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The 2004 Order of P.E.I. recipients
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The 2004 Order of P.E.I. recipients

CBC News Online | Oct. 7, 2004

Father Francis BolgerIsland historian Father Francis Bolger

"It's the god-given right of every Islander to know the business of every other Islander."

Those are just some of the words that Father Francis Bolger is known for.

He is one of the best known of the Island's historians, and his U.P.E.I. courses on the subject have left generations smiling and enlightened about the place we call home.

Father Francis BolgerHe's spent his life contributing to the academic and spiritual life of the Island. His impressive record of public service has been recognized with many awards from Islander of the Year to the Order of Canada.

Father Bolger's teaching style drew students to him, presented with humour and always showing respect for the unique people and places of the province.

His publications have also proved valuable outside of the university. P.E.I. and Confederation and Canada's Smallest Province have been used in classrooms across the province.

Father Francis BolgerFather Bolger began teaching at St. Dunstan's University in 1959, and moved to the University of Prince Edward Island in 1969. He continued to teach history at the school until 1994, and serves to this day as professor emeritus for the history department.

He was born in Stanley Bridge and was ordained by the Roman Catholic church in 1951.


Barb McNeillBarb McNeill

Barb McNeill has been treading water all her life. Or perhaps it's better to say treading water is her life. She has used a lifelong love of swimming to inspire young people, and used her accomplishments as a base for a number of volunteer efforts on P.E.I.

In 1989, McNeill became just the 15th person - and the first Atlantic Canadian - to swim the English Channel. She also swam the Northumberland Strait in 1986, and again in 1987.

arb McNeillHer work outside of the pool is equally impressive. She has been a director of P.E.I. Special Olympics, a member of the P.E.I. division of the Red Cross, and has helped manage the province's Canada Games Team.

McNeill has even ventured into the world of politics, serving as a councillor for the Village of Sherbrooke.

She also donated a kidney to her brother, Allan, an experience which led to work with the Kidney Foundation.

Barb McNeillMcNeill continues to stay involved in the sport of swimming, and works with recreation groups across the Island to promote healthy living.

She currently manages the pool in Summerside.


Father Eloi ArsenaultFather Eloi Arsenault

He laughs when he recalls how people have called him the "rebel" priest. However, Fr. Arsenault has proved that his duties as priest are only part of a person who has helped grow Acadian culture across P.E.I.

He is more comfortable in his jeans than the black trousers and priest's collar that most of his colleagues wear. However, he thinks it makes him less intimidating, and helps people open up when they talk to him.

Father Eloi ArsenaultFr. Arsenault also thinks he, and other priests, should be allowed to marry.

In 1986 he brought the co-op funeral business to Atlantic Canada, it allows Islanders to purchase burial services at lower rates than the traditional funeral homes.

Fr. Arsenault has been the priest at Saint-Phillipe and Saint-Jacques church in Egmont Bay since 1989. Before that he spent four years at a church in Mont Carmel, and drove to neighbouring communities to say mass in French, for many residents of western P.E.I. it was the first time they participated in mass in their first language.

Father Eloi ArsenaultHe's an ardent supporter of Acadian culture, and plays organ, guitar, mouth organ and recently learned to play the fiddle too. If you're in western P.E.I. in the summer you may just see him on stage acting in community theatre productions.

And Fr. Arsenualt also started the first western P.E.I. chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous, he also helped a number of other community programs serve French speaking Islanders.

He is the official representative of Island Acadians on the board of the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation.


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Laura Meader profiles Island historian Father Francis Bolger.
(runs 5:57) Click to watch RealVideo file

Laura Meader profiles Order of P.E.I. recipient Barb McNeill of Summerside.(runs 6:27) Click to watch RealVideo file

Laura Meader begins a series profiling the 2004 Order of P.E.I. recipients with a look at Egmont Bay's Father Eloi Arsenault.
(runs 3:57) Click to watch RealVideo file

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