Vital Justin Grandin was born at St. Pierre de la Cour, France, on February 8, 1829. He was ordained priest of the Order of Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate on April 23, 1854. Following his ordination, he was sent to Canada and served the Métis settlement at St. Boniface, Manitoba.
On December 11, 1857, he was appointed coadjutor Bishop to His Grace Alexandre-Antonin Taché, however his formal consecration took place nearly two years after, on November 30, 1859, by the Founder of the Oblates, now known as St. Eugene de Mazenod. On September 1871 he was appointed the first Bishop of the newly erected diocese of St. Albert, by letter of Pope Pius IX.
Through his dauntless spirit and self-sacrifice he was instrumental in the establishment of the Catholic Church in Western Canada. He died as Bishop of Saint Albert, on June 03, 1902, and will be remembered as the Missionary Bishop. In 1966, his humble and saintly virtues were acknowledged when he was declared Venerable.
The Bishop's Coat of Arms
Heraldry originated about a thousand years ago in Europe, where it was used by the warrior classes as a means of differentiating combatants on the field of battle. As Europe developed and the feudal warrior class disappeared, the practice of identifying one's possessions with personal emblems flourished. Ecclesiastical heraldry grew out of this practice, initially to differentiate between the various degrees of the clerical estate. The Pope and most bishops adopt a personal coat of arms, which today is used primarily to identify communications from their particular office.
The right half of the shield shows the cross of the Calvary with the crown of thorns, the stick with the sponge on its left, the lance on its right. The cross surrounded with rays of light is fixed in the soil with props on either side. Below the knoll can be seen the letters OMI with the cross surmounting the M. The left half of the shield represents a feeble reed inclined toward the cross.
Infirma mundi elegit Deus