Louis-Nazaire Bégin

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Louis-Nazaire Bégin (January 10, 1840 – July 18, 1925) was a Canadian Cardinal of the Catholic Church. Fr. Begin held a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and was later appointed Archbishop of Quebec by Pope Leo XIII (1898)[1] and created cardinal by Pope St. Pius X (1914).

His Eminence

Louis-Nazaire Bégin
Cardinal, Archbishop of Quebec
Louis Nazaire Begin.jpg
InstalledApril 12, 1898—July 18, 1925
PredecessorElzéar-Alexandre Taschereau
SuccessorPaul-Eugène Roy
Other postsPreviously Coadjutor Archbishop of Quebec
Created cardinalMay 25, 1914
Personal details
BornJanuary 10, 1840
Saint-Joseph-de-la-Pointe-Lévis (Lévis), Canada East
DiedJuly 18, 1925
Quebec, Canada
Coat of armsLouis-Nazaire Bégin's coat of arms
Styles of
Louis-Nazaire Bégin
Coat of arms of Louis-Nazaire Bégin.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal


Louis-Nazaire Bégin was born in Saint-Joseph-de-la-Pointe-Lévis (Today named Lévis), Quebec, to a modest family of farmers whose ancestors came from Normandy, France, to Canada in 1655. He completed his primary studies at École modèle in Lévis, and later collège commercial in Bellechasse. From 1862 to 1863, Bégin studied classics and theology at the seminary in Quebec. He attended Laval University before going to Rome, where he studied at the Pontifical French Seminary (September 1863 – 1867). He was ordained to the priesthood by Costantino Cardinal Patrizi Naro on June 10, 1865, in the Lateran Basilica.

Bégin then furthered his studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University, from where he obtained his doctorate in theology in 1866; he also studied the Hebrew, Chaldean, Syrian, and Arabic languages. From 1867 to 1868, he studied in the Theological Faculty of the University of Innsbruck, perfecting his previous studies and learning German. During this time, Bégin also traveled to Palestine and spent five months in the Holy Land.

Upon his return to Canada, he was named professor of dogmatic theology and of ecclesiastical history at the Seminary of Quebec in July 1868, remaining in those posts until 1884. He obtained the agrégation, a competitive examination for positions on the teaching staff of lyceums and universities, in 1869. From October 1870 to 1875, Bégin was Professor of Religious Culture at his alma mater of the University of Laval. He held an array of administrative posts from 1876 to 1883, such as director of the boarding school, of students, of seminarians, and prefect of studies. Bégin took several months for rest and recuperation from the end of 1883 to the beginning of 1884, and acted as the private secretary to Elzéar-Alexandre Cardinal Taschereau on his tour in Europe from April to December 1884. He served as Principal of the Normal School of Laval from January 1885 to October 1888 as well.

On October 1, 1888, Bégin was appointed Bishop of Chicoutimi by Pope Leo XIII. He received his episcopal consecration on the following October 28 from Cardinal Taschereau, with Bishops Louis-François Richer dit Laflèche and Jean-François Laforce-Langevin serving as co-consecrators, in the metropolitan cathedral-basilica of Quebec.

After being advanced to Titular Archbishop of Cyrene on December 18, 1891, he was named Coadjutor Archbishop of Quebec on December 22 of that same year. Illness forced Cardinal Taschereau to delegate his workload to Bégin, who was made Apostolic Administrator of Quebec on September 3, 1894. He eventually succeeded the late Cardinal as Archbishop of Quebec, on April 12, 1898. Archbishop Bégin was appointed an Assistant at the Pontifical Throne on the following April 22, and participated in the First Plenary Council of Canada in June 1909.

Pope Pius X created him Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Vitale, Valeria, Gervasio e Protasio in the consistory of May 25, 1914. Bégin arrived late to the papal conclaves of both 1914 and of 1922, and consequently could not participate. As Archbishop, he made vehement condemnations of modernism, jazz music, dancing, and cinemas (which he described as offering "serious dangers, if not approximate occasions, of mortal sin"), the clandestine sale of liquors[2] and the frivolous fashions of women.[3]

Stricken by uremia followed by paralysis[4] on June 12, 1925, the Cardinal died shortly thereafter at the age of 85. His body, clad in scarlet and guarded by a detachment of the Papal Zouaves, was then exposed in the chapel of his residential palace for the homage of the faithful.[2] He was buried in the crypt of the Cathedral-Basilica of Quebec on the following July 25.

See alsoEdit


  • "Louis-Nazaire Bégin". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2016.
  1. ^ "Louis Nazaire Cardinal Bégin [Catholic-Hierarchy]". www.catholic-hierarchy.org. Retrieved 2019-09-08.
  2. ^ a b TIME Magazine. Begin July 27, 1925
  3. ^ TIME Magazine. In Quebec September 22, 1924
  4. ^ TIME Magazine. Milestones July 27, 1925

External linksEdit

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Dominique Racine
Bishop of Chicoutimi
Succeeded by
Michel-Thomas Labrecque
Preceded by
Elzéar-Alexandre Taschereau
Archbishop of Quebec
Succeeded by
Paul-Eugène Roy