WESTON, MASS. — The Rev. Richard D. Bertrand, S.J., 69, who after a long illness was called home by the Lord on Monday, Sept. 11, died peacefully at the Campion Center in Weston, Mass.
Richard Bertrand was born Nov. 28, 1947, in Biddeford. He and his sister Susan were the children of Lucien and Gertrude (Archambault) Bertrand. He attended parish schools and graduated from St. Louis High School in Biddeford in 1966.
He entered Shadowbrook, the novitiate of the New England Province, in Lenox, Mass., on July 30, 1966, and took first vows two years later. From 1968 to 1971 he did collegian and philosophy studies at Boston College and was then assigned to Seattle Prep, where he taught French and English for two years. He returned to B.C. in 1972, for a year of graduate studies in French literature. Two more years of high school work followed: the first teaching French at Boston College High School and the second teaching English and art at École Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague in Paris.
From 1975 to 1978, he studied theology at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass. He then taught French and Spanish and chaired the modern languages department at Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River, Mass., for four years. He was ordained a priest in Fall River on Nov. 10, 1979. He spent the academic year of 1982-83 at Fordham University in the Commission on Research and Development Program for Jesuit high-school administrators.
In 1983, he returned to Maine and began his long association with Cheverus High School and Maine parishes, where he was to spend most of the remainder of his life. From 1983 to 1987 he was at Cheverus as assistant principal and then as principal. In 1988 and ’89 he did his final year of Jesuit training in Quebec. This was followed by a five-year stint at Fairfield College Prep School in Connecticut where he served first in admissions and then as school chaplain.
In 1994 he returned to Maine where he served as pastor or parochial vicar in several locations during a period when the diocese was consolidating and merging multiple parishes: St. Louis in Auburn and St. Mary’s in Lewiston from 1994 to 1998; St. Edmund in Westbrook from 1998 to 2003; and Sacred Heart/St. Dominic, to which were added St. Pius X and St. Patrick in Portland, where he ministered to Spanish and French-African communities from 2003 to 2010. In 2010, he moved to St. Ignatius Residence at Cheverus High School in Portland, where he served as parochial vicar at St. Joseph, St. Patrick, and St. Pius X parishes, which merged to form Our Lady of Hope Parish in 2011.
In the past year he was diagnosed with cancer. He went to the Campion Center for a period of treatments in Boston. Despite the exhausting regimen, he returned to minister at Our Lady of Hope Parish. In the late summer of 2017 he was finally persuaded to move permanently to Campion Center where, after a brief but determined struggle, he died surrounded by his Jesuit Brothers.
In addition to his gift for languages, Fr. Bertrand had a strong commitment to the social gospel with a special focus on the poor, the immigrant and the refugee.
Fr. Bertrand S.J. was predeceased by his parents; dear aunts; uncles; and cherished cousins.
In addition to his Jesuit Brothers he is survived by a sister, Susan Bertrand Tourigny and her husband, Bruce A. Tourigny, of Biddeford; a nephew, Joel M. Tourigny and his wife, Brittaney, and their daughter, Kharis, of Edmond, Okla.; a niece, Danielle R. Tourigny and her partner, Kelly Ward, of Portland; cousins, Lucille Lagueux, Janine Parker, Elaine Compagna, Norman Lewis, Jane Petschek and their families.
To view Father Bertrand’s memorial page, or to share an online condolence, please visit www.ConroyTullyWalker.com.
Richard D. Bertrand, S.J.