Mgr Arthur Melanson


Most Reverend Arthur Melanson

First Archbishop of Moncton (1936-1942)


     Most Reverend Arthur Melanson was born in Trois-Rivières Quebec on March 25, 1879 and was baptized the following day in Immaculate Conception church by Fr. J.-O. Landry. The baptismal register shows his name as Louis Joseph Arthur Melanson, son of Raphael Melanson, a labourer, and his mother Philomène Royer, of this parish. The name Louis may have been given to him in honour of his godfather, Louis Bergeron, a local hotel owner.

    Even though Most Reverend Arthur Melanson was born in Trois-Rivières, he is of acadian descent on his father's side. His father, Raphael Melanson was the son of Joseph Melanson and Edesse Haché (aka Gallant), whose family and relatives lived in Petit-Rocher, a small village situated in northern New Brunswick.

    A young Arthur Melanson entered the seminary in Rimouski around 1894 and was soon recognized as a man with solid virtues. He was said to be amicable, obedient, hard working, polite, persevering in his work and very loyal to even minor instructions and rules. 

    After his stay at the seminary in Rimouski, the young man, wanting to study for priesthood, was admitted to the Grand Seminary in Montreal. He entered the seminary on September 20, 1900 and began studying theology in September 1902, received his sub-diaconate in May 1904 and the diaconate in December 1904. He finished his theological studies on June 27, 1905.

     He was ordained July 5, 1903 for the Diocese of Chatham by Most Reverend T. Barry. He was named parish priest for Balmoral and also for Campbellton in 1919. In 1922 he founded the « Congrégation des Filles de Marie-de-l'Assomption ».

     He was consecrated as bishop of Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan on February 22, 1933. He was to become the first archbishop of Moncton on February 22, 1937.

     It is a well-known fact that during his mandate, he created an agricultural school as well as a social sciences school and was involved in the organisation of the ‘Caisses Populaires’ and cooperatives on the territory served by the Archdiocese of Moncton.

     Most Reverend Arthur Melanson died at the age of 62 at Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Campbellton on October 23, 1941, after a lengthy illness.