Catholic educator and priest ; born at Windsor, Vermont, in 1799; died at Lorette, near Quebec, Canada, in 1852.
After a few years' schooling at Dartmouth College, he left home for Canada, bent on prosecuting his studies and converting Catholics. His own eyes were opened to the true Faith, which he embraced at Yamachiche, Province of Quebec, in 1817, where the pastor, Abbé Lecuyer, had housed and instructed him. He studied philosophy at Montreal Seminary, and theology at Nicolet College. Shortly after his ordination in 1823 he was appointed pastor of Drummondville, the centre during the four years of his ministry of a field of labour extending over a district now comprising fifteen or twenty parishes.
He then went as professor to Quebec Seminary, which was to reap such benefit from his talents and devotedness. Abbé Holmes, a born pedagogue, infused new life into the antiquated curriculum, introducing Greek, English, and all the branches of experimental science. His inventive genius and winning style lent a charm to all his teaching, especially that of geography. His "Traité de Géographie", first published in 1832, many times re-edited and even translated into English and German, is a model text-book. He first conceived the plan of a Catholic University, since realized in Laval, the charter of which was signed shortly after his death.
His zeal for education was not limited to the seminary. In 1836, when the Legislature of Lower Canada voted grants for the first normal schools, the task of organizing and equipping these institutions was entrusted to Abbé Holmes.
No patriot was more devoted to the country of his adoption. His experience in the eastern townships inspired him to promote colonization in that direction, so as to stem the tide of French Canadian emigration beyond the border-line. He also foresaw the possibility of a commercial union of all the British provinces in North America, a plan afterwards more completely realized by the confederation in 1867.
Abbé Holmes was an orator in the full sense of the word. His deep and varied knowledge, expressive mien and gesture, sonorous voice, and perfect mastery of the French tongue all combined to charm and convince the audiences that crowded the vast cathedral to overflowing, and produced on his hearers a life-long impression. His "Conférences de Notre-Dame" were first published in 1850. His friendly relations with his family soon reconciled them to his conversion. A brother and all his six sisters followed him into the Church.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online