Augustinians of the Assumption

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Home WHO WE ARE Assumptionists Profiles Fr. ROGER CORRIVEAU, A.A.



Interviewer – Would you share with us a bit about your background: family and childhood etc.?

Fr. Roger – I was a war baby, as my father was in the Army during World War II. My parents lived in Oregon and Spokane, WA for awhile before he was deployed to Europe.
My home however is in Jackman, Maine, where in 1944 I was born in my grandmother’s house. For two years my mother and I lived with my grandparents while my father was overseas. It was only when he returned home that I met my father for the first time. My grandfather was a carpenter and owned his own shop and chicken coop. He was not on good terms with the rooster! Growing up in Jackman, which was primarily a lumbering town, I remember that our first home had an indoor water pump and an outhouse as an added feature. Later we moved to another home which was jacked up and had no cellar. I was three when my brother was born and my mother had a near death experience. Sometime later my parents bought a general clothing store where we lived upstairs. I remember that I was five years old when my sister Betty was born at the home of a mid-wife.
As I was of French Canadian descent, my first language was French. Our neighbors who were from Ohio had three children, two girls and one boy. So I learned English from one of the daughters. When I was ten, my sister Marian was born and I can still remember how sickly my mother was.

What do you remember about your early school days?

I went to the parish elementary school which was run by the Sisters of St. Joseph from Lyons, France. It was from them that I received a sound early education, especially in English and French. It was during those years that I began to think of my future, first as a cowboy, then as a fireman and finally as a priest. By the time that I was in the fifth grade, I was academically in competition with the girls in my class and my goal was always to be first. Friendships were also very important to me and I enjoyed bicycling whenever possible.

How and when did you come to meet the Assumptionists?

By the time that I was in the eighth grade in 1958, St. Mary Therese overheard a conversation I was having with a classmate’s mother about high school and interrupted us by saying, “ You are going to Assumption Prep.” I had heard about the tornado years earlier. So I took the entrance exam during Easter week and began classes in the fall. I spent my high school summers working at Dairy Queen. Also during those years, I became enthralled with the life of Trappist monks, so I went to visit them at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, MA. After two years at the prep, I went to Our Lady of Lourdes in Cassadaga, NY and visited the Trappists at their Genesee Abbey during my senior year. After graduation I entered the community and lived with them for two years. However I was also drawn to the intellectual life of the Assumptionists and the dynamism of the congregation. About that time, their men were coming home to the U.S. after Vatican II studies in Europe, alive, excited and anxious to begin their ministry. I knew something was missing in my life so I left the Trappists.

Where did your journey take you from there?

In 1964 I went to the World’s Fair in NY and ended up working in a fire extinguishing company for a time before moving back to Maine and a job in a lumber yard. Then after my freshman year in Cassadaga, I transferred to Assumption College in Worcester, MA. It was after my sophomore year that I entered the community and did my novitiate in Saugerties, NY before returning to the college.

Did anyone in particular have a significant impact on your life?

Yes, Frs. Denys Gonthier, A.A., Ernest Fortin, A.A. and Dr.Oscar Remick were great mentors in my life during my years of majoring in philosophy.

Where did your studies and community life take you after college?

After graduation in 1969, I moved to Pine Road in Brookline, MA and went to Weston Jesuit School of Theology which I thoroughly enjoyed. After graduation in 1972, I began a doctoral program and Boston College and Andover Newton Theological Seminary. However in 1974 I took some time off and moved to our new Assumption College community at Austin House and did campus ministry. Later that year I was ordained and began teaching in addition to campus ministry, as both were part time positions for the next two years. In 1976 I moved back to Brookline and Buckminster Road as superior and received my Master of Arts degree in addition to being named assistant novice master for the next two years. Those assignments were followed by a move back to campus ministry when in 1981 I became director until 1988. In the fall of that year, I went to Rome to do a doctoral program in patristic studies, which required an intense preparation in Latin, as well as the study of Italian, the language of all my courses. After taking a break from the program that winter, I came home to study Greek in NY, followed by a trip to Germany before returning to Rome. I finished the study program in three years and received a license but never wrote the dissertation.

Did you then return to the U.S.?

Yes, in 1995 I made a retreat at St. Joseph’s Abbey and had a strong urge to return to Genesee which I did. While I was most comfortable with the contemplative aspect of their life, I became uneasy with the active part of their day and so after a month I knew that I wanted to return to academia and teaching. And so I moved to Emmanuel House in Worcester to work on my dissertation once again and spent the following summer in Sherbrooke before becoming Chair of the Theology Department at Assumption. During the year 2000-2001 I was involved in formation work and served as novice master. Since then, I have been teaching and now once again I am chair of the department.

Do you have other interests and hobbies?

Yes, I love to read, play the organ and enjoy all forms of art.

Where do you see us today as Church?

I believe that we are at a crossroads, called to live a profound faith in God which is exciting, liberating and freeing.

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