Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wilfrid - Brother and Priest

Last summer I visited and joined the Westbrook Historical Society located on the 2nd floor of the American Legion Hall on Dunn Street. I only spent a few hours in the society room but surely there are other family finds I have yet to discover there.  Diane and Byron Dyer helped me search the files for any records from my family lines who lived in Westbrook: Albert and Gagnon. About a month ago, I decided to check out the WHS web site and was amazed to find an early picture of Pepere's brother, Wilfrid. I immediately recognized that Albert face. It was the society's highlighted photo of the month-a graduation picture of the 8th grade class from St. Hyacinth School circa 1918. Check out the photo archives on the Westbrook's Historical Society's web site and you will see other neat pictures from Westbrook's past. The pictures come with explanations on such institutions as the Haskell Silk Mill, the Westbrook Fire Department in the 1800's, a comprehensive look at the Westbrook School buildings and how many of you remember the Star Movie Theater on Main Street!? Feel free to share what you remember about growing up in Westbrook. The archive photos may stir up some memories.
This picture of the class of 1918 is in the photo album ‘Graduations, St. Hyacinth School, 1899 – 1963’ courtesy of Westbrook Historical Society, Westbrook, Maine. Pictured: Wilfrid Albert, Agnés Moreau, Marie-Antoinette Giboin, Léo Fortin, Albanie Carignan, Eva Bergeron.

Back to the Albert family...
did you know that Pepere was named after his uncle (his father's  brother was named Auguste) and that he was the middle child of five kids?  Wilfrid was a couple of years younger than Pepere and became a priest at a young age. He actually married my parents on June 16, 1952. One of the Albert family treasures is a genealogy book, "Genealogy of Joseph-Wilfrid Albert - Priest", written in 1948 by Gabriel Drouin of the Drouin Institute in Montreal. The book is held in the special care of his nephew, Roland Albert, in Westbrook, Maine. On a later date, I will provide a detailed look at this book. What memories either real or told-about do you have of Wilfrid?


  1. I recall comments about Fr. Albert who would often drive his car and at the same time conduct--with one hand-- an orchestral piece emanating from his car radio . It was something he did which resulted in humorous comments by his admirers. I recall that he handled the humor well. The other item that comes to mind about him is that I have his personal pen with his name engraved on it. Aunt Bernie gave it to me in view of my calligraphy bent. It's housed with many of my other pens. I never used it. If any family member would like to have it, let me know.

  2. Uncle Wilfrid must have been four or five years old when his mother died; I don't know who took care of him then. After completing his primary education he was placed in a Canadian secondary school after which he was transfered to a seminary in Belgium to study for the priesthood. He was ordained there and returned to the states where he was assigned to his first parish at Holy Cross in So. Portland, Maine. His first assignment as Paster was in Ashland, Maine. He went from there to Berwick then to Waterville. He retired from there to serve as Chaplain to the Brothers at Alfred Maine.

  3. Uncle Wilfrid was at M&P's house one time that I remember...sitting in the green chair that was in the middle of the living room. He & Pepere were talking. I remember noticing his priest's collar and thinking he must be a very important person and also that because he was a priest, I should be on my best behavior! I'm sure I met him more than once over my early years. The only other tidbit of info I have about U.Wilfrid is that he gave my mother a couple of "religious artifacts" and I remember my mother saying, he got them in Europe somewhere. One is a heavy brass pail-type thing that had religious carvings on the outside and supposedly was used to carry Holy Water. The other is a heavy brass bell also with religious carvings that was supposedly used to ring at "communion time". I'll bet my mother would have known more about these two items....I asked Memere about them once, but she had no recollection them or of Uncle Wilfrid giving them to her.


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