2017 portrait of Brother Irenee Richard. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Brother Irénée Richard, a longtime Lewiston native and parish deacon at the St. Martin de Porres Residence, is recovering from a stroke he suffered Saturday afternoon, just before he was to offer Mass at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

Richard was about to offer Mass when he collapsed to the ground just before 4 p.m., according to church officials.

The Mass was being livestreamed to the public at the time.

Richard was taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, where doctors said he had suffered a stroke and had a blood clot in his brain.

He was then taken by ambulance to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he was to have surgery.

Doctors, however, decided against performing surgery because Richard’s speech was becoming clearer. They said they thought Richard might be able to return to Lewiston this week for rehabilitation care.


Richard is the executive director of the Saint Martin de Porres Residence, a shelter he started in 1991 that helps those struggling with substance abuse, people evicted from residences and inmates released from incarceration and people suffering with mental illness. He is also the executive director of St. Catherine of Siena Residence, the women’s shelter in Lewiston which is a part of the Saint Martin de Porres Residence.

He said in a previous Sun Journal story the shelter has likely helped about 150 people a year, and nearly 4,000 people since it opened.

Richard was ordained in 2011 as a permanent deacon in the Dominican Order, nearly 50 years after he had joined.

A telephone call and an email to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland seeking further information was not returned.

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