Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 20, 1878
Place of BirthLoc-maria, Canton of St. Renan, Finistère
Marital StatusSingle
Trade / CallingCatholic Priest
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number1556
Service RecordSee image at right
Battalion144th Battalion
ForceFrench Army
BranchFrench Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentOctober 31, 1916
Age at Enlistment38
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death19610915
Age at Death82
Buried AtSt. Boniface Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
PlotOblate Fathers' plot

Costiou, Francois Marie

Father François Marie Costiou, OMI, was born in France and living in Canada when the war started. He returned to France in the fall of 1916 and served in the French Army until February 1919.

François was the son of Charles Costiou and Jeanne Lusson of Loc-maria, Canton of St. Renan, Finistère, France. He was born on 20 September 1878 in Loc-maria, which is located on the western tip of Brittany. As a young man he entered the priesthood, taking his first vows in 1899 and getting ordained as a priest in 1902 in Liège, Belgium.

François immigrated to Canada in 1904, arriving in New York from Le Havre, France on 8 October on La Touraine. He was travelling with several other priests and his destination was Winnipeg, Manitoba. During the next year he spent some time doing missionary work in Marieval, Saskatchewan and Camperville, Manitoba. In November 1905 he was sent to Kenora, Ontario where he served the Notre Dame du Portage parish for three years.

In August 1908 François moved to St. Mary’s parish in Fort Frances. In 1912 he was involved in organizing the Children’s Aid Society in the Rainy River district and he served on the executive board. By the fall of 1916 the war was in its third year and François decided to return to France to serve his country. He left Fort Frances around 8 October and a farewell banquet was held for him at St. Mary’s School, as noted in the Kenora Miner and News. By the end of the month he was back in France.

François enlisted at a recruitment centre in Bordeaux on 31 October 1916 and he was assigned to the 144th Infantry Regiment, reg. no. 1556. He served with the French army until his demobilization on 26 February 1919, when he was given indefinite leave for health reasons. His intended address was on Rue Demours in Paris. He was awarded the 1914-1918 Commemorative war medal. He returned to Canada that summer, sailing from Le Havre on 7 June on the SS Espagne and arriving in New York nine days later. His destination was St. Boniface, Manitoba.

Shortly after returning to Canada François was posted to the mission at International Falls, Minnesota. He did missionary work in northern Minnesota for the next 25 years. In the late 1930s he moved to the town of Northome, which was about 100 km southwest of International Falls. In 1944 he left Minnesota for health reasons and spent about thirteen years serving in St. Augustine, Florida. He retired in 1957 and returned to St. Boniface, Manitoba.

François passed away in Taché Hospital on 15 September 1961, five days before his 83rd birthday. His funeral was held two days later and he was buried in the Oblate Fathers’ Cemetery, located at the corner of Provencher and Des Meurons in St. Boniface. In the fall of 2015 the graves in this cemetery were exhumed and the remains were cremated and moved to St. Boniface Cemetery on Archibald Street. A stone monument was erected in St. Boniface Cemetery listing the names of the Oblate priests who were re-interred there.

By Becky Johnson

Costiou-Francois-90 Costiou-Francois-91 Costiou-Francois-92 Costiou-Francois-93 Costiou-Francois-94 Costiou-Francois-95

Service record provided by Joël Flottatt, France.

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