AUBURN — At the Maine Franco-American Genealogical Society’s new headquarters at the Fortin Group Funeral Home, a room has been dedicated in the memory of Rev. Father Youville F. Labonte.
A New Auburn native, Labonte of the African Missionaries (the former White Fathers of Africa) died at the African Missionaries Residence in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Nov. 8, 2011. He was 86. He is interred at the Calvary Catholic Cemetery in St. Petersburg.
Labonte knew in his early childhood years he wanted to be a missionary priest in the White Fathers Order. He pursued these studies and was ordained in 1952. He spent the next 19 years in missionary work in Africa and returned to Auburn in 1971 looking to serve in the Portland Diocese.
At that time, Auxiliary Bishop Edward C. O’Leary granted Father Labonte’s request and assigned him to serve at St. Hyacinthe Church in Westbrook and Sacred Heart Church in Auburn. He later retired at the African Missionaries Residence.
Labonte was a charter member and life-long member of MFGS and ardent supporter of the society. During his clergy service in the Maine Diocese, he authored many books and has donated his sizable collection to the society, which now has his books on the library shelves in the room dedicated to him