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Father Clair the travelling priest

Posted on April 18, 2024 by Sunny South News

Dear Editor:

Lydia and I have known Father Clair Watrin for the past seven years where he resided at the Presentation Manor, in Toronto, Ontario. We were saddened to hear of his passing. We emailed back and forth and spoke on the telephone. We met his cousin Ruth who lives in Pincher Creek. Fr. Clair was like a father to us and will miss him deeply. We recognized his picture in the Easter Greeting  from the Basilian Fathers. Once I asked which one he is in the picture,  he said the “handsome one.” We remember Fr. Clair when he preached in his Mission at  St. Ambrose Church in Coaldale, Alberta. I think he just came back from Africa and he told us he lived on a bowl of rice daily. We will offer Masses for the repose of his soul as he was generous to offer Masses for us in the past. For stipends he said do something good for the poor. He asked us to pray for the priests daily and gave us a prayer that we recite daily in the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. He insisted that we pray for him when he was sick in hospital until his passing. We have been donating funds to the Basilian Retirement Fund and now will do the same in his memory. 

Fr. Clair was very educated and took Philosophy from the University of Toronto and Theology from the University of St. Michael’s College in 1959 and Psychology from the University of Detroit in 1969. He was ordained on June 28, in 1959. Fr. Clair was in  great demand as a speaker and rarely turned down invitations to give public witness of the Lord’s actions in his own life and in the life of those who heard him. Clair was the  founder of the Live-In retreat movement and inspired the establishment of CCO(Catholic Christian Outreach) a Canadian university student movement at the University of Saskatchewan, which has since spread to university and college campuses across Canada.  Fr. Clair evangelized in education and has been a Basilian Father for 71 years and had  served in priestly ministry for 64 years. 

Paul Jones, Coaldale

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