Last modified: 2016-04-22 by rob raeside
Keywords: cercles lacordaire | quebec |
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The Cercles Lacordaire (Lacordaire Circles) was a Roman Catholic movement
whose members took a pledge to abstain from alcohol either to resolve substance
abuse on their part or to help other people with such problems. The circles were
named after Henri Lacordaire, a liberal 19th century French priest who preached
a Catholic message based more on everyday life then pure theology. The female
equivalent were the Cercles Sainte-Jeanne d'Arc.
The organisation was founded in 1911 by Father Joseph-Amédée Jacquemet in Falls River, Massachusetts within the French-Canadian immigrant communities.
Four years later, the first circle on Canadian soil was opened in Saint-Ours-sur-Richelieu by relatives of immigrated French-Canadians.
In the next quarter century, 54 circles were founded in various parts of Canada (though as far as I can tell, only in francophone communities) and in 1941, the circles were grouped together, with the blessing of Father Jacquemet, as the "Centre canadien des Cercles Lacordaire et Sainte-Jeanne d'Arc".
Various projects were started in the following years such as an institute for the study of alcoholism in partnership with the Université de Sherbrooke.
In 1974, the group changed its orientation from abstinence to moderation and changed its name to Sobriété du Canada. It also became a purely secular group though without denying its affiliation.
The organisation still exists today with the promotion of sobriety now also extending to prescription medicine as well as illegal drugs.
I have been able to find a number of circles' flags and although they tend to vary from one another in minor ways (such as the exact position and relative size of the various elements), the included flag of the St-Valérien circle can be considered to be typical.
Marc Pasquin, 10 February 2016