Léger Comeau, 1920 — 1996

A Man of Boundless Energy

The term "multi-tasking" is recent, yet the reality goes back a long way. One example from Nova Scotia's Acadian community is Léger Comeau. Here was a man who was a priest as well as a university professor, administrator, cultural dynamo and fervent Acadian nationalist.  

Comeau was born in Saulnierville, and went on to attend university and an Eudist seminary to become a priest. The years that followed saw him advance his studies and teach, at first in Quebec and later in Nova Scotia. Yet academic life and religious obligations were never his only focus. Comeau always thought about how he could serve the broad Acadian community. In 1957, for instance, he founded the Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse (FANE). In the 1960s, moving to Halifax, he became the director of the Atlantic Provinces Inter-Diocesan Seminary, as well as the regional representative of the National Film Board. There is not space enough to list all his involvements and accomplishments from then on. In addition to his spiritual and pastoral duties, he devoted himself the development and recognition of Acadian culture by creating or working for the widest possible range of cultural organizations.

For all his many labours, Comeau received more than fifty national and international honours, including Knight of the Legion of Honour, France's highest civilian recognition. A commemorative medal was named in his honour (médaille Léger-Comeau), which, since 1988, is presented by the National Society of Acadians to individuals who do exceptional work to promote the Acadian people, their history and their culture.

When he died at age 76, all Acadians mourned. They had lost a man who had paved the way for their community to take its rightful place in the modern world.