Father Jean-Claude Lafleur, a Fellow of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC), died this May while on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, at the age of 80.
Born on June 19, 1937, Lafleur was a priest for more than 50 years, and he considered philately his second calling, according to a memorial published in The Canadian Philatelist (TCP), the official journal of The RPSC.
“A member of seven philatelic organizations, he worked extensively with young philatelists in Québec. A great number of young Canadians, participating successfully in youth philatelic expositions throughout the world, may be proof that his seminars, his role as mentor, and his personal help have borne fruit.”
Lafleur formerly served on the board of The RPSC but resigned in 2002 with one year remaining in his term. That year, he also received the Golden Jubilee Medal.
A thematic collector, Lafleur exhibited and won several awards for his studies of the conquerors of the Mediterranean.
In 1982 he was named an international judge and commissioner.
“I want to insist on these effects in that they allowed me to exercise my priesthood through this hobby, which is philately,” wrote Lafleur in an article entitled “Philately and its Effects on my Life” and published in Philatélie Québec. “They allowed me to serve, to give of myself, to open up to men’s lives, and even to make philately a place of evangelization, where I could propagate values of justice, sharing and honesty.”In 2004, Lafleur donated his archives and collections to Library and Archives Canada.
“It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Father Jean-Claude Lafleur, Capuchin, teacher at the Séminaire St. François in charge of the youth philatelist club for many years. An emeritus member of the Académie québécoise de philatélie, he was a friend and one of the great pioneers of philately in the province of Quebec,” wrote Jacques Poitras, president of the Fédération québécoise de philatélie, in the July/August issue of TCP.
“His halting English and my incomplete knowledge of French were, strangely enough, binding us rather than dividing,” wrote Michael Madesker. “Father Lafleur had a most acute ability to present a thought, supported by a gentle sense of humour, which could not help but drive any discussion. There is little doubt that the growth of youth philately in Canada, but especially in Québec, is thanks to this fine individual with a dark brow, beatific smile and a love for his vocation and avocation. May you Rest in Peace, my dear friend and mentor.”
Lafleur died on May 7.