Class of 2010
Rev. Msgr. Gerard O. Sabourin Father Gerard O. Sabourin was born in Woonsocket. The son of Ovila Sabourin and Berthe Cournoyer, he was educated at St Anne School in the city, where he was an altar boy and a member of the parish Boy Scout Troop.
He graduated from Our Lady of Providence Preparatory Seminary in Warwick, and St. Paul Seminary in Ottawa, Canada, where he earned degrees in Philosopy and Theology.
Father Sabourin was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1960. Since his ordination, he has served in pastoral ministry in a number of parishes around the Diocese of Providence, including St. Patrick in Providence, St. Charles in Woonsocket, his home parish of St. Anne in Woonsocket, and St. Bernard Parish in Wickford.
Most notably, he has served for more than 40 years as director of the diocesan apostolate for handicapped persons. In that ministry, Father Sabourin has been a recognized leader in promoting the best possible quality of life for men and women who suffer from a variety of physical and emotional handicaps.
While director from 1971 to 1981, Father Sabourin also served as chaplain to the Ladd School, a now-closed state residential facility for developmentally challenged children and adults. In recent years he has resided and assisted in the direction of a small group home for such individuals. He has also assumed leadership in the diocesan apostolate to the deaf and hearing impaired.
Since 1981, Father Sabourin has been associated with a small parish mission in Exeter that he has been instrumental in developing into the Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Community. He presently serves as administrator of the community while continuing as director of the apostolate for the handicapped.
In January 2009, Father Sabourin was among ten diocesan priests elevated to the rank of Monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI. The largely honorific title recognizes service and commitment to the Catholic Church. He was recommended as a “chaplain to his Holiness” by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin.