Father Louis-Joseph Goulet passed away in Richelieu as a consequence of his advanced age, on the afternoon of December 13, 2021. He had been receiving care in the infirmary since 2017. In recent years, he had become unable to communicate verbally with those around him.
Louis-Joseph was born on September 16, 1929, in Quebec City. After completing his secondary and college studies at Collège Saint-Charles-Garnier in Quebec City, he entered the novitiate on August 14, 1949. His older brother, Réginald, had preceded him in the Society of Jesus by eight years. After taking his first vows, he followed the regular formation of the time (two years of letters and two years of philosophy), and then was sent to Haiti in 1955 to do his regency. He taught philosophy for three years at the Grand Séminaire interdiocésain de Port-au-Prince, which had been entrusted to the Jesuits of French Canada in 1953, at the request of the Holy See. He returned to Montreal in 1958 to study theology at the Collège de l’Immaculée-Conception, and was ordained a priest in 1961 by Cardinal Paul-Émile Léger. After his tertianship, he returned to Haiti to resume teaching at the Grand Séminaire in September 1963. He had expressed this desire to the provincial superior. On February 12, 1964, the president of the country abruptly put an end to the presence of the Jesuits in Haiti by expelling the eighteen who were working there.
Returning to Canada and awaiting a new assignment, Louis-Joseph devoted himself to Sunday missionary preaching in parishes in the dioceses of Quebec. But in August 1964, following the tragic death of three Jesuits from the Missions Office in a car accident, he was given the responsibility of publishing the missionary magazine, Le Brigand. He served as editor and later director of the magazine for almost 50 years. In the early 1980s, he was also entrusted with the direction of the Missions Office. He fulfilled this function with great dedication until November 2012.
Father Goulet, as director of the Jesuit Missions Office, was concerned about keeping in touch with some fifty companions, originally from the Province of French Canada and others, who were missionaries in close to fifteen countries around the world. At the time of the massive exodus of refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia, to which were soon added Ethiopians, Rwandans, Bosnians and Afghans, he became involved in sponsoring and welcoming families and single persons in a program recognized by the federal government. Several thousand refugees have been sponsored, many of whom are now Canadian citizens. In his capacity as a member of a foreign cooperation organization founded by a Jesuit of the French Canadian Province, CECI, Louis-Joseph had the opportunity to visit several countries in Asia, Africa and South America.
On the occasion of his jubilee of life in the Society in 1999, Father Kolvenbach, who was then the Superior General, wrote to him: “If we can thank you for the interest you have shown in the missions, we must also underline the attention you have aroused and maintained among your readers, Jesuits and non-Jesuits alike, for our missionary companions in many countries of the world.” To this testimony, we can add the one given to him by the provincial, on his sixty years of religious life, in 2009, underlining that Louis-Joseph had accomplished as director of the Missions’ Office what the 35th GC, which took place the previous year, invited us to do: “In a world torn by violence, conflict, and division, we are called with others to become instruments of God…and to build a new world where relationships are just” (Decree 3, no. 16).
In addition to his Jesuit brother, Reginald, who died in 2008, Louis-Joseph had a religious sister, Léonie, Missionary of Our Lady of Africa, who died last year. He also leaves many relatives and friends and many people who are grateful to him for helping them settle in Canada. The funeral service was celebrated at 2 p.m. on December 29, at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Church in Montreal. The Eucharist was presided by Pierre Bélanger, who also gave the homily.