Thursday, April 8, 2010
The Trials of Father Lucien Galtier
I am happy to announce that my latest book, "Lucien Galtier-Pioneer Priest" has finally been published and is for sale at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. This is the general description: "In the spring of 1840, a riverboat stopped at Fort Snelling in the Minnesota Territory, dropping off a Frenchman named Lucien Galtier. No one expected the young priest in this small settlement of fur traders, farmers, and whiskey sellers. The local Indian tribes were involved in a bloody feud, the fort commander was battling the purveyors of drink and, in the midst of this strife, an inexperienced Catholic clergyman attempted to establish a congregation and build a place of worship. In this remote region, the sound of a church bell had never been heard. This is the first biography of Father Galtier, the story of his struggle to survive physically and spiritually in the frontier towns of the Mississippi. It begins in the future city of St. Paul, the place with which Lucien Galtier will always be associated as it was he who provided its name."
Lucien Galtier did, indeed, begin his missionary career in Minnesota, but he also served in Keokuk, Iowa and Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Life was rough and even corrupt and dissolute, drinking, gambling, and also prostitution being quite common in these Midwestern towns of the 19th Century. Survival was especially difficult for a poor, lonely priest whose bishop seldom payed him his salary in a timely manner. But Galtier was a man whose "head sat on his shoulders like that of a military chieftain" and he took nothing lying down, thought nothing of telling off his own superior. For this French priest there was only one God, in His trinity, and the bishop didn't even come a close second.