Dear friends, members of the Paquin Families.
We are gathered here to-day to unveil this memorial as it is stated on the souvenir plate to the faith and bravery of the Paquin ancestors.
A few steps away from where we now stand, we can see another bronze plate erected by the Quebec Historical Monument Commission to remind us that we are now on land granted to the a François de Chavigny in 1640 identified as Sieur de Berchereau. It is in 1683 that this land was acquired by Jacques Alexis de Fleury Deschambault as a result of his marriage to Marguerite de Cavagne. It is also the reason why the name Deschambault became the official parish name.
Colonization of this magnificient part of the country started around 1685 and more intensively at the beginning of the 18th century. Amongst the very first settlers, we find the name Nicolas Paquin, son of Nicolas Paquin, our common ancestor who arrived in America in 1672.
Nicolas Paquin junior settled at Deschambault at the very beginning of the parish around 1700. From where we now stand we can contemplate this part of the country where our great Paquin Family took roots in Nouvelle France.
To-day we find it very significant and it is with great happiness that we erect a monument, near to the souvenir plate commemorating the beginning of the Deschambault parish, as a reminder of our Paquin ancestors. The Deschambault parish and the Paquin family grew up together and it is purely natural to allow this historical coincidence to be honoured by the proximity of the two monuments.
This action being taken to-day is a proclamation of our pride and respect of our Paquin ancestors. We all wish to remain in contact with our past not necessarily to be in a spirit of nostalgia or dream, but to find a better knowledge of what we are as Quebeceers, as Canadians and also to find new dynamics for the future.
"Question past generations and be attentive to our fathers' experience" (Job 8:8) extract of the holy writings. Unless we Quebeceers remain attentive the interpretation of our past, we risk going round and round facing each other without heros, legend, pride and joie de vivre.
It is necessary that our cultural and political identification be constantly renewed in conformity with the past not as aversion or dispute but as a stepping stone for the future.
This monument invites you to-day to investigate the soul of our Paquin ancestors. To-morrow and the day after it will remain as a true witness of the deep human and religious values of our fathers who built this country. Through this monument we can associate all the wealthy aspects of thrust, bravery, dynamism and creativity that have characterized those that have preceded us in history.
The fleur de lis on top of the souvenir plate points to the future. Our ancestors left us this magnificient country. What shall we do of it? We are holding the answer. Let's hope that this monument and all it represents shall provide the inspiration in our task to be faithful to our past and to the generations to come.
Speech given by Father Jacques Paquin p.m.é. at Deschambault on August 24 1975 when the monument was being unveilled and blessed.