Kajualuk: Pierre Henry, Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate, Apostle of the Inuit, 1904-1979; From Brittany to the Canadian North

Description

282 pages
Contains Illustrations
$10.00
ISBN 0-962163-0-0

Publisher

Year

1985

Contributor

Reviewed by Ian A. Andrews

Ian A. Andrews is a high-school social sciences teacher and editor of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association’s Focus.

Review

Father Pierre Henry, an Oblate or missionary of the Roman Catholic Order of Mary Immaculate, left his home in the Brittany region of France to serve the Inuit of Canada’s North and bring them into contact with the Christian teachings of his church. His time spent living among the Inuit extended from his first arrival in Canada in 1932 until ill health required his removal to a less harsh climate in the early 1970s. A fellow member of this religious order, Father Charles Choque, has produced this fond history of the legendary missionary who was referred to as Kajualuk by the Inuit because of his long reddish beard.

To produce this biography Choque relied heavily on the “Codex Historicus” or daily journal of activities kept by each missionary. As a result, the book often reads like a diary — a series of anecdotes about happenings and thoughts with a randomness that fails to give a compact coherence to the work. It follows a basic chronological narrative form that is written essentially in the present tense, whether the main character is being quoted or not. The switching of tenses, the use of incomplete sentences, and a lack of proper documentation mar the literary and historical quality of the work, while the author’s tendency to moralize on behalf of his subject compromises any objectivity that might be expected. Nevertheless, the reader will gain insight into the harshness of life in Northern Canada and the dedication necessary for a non-native to withstand such conditions.

Citation

Choque, Charles, “Kajualuk: Pierre Henry, Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate, Apostle of the Inuit, 1904-1979; From Brittany to the Canadian North,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/35580.