General George P. Vanier, Military, Diplomat, 19th Governor General of Canada and member of the Order of Malta
The traditional ceremony tribute to General Georges Phileas Vanier and his wife Pauline Archer was held on Sunday, October 15, in Quebec City. This event took place at the Royal 22 e Régiment Memorial in the presence of the members of the Order of Malta of the Quebec region and some distinguished guests. The ceremony was followed by lunch at the Officers’ Mess of the Citadelle of Quebec and a Marc Beaudoin, historian, on “The Knights of St. Louis at Canada. ”
Georges P. Vanier was enlisted in the 22nd French-Canadian Battalion in 1915 as a lieutenant and served as an officer during the First World War. Promoted captain, then Major, he participated in October 1918 in the Battle of Chérisy where all the officers of the 22nd battalion were killed or wounded. George P. Vanier was injured twice and his injuries were so serious that the chaplain of the battalion gave him absolution before he left. He went to the Ligny St-Flochel Hospital where he had his right leg amputated. This injury forced him to walk with a cane all his life, but will not prevent him from continuing his career. Thus, in September 1924, Lieutenant-Colonel George P. Vanier, who, despite his disability, managed to remain in the military service, and was appointed the Commander of the 22nd Regiment garrisoned at the Citadelle of Quebec. February 25, 1928, George P. Vanier Appointed Geneva Representative of Canada to the Commission preparatory to disarmament at the League of Nations. Subsequently, he is appointed Minister plenipotentiary in France in 1939. After returning from France in 1941, he served as Commander of the Quebec Military District and was later appointed Divisional General in 1942. In the same year, he was sent to England as Minister Plenipotentiary with governments in exile, particularly with Free France. In 1945 he is appointed Ambassador of Canada to France until his retirement in 1953. George P. Vanier appointed Governor General of Canada on August 1, 1959, becoming the first francophone and the first Québécois to hold this position.
At an investiture held at Rideau Hall on December 21, 1960, Georges P. Vanier and Pauline Archer were both admitted to the Canadian Association of the Order of Malta. Georges was received as Knight Grand Cross of Magisterial grace with cord and Pauline as Lady of Magisterial Grace.
George P. Vanier died in office at Rideau Hall (Ottawa) on March 5, 1967. His Funeral took place on the following March 8 in Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal. He was buried at the Royal 22 e Régiment Memorial at the Citadelle of Quebec. His wife, Pauline Archer, who died on March 23, 1991, is at his side.
The deep spirituality of the viceregal couple led the Catholic archdiocese Ottawa to begin a process that could eventually lead to their beatification.