Father Michael Yvon Allard SVD, vice superior general during a period of rapid growth in the Society of the Divine Word, died at Granby, Québec, on July 14.
As vice superior general, “he visited communities throughout the world,” said Divine Word Father Marcel Barsalou, a classmate of Father Allard since high school days. “He was very much appreciated for his visits.”
Although travel put a stress on Father Allard’s health, he did not let others know that he was suffering, said Father Barsalou, who shares extended family with him. Not only did the two priests live in the same community as seminarians, young priests and in semi-retirement, Father Allard’s sister married Father Barsalou’s brother.
“He was a man who was pleasant and very kind to people,” Father Barsalou said. “He wanted people to be joyful and well.”
The second child of Lionel and Antoinette (nee Fafard) Allard’s six children, Father Allard was born in Cowansville, Québec, about 90 km (60 miles) southeast of Montreal, in 1937.
He studied at Seminaire du Verbe Divin in Granby and St. Mary’s Seminary at Techny before completing his theological studies at Sankt Augustin Seminary in Germany. During the summers of the early 1960s, he studied French literature in Paris. In 1964, he returned to Granby and was ordained to the priesthood.
After ordination, he began working on his master’s degree in Comparative French-English Literature at Laval University in Québec City. Simultaneously, he served as prefect of the Divine Word seminarians at Cégep de Sainte-Foy, a college in a suburb of Québec City.
In 1968, he was assigned prefect and teacher at the Divine Word Seminary at Granby while studying for another master’s degree. After completing a graduate degree in Pastoral Theology from Sherbrooke University in Sherbrooke, Québec, he served as school director and rector at Granby for six years.
In 1982, he was sent to Ascension parish in Mexico City. As a missionary in Mexico, he also was prefect of seminarians in Guadalajara and provincial superior of the Mexico/Nicaragua/Cuba Province.
In 1988, Divine Word delegates elected him to the General Council in Rome, where he served a six-year term. In 1992, he was named vice superior general for the Society of the Divine Word. During his final seven years in Italy, he was rector of the Divine Word house of studies in Nemi.
In 2001, he returned to Canada to work at the Biblical Center at Granby and assist at seven Unité des vignes parishes in the Cowansville area. At the behest of the bishop, he also served on the Saint-Hyacinthe diocesan council for ecumenism.
Father Allard is survived by one brother, Denis Allard, and two sisters, Thérèse Forand and Monique Barsalou. His viewing began on July 18 in Granby, followed by his funeral on July 19 at Immaculée-Conception Church, where Most Rev. Christian Rodembourg, bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe, presided. Father Allard’s ashes will be interned at Monsignor Pelletier Cemetery in Granby, Canada.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in the name of Father Michael Allard. Gifts from Canada may be sent to The Rector, Residence Verbe Divin, 1019 Cowie, Granby, PQ J2J 0J2, Canada. Gifts from the United States can be mailed to The Rector, Divine Word Residence, P.O. Box 6000, Techny, IL 60082-6000, United States.