Born on April 4, 1893 in
St-Remi-de-Napierville, son of a farmer father of 15 children, he
received his primary education in his native parish (1898-1906), his
Latin and Elements of Syntax classes in St-Remi Commercial College
(1906-1908), continued his studies at the Seminary of Joliette
(1908-1914), joined the Sulpicians in September 1914 and did his
theology at the Major Seminary of Montreal (1914-1917). Ordained on
July 15, 1917 in St-Jean-Baptiste Church in Montreal by Most Rev.
Bruchési, Archbishop of that city, he was sent to study in Rome,
where he resided at the Canadian College and obtained a doctorate in
philosophy from the Angelicum (Pontifical University of St. Thomas
Aquinas) in 1919. He then made his Solitude
in Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris. Appointed on his return in 1920
professor at the Major Seminary of Montreal, he taught Dogmatic
Theology (1920-1927), the Liturgy (1920-1923), and Church History
(1924-1927). He was only 34 years old when he was appointed Rector in
1927 (the first Canadian Sulpician to assume this position), while
teaching Pastoral Theology and Ascetic and Mystic Theology. In 1931 he
was charged with the reorganization of the Faculty of Theology at the
University of Montreal, which was located in the seminary and of which
he was also the dean, and which, thanks to him, became the first in
Canada to be approved according to the Constitution Deus Scientiarum
Dominus, published in 1931. He was also, from 1931 to 1933, one of four
consultors of the Sulpician Canadian Province, was active during this
period in the Social Weeks, and preached many retreats.
Elected on July 21, 1933 (and announced on the 25th
Archbishop of Arcadiopolis in Europe and coadjutor with eventual
succession of St. Boniface, he was consecrated on September 21 in the
Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal by H. Exc. Gauthier, Titular
Archbishop of Taron and Coadjutor of Montreal, assisted by H. Exc.
Papineau, Bishop of Joliette, and H. Exc. Charlebois, Titular Bishop of
Berenice and Apostolic Vicar of Keewatin. Suffering from a kidney
disease, he had to spend the winter of 1939 in Rome, seeking a milder
climate, and submitted his resignation (which he had already proposed
to Rome since 1938) on May 24, 1941. Retired at the Hotel-Dieu of
Montreal, where many important people would seek his advice, he died
there on December 21, 1947. His funeral was celebrated by Most Rev.
Charbonneau, Archbishop of Montreal, and he was buried in the crypt of
the chapel of the Major Seminary of Montreal.
Intellectual (he was awarded the Prince of Wales Award at the end of
his classical studies), excellent theologian, informed teacher, sought
preacher, he undertook, upon his arrival on October 18, 1933 to St.
Boniface, whose bishop, Most Rev. Béliveau, was seriously ill,
to visit the diocese and restore its finances; he founded the Priests’
Days to stimulate the spiritual life of priests, and established an
ecclesiastical society to arrange their material life. He was
interested in the adaptation of religious communities to contemporary
pastoral needs, organized the Catholic Action and Cooperative
movements, encouraged Catholic workers’ unions, and set up a diocesan
program of catechetical instruction. His brother, Gérard, was
also part of the Society of St. Sulpice, and he had two sisters in the
Congregation of the Sisters of St. Anne. He was the cousin of Most Rev.
Charbonneau, Archbishop of Montreal, whose mother belonged to the Yelle
Motto: Peter meus agricola
Coat of Arms: ARC 290
Iconography: ARC 290
- La situation des Manitobains de
langue française: mémoire de Son Excellence
MgrÉmile Yelle, arch.-coadj. de St-Boniface. St-Boniface,
- Mes ordinations.
Sources : ADB /5,
530; AP (1947); CE (1934) 30-31, (1941), (1949) 41-44; CHA 71; EEC
142-143; PSS 398-401; Les Cloches de
(1933) 145-148, 193-211, 217-229.
- Souvenir des fêtes de la
épiscopale de Son Excellence Monseigneur Émile Yelle,
PSS.. le 21 septembre 1933... et de son arrivée à
St-Boniface... le 18 octobre 1933. St-Boniface, 1934.
This English translation by the Workgroup "Communications" of the Province
of Canada of the Priests of Saint Sulpice is published with the kind authorization of the
Wilson & Lafleur
House, of November
25, 2010. It is taken from: Jean LeBlanc, Dictionnaire
biographique des évêques catholiques du Canada : les
catholiques canadiens des Églises latine et orientales et leurs
: repères chronologiques et biographiques 1658-2002,
2002, 881 p.