Quebec 1886 Cardinal Taschereau 38.6mm White Metal Medal Leroux 1140
Elzéar-Alexandre Taschereau (February 17, 1820 – April 12, 1898) was a Canadian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Quebec from 1871 until his death in 1898. The first Canadian cardinal, he was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Leo XIII in 1886.
One of seven children, Elzéar-Alexandre Taschereau was born in Sainte-Marie-de-la-Beauce, Quebec, to Jean-Thomas Taschereau and Marie Panet. His father was a judge of the Cour du banc du Roi, and his mother was the daughter of Jean-Antoine Panet, the first Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada. His older brother, Jean-Thomas, was later a Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court. His great-uncle was Bernard-Claude Panet, who also served as Archbishop of Quebec (1825–1833).
Taschereau studied at the Seminary of Quebec from 1828 to 1836, and then traveled for a year to Great Britain, the Low Countries, France, and Italy. While in Rome, he received the tonsure on May 20, 1837, and his friendship with Dom Prosper Guéranger, O.S.B., led him to seriously consider joining the Benedictines. Instead he continued his studies and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Quebec on 10 September 1842.
Taschereau obtained a doctorate in Canon law in Rome in 1856 and had a dual career in teaching and pastoral care. He served as a teacher, director, prefect of studies and Superior at the Seminary where he himself had studied for ordination. He helped found the Université Laval in 1852 and served as its second Rector (1860–66, 1869–71). He remained on the staff of the Seminary until his consecration as the Archbishop of Quebec on 19 March 1871.
At the urging of the Canadian government and many of the faithful, in 1886 Pope Leo XIII made Taschereau Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome, the first from Canada. He was not able to stay in his post as archbishop for long, however, as illness forced him to turn over his workload to Mgr. Louis-Nazaire Bégin, who was named as his Coadjutor Archbishop in 1892. Cardinal Taschereau died in Quebec City on April 12, 1898.