Urique, Father Albert
1925, November 23
Date of Birth: 1857, July 25
No Memorial Card is Available
December 20, 1925
Fathers and Very Dear in Our Lord:
To tell you of Father Urique, I can do no better than pass on to you the notes sent from Montreal by Father Labelle on his Curriculum Vitae, then of his outstanding qualities exhibited in various assignments.
Pierre Albert Urique, born at Grandpré in the Diocese of Reims on July 25, 1857, came to St. Sulpice in 1879. Ordained a priest at the Reims seminary on May 10, 1883, he was sent to teach Philosophy at Alix (1883-1884). He came after that to Issy for his year of Solitude (1884-85). He left for Canada on September 6, 1885, and was appointed Professor of Moral at the Grand Seminary of Montreal (1885-86), then Professor of Philosophy at the seminary of Philosophy (1886-1896). From 1896 to 1904 he was Superior [of Philosophy] at Brighton Seminary near Boston and Professor of Philosophy there. In 1904-1905 he was Superior of the Philosophy Department and Professor of Moral at St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore. Then from 1905 to 1918, Vice-president of St. Mary’s. He returned to Montreal as Superior of the Grand Seminary (1916-1924). Finally, he was confessor to the Sisters of the Normal School, of St. Urban’s Academy, of Notre Dame School - three institutions run by the Congregation of Notre Dame (1924-1925).
To a rare degree Father Urique possessed the spirit of sacrifice, of obedience, of charity. It was to do Father Olier’s work at Montreal that he had offered himself to the Superior General on leaving Solitude. However, for the better part of his life in America – twenty eight out of forty years – he was engaged in Sulpician work in the United States. Father Urique did not know how to refuse the least wish of his superiors. He had early trained himself to see God in them; so, what they wanted constituted law.
In 1896, after ten fine years of teaching Philosophy at the seminary of Philosophy in Montreal, when it was proposed to him that he go to St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, he was soon there.
In 1904, Baltimore appealed to his sense of duty to teach Moral there and also be in charge of the Philosophy students. Father Urique responded with the same promptness.
In 1905, his heart was still in Montreal and he was dreaming of returning there as teacher or chaplain. But St. Mary’s Seminary wanted him as Vice-president, and he accepted with good will this new responsibility which for fourteen years held up his return to Canada.
Finally, when in 1918 – with the approval of the Superior General and the consent of Father Dyer (then Vicar General for the United States) – Montreal asked Father Urique to take on the position of Superior of the Grand Seminary of Montreal. Although already suffering from arterio-sclerosis, he accepted, against his own will and the opinion of his doctor. By sheer obedience he offered himself to carry the too heavy burden which was awaiting him. He returned to Montreal, leaving behind an ineradicable memory in the minds and hearts of his confreres and of his American students.
“I knew Father Dissez very well and I saw Father Chapon at close range,” wrote one of them; “both men were to the United States what Fathers Delavigne and Roussel were to Montreal – model Sulpicians. They left here a reputation for priestly holiness which carries their influence on into the lives of their confreres and former students. It can be said without exaggeration that Father Urique was just as remarkable as his two confreres for charity and humility. I never heard him say a harsh word to anyone, even in circumstances when his patience was severely strained.”
His goodness of heart was one of the strongest traits in Father Urique’s life. A fine confrere, he did not content himself with avoiding everything that might cause unhappiness in those who labored with him, but it made him happy to do all in his power for them.
Father and real friend of the seminarians, he lost no chance to encourage them and unobtrusively to give them good advice. By example, he preached fraternal attachment and union of hearts to all. By his attitude, he spread an influence which maintained peace and cordiality around him. “We lose a man of valor and a saintly priest,” wrote – on the day after his death – a bishop who had learned to know and admire him during his pre-Consecration retreat.
Father Urique’s charity had its source of nourishment in a solid piety, mild and effective. Enlightened by knowledge (for Father Urique was a good theologian), his piety had that familiar attraction admired in all truly interior men. He made his (spiritual) exercises at the fixed hour – during vacations, on a trip – just as he did during the year. No indisposition ever seemed to him serious enough for failing to say Mass or be at Morning Prayer. We have seen him go to the altar when he had reason to fear a violent attack of his illness.
Also, mild and effective was his piety towards Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, and the Saints. He was one of the first to become interested in the life of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, even before her beatification. He understood very well “the little voice” which had so well taught him the Discite cuia mitis et humilis corde [Learn of Me for I am meek and humble of heart].
On November 13th [sic], Father Urique was invited to accompany his Superior to the funeral of Father Dyer, Provincial Superior of the priests of St. Sulpice in the United States. For him it was indeed a joy to go to pay his last respects to one who had so honored him with his confidence and to have the opportunity of seeing again his confreres, former students, and nuns who were quite attached to him. The trip caused no apparent fatigue. On returning home, Father Urique noticed that his pulse was becoming very slow. On November 19th, he counted only thirty-three beats per minute. At that point he asked permission to go to the Hotel Dieu. There the doctor who had been treating him several years for arterio-sclerosis immediately asked him to stay as a patient.
From that time on Father Urique had a very clear idea that his end was near. He smiled at the doctor who spoke to him of speeding up the accelerator muscle of his heart by a sure means. Turning to his Superior, he said: “I can see what is in store.” Really, he had foreseen his death for a long time. It did not keep him from his usual calm and his absolute trust in God. November 27th being a Sunday, Communion was brought to him. Then he got up to go to hear, near his room, the Mass of a priest-patient. He occupied himself all day with God and pious thoughts, and he wrote his last weekly letter to his only sister in his native land. On the 23rd, at half past six in the morning, he again received Holy Communion. It was noticed an hour later that he had just lost consciousness. A confrere who was there quickly gave him Extreme Unction and the plenary indulgence, and he expired quietly before the liturgical prayer was over.
His funeral was celebrated on November 25th in the Church of Notre Dame in the presence of one hundred and fifty priests, all our seminarians, a good number of brothers and sisters, and former lay students at the Seminary of Philosophy.
Several of these last were deputed to carry the venerable deceased to the crypt of the Grand Seminary’s chapel. There he rests amid the mortal remains of all our Montreal confreres.
I recommend Father Urique to your prayers and I renew to you the expression of my devoted sentiments in Our Lord.
Superior General of St. Sulpice