
to the hospital for a couple of days. Since the time we met Father we must have travelled about 30,000 miles
Father was a tireless advocate for the pro-life movement. Please see the article in The
Interim news letter seen below:
Moncton, N.B. – [ David Little, President of the Catholics Foundation for
Human Life, and Rev. Charles Mersereau, former Navy Chaplain, visited the Moncton Hospital on December 16,
1988, entered an operating room in which abortions are done, and set up a manger on the abortion table with
a Christ Child in it. Little said the protest was held so that he could “call upon all men of good will in
this holy season to support human life…and end abortion” Father Mersereau, the paper stated, conducted an
exorcism before he and Little were removed by security guards. On being contacted, Archbishop Donat Chaisson
said the priest “has no permission to perform exorcisms in this diocese.” He said that Fr. Mersereau would
not be punished, but that he would call Little and him to ask “what the idea of going around doing this?” .
On December 19, the Moncton Times Transcript reported Fr. Mersereau as saying he had been “unfairly
criticized by the Archbishop. He had not carried out a solemn exorcism (for which a bishop’s permission is
required) but a simple one, consisting of a prayer against Satan which the Pope “exhorts priests to say as
often as possible as a simple exorcism to curb the power of the devil and to prevent him from doing harm…”
It is a very beautiful prayer, reminiscent of psalm 90.” Stated Father Mersereau: “It
is reprehensible for Archbishop Chaisson to condemn me for my action when he should be supporting all
anti-abortion endeavours in his diocese.]
As the time passed by, Father was getting weaker while celebrating
Mass. We then got in touch with Fr. Ahern to see if Father could rest before “The Consecration of the Mass".
We told Father that at the time of the Consecration he could sit and rest as long as he wanted. I am not
sure when the time came when Father was having trouble genuflecting during the Mass, so we got the right
size chair so he could sit and continued Celebrating Holy Mass. Then the time came that Father couldn’t
celebrate Mass, we told Father it was time for him to retire, and we still took Father for car rides. Carol
took care of Father as long as she could; it made it harder for her as he was a Priest. We were able to get
Father in a nursing home just only 9 miles from Amherst thanks again because of Glen, it was closer for us
to visit him and especially for Fr. Ahern to administer the Sacraments. When the time came to take Father
and he wasn’t happy about and he knew in heart that it was time. We brought his clothes, and accessories, a
Crucifix, a statue of Our Lady, brown scapular, and a rosary, and when it time for us to go Father said to
Carol, ``Would you stay here with me?”. Whenever Father would pass a Church he would always tip his hat, and
we went to restaurants he would always take off his hat. One day when we had visited Father and he could see
me he said are we in or out meaning inside or outside as I still had my hat on. Father has spent about 1
year and 1/2 at the nursing home. Being there he was very humble and the staff enjoyed his company. A little
way back Carol was talking to Father and mentioned when the time comes what clothing should we prepare for
his funeral, and he mention just his garb. Father asked Carol for her to visit his grave at least once. Fr.
Mersereau, in the weakness of his final days, was still eager to pray and to kiss the feet of the crucifix.
He was an example for traditional Catholics not only in eastern Canada, but throughout the world. When I had
informed Fr. Ahern about the death of Father he told me that Father would be dressed in his garments as if
he was celebrating Holy Mass, and the vestments would be Violet. Father had the funeral of the Roman Rite
and all the ceremonies. Father was buried at Holy Family Cemetery in Bathurst. Fr. Ahern and those here in
Amherst close to him went to Bathurst, N.B to visit his grave in the Fall of 2013.
Eternal rest grant
unto him, O
Lord and let perpetual light shine upon
May he rest in peace