Fournier, Pearl (1907-82)

Pearl Fournier (née Kemp) was the main organizer and first president of the Saskatchewan branch of the national organization, Fédération des Femmes Canadiennes-Françaises. Born on April 26, 1907, in Montebello, Quebec, Pearl Miella Kemp was educated at a convent in Montreal before attending Normal School. Recruited by the Association Catholique Franco-Canadienne de la Saskatchewan, she attended Regina Normal School to obtain her provincial teaching certificate, and accepted a position at Ferland in June 1929. On New Year’s day in 1930 she married local homesteader Aristide Fournier. During the 1930s, while raising a family of eight, she helped her husband operate a post office and a small store. In the mid-1960s, in the wake of the upheaval caused by Vatican II, she founded a parish-based women’s organization, the Fédération des Franco-Canadiennes, in the Catholic diocese of Gravelbourg, and sought affiliation with a national group, the Fédération des Femmes Canadiennes-Françaises. Its mandate was to help French-speaking Catholic women play a more active role in preserving their religious, linguistic, and cultural values. Fournier was soon named regional president of the national federation, and went on to organize a large number of local branches in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, and British Columbia. She died on January 6, 1982.

Richard Lapointe

Further Reading

Lapointe, Richard. 1988. “Pearl Fournier.” Pp. 163-68 in 100 noms: Petit dictionnaire biographique des Franco-Canadiens de la Saskatchewan. Regina: Société historique.