Father Michael Lapierre died peacefully on April 4, 2016, at René Goupil House in Pickering. He was in his 101st year and in religious life for 82 years. Fr. Lapierre was born on May 2, 1915, in Chapeau, Quebec. After a period at St. Patrick’s School in Ottawa, he entered the Society of Jesus at Guelph on August 14, 1934. He attended the Jesuit Seminary in Toronto for philosophy, and did regency at Regiopolis High School in Kingston. In 1944, he began theology at St. Mary’s Seminary in Kansas and was ordained there on June 18, 1947. After tertianship in Pomfret, Connecticut, in 1950 he began a unique tenure of half a century as professor of theology at Regis College, Toronto, in its three different locations.
It was in 1970 that Fr. Lapierre, heeding the decree, Perfectae Caritatis, of the Second Vatican Council on the renewal of religious life, began the Loyola Institute of Spiritual Renewal. It was intended for religious women, and with the generous help of other Jesuits, Fr. Lapierre directed these workshops at Guelph and especially at Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Centre in Pickering until 2001.
In 2001, Fr. Lapierre concluded his teaching at Regis College and moved into La Storta Residence at Pickering. From La Storta he served God’s people by celebrating Mass and hearing confessions in local parishes and schools, at St. Bernard’s Convent in Toronto, and in his hometown Chapeau. Even at age 94, he would drive daily to the post office to collect the community mail. He still held a valid driver’s license at the age of 100. Right to the end he was of clear mind and his memory was sharp and vibrant.
The arrival of his 100th birthday in May 2015 was celebrated with greetings from all levels of Church and government, including a blessing from Pope Francis, greetings from Father General and congratulations from the Queen.