This small case was used to store small liturgical objects. These worship accessories allowed a priest who had to go visit one of his sick or dying flock to bring them communion.

“Viaticum” literally means “provisions given to someone for a trip.” In the Catholic religion, the viaticum is the Eucharist given to “a Christian in danger of death.” The term therefore takes on the meaning of meeting the needs of the dying person who is about to embark on their journey to the afterlife.

Although intended for use by a priest or father of a religious community, this case was nevertheless in the family of Côme Dessureault, who donated it to the museum in 2003.

A native of Saint-Georges de Champlain, in Mauricie, Quebec, Côme Dessureault was born in September 1918, about two months before the end of the Great War. Côme was baptized under the first names Joseph Côme Marcel. He was the son of Amanda Bruneault (or Bruneau) and Wilson Dessureault (1876-1952).

Amanda Bruneault was born in the United States and immigrated to Canada in 1882, the same year our museum was in its infancy and received its first donations from the public.

As for Wilson Dessureault, when Côme was born, he was already on his third wife. His first wife was Zéphise Beaupré, and his second was Marie-Anne Mailloux. The latter died on March 10, 1914, when she was only 36 years old, probably following complications after the birth of their son, Joseph Vianney, who was born on March 4. At that time, the family lived in Lac-à-la-Tortue.

According to the 1921 Canadian census, Côme, at that time a little over 2 years old, lived with his parents, half-brothers, and half-sister: Armand (19 years old), Eddy (14), René (11), and Irma (8). Joseph Vianney is not mentioned. The family still lived in the village of Saint-Georges de Champlain. Côme’s grandparents, Gilbert Dessureault and Zoé Tousignant, were also part of the household. They were married in 1864 in Sainte-Geneviève-de-Batiscan.

Gilbert Dessureau (Dessureault), one of the pioneers of the parish of St-Théophile in Lac-à-la-Tortue, is the one who donated the land on which both the presbytery and the church were built. As for Zoé, she had several children, including Léontine (1865), Joseph (1867-1867), Gilbert (1868-1871), Hormidas (1869), Rébecca (1872), Joseph Balzimé or Balsimé (1874), Wilson (1876), twins Paméla (1878) and Léa Georgine (1878) called Régina (Vianney’s godmother), Fernando (1883), Marie-Bertha (1885-1942), Flora (1886-1886), and Joseph Wilson (1892). Zoé died on November 1, 1941, at the age of 97 and 4 months after several months of illness. She still lived with her son, Wilson.

Marie-Bertha Dessureault became a nun with the Sisters of Providence under the name Sister Gilbert of Scotland in 1909.

It is likely that the case may have come into the possession of this family through this nun or through a priest, a friend of the family.

As for Côme Dessureault, former student of the Séminaire Saint-Joseph, veteran of the Second World War, volunteer with several organizations, retired from the daily newspaper Le Nouvelliste, and husband of Gisèle Mongrain (1924-2015), it seems that he inherited this case. He died in Trois-Rivières on February 27, 2010.

Donation from Côme Dessureault
Musée Pierre-Boucher Collection
2003 377 I.6-1