The Vieux presbytère de Batiscan

The Vieux presbytère de Batiscan was built in 1816, to replace the first rectory which dated from 1696. This first priest's home was showing signs of fatigue, after more than a century of use. Fearing high renovation costs, the parishioners opted to demolish the house and build a new one in the same spot. The second rectory is much bigger than the first and its 32 inch thick walls guaranty its sturdiness.

The rectory's main inhabitant was Wenceslas Théophilas Fréchette, who occupied the role of parish priest in Batiscan from 1843 to 1875, an exceptionally lengthy stay for the time. It is therefore not surprising that Father Fréchette left his mark in the small community. Even more so since some of his undertakings did not fit the idea one might have of a man of the Church...

In 1867, the stone church that stood near the rectory was deemed too small for the needs of the expanding parish, which lead to the decision to build a new one. The new church was built further east because, as well as being overcrowded, the church was also quite distant from the village's core. Father Fréchette took on all the costs of building a new rectory, alongside this new church. To thank him for his generosity, his parishioners gave him the old rectory (he will lease the house and adjoining lands to a couple of farmers) and the old church, considered unusable. Being quite a businessman, Father Fréchette converted the building into a matchstick factory, not worrying about the scandalized protest some opposed to this project. The destiny of the little factory is quite a story in itself...

Let's not forget about Adéline, the rectory servant ! Young Adéline accompanied Father Fréchette to Batiscan and, at barely fifteen years of age, she tended to the house's upkeep and to the well-being of the priest. Her young age could have been the source of much hearsay... Keep in mind that the unwritten rule supposed that rectory housekeepers should have reached the canonical age (forty) to minimize temptation and avoid malicious gossip. Adéline, however, was privileged because she was Father Fréchette's half-sister, born from his father's second marriage. No doubt her special status made her privy to some confidential information and that she was always much aware of all that was going on in the parish.