We all know that Father Pandosy established the first Oblate Mission that eventually gave rise to the City of Kelowna.
But how much do we really know about the man?
Edmond Rivère is a UBC Okanagan professor and a native of Marseilles, France.
When Rivère moved to Kelowna, he was struck by the coincidence that Pandosy was also a native of Marseilles, and so began his interest in this early Kelowna pioneer.
The result of his research is a new book titled Father Pandosy: Pioneer of Faith in the Northwest, published by Midtown Press of Vancouver.
Rivère researched Pandosy’s life from his time as a young Oblate in Marseille.
After a request from a Canadian bishop, Pandosy was sent to North America to provide missionary work to aboriginals and Europeans alike.
Pandosy met and worked with native societies as far south as Walla Walla and as far north as Prince George.
The author’s quest involved finding and reading the many letters that Pandosy wrote over the years.
Rivère even traveled back to France to monasteries that housed archives still preserving Pandosy’s letters.
Father Pandosy: Pioneer of Faith in the Northwest, chronicles Pandosy’s adventures.
From the eastern seaboard, Pandosy joined a wagon train and traveled west to the Oregon and Washington territories.
There, Pandosy became an advocate for the Yakima people. Something of a linguist, Pandosy developed the first rudimentary dictionary of the Yakima language and became fairly fluent in their language.
Pandosy also had a bit of rebelliousness in him.
His efforts to assist the aboriginal people in Oregon eventually led him to fleeing the U.S. military and traveling north to Canada and eventually to the Okanagan.
Once here, Pandosy endured many hardships, often with little support from his superiors, yet continued in his quest to offer assistance to his flock.
He developed strong friendships with the local aboriginal population.
Pandosy is credited with planting the first grape vines in the area, ostensibly for the wine used to minister to his followers.
Pandosy’s life reads like an adventure novel.
This historical narrative will take you from Pandosy’s early years in France, to his North American adventures and finally, to the end of his life on a frosty night in Penticton where he died in the home of Chief Francois.
It is an epic story, full of drama, hardship and the faith of one man. The book is available now at local bookstores.
The Kelowna Museums Society will be hosting a talk about Father Pandosy by Edmond Rivère on Wednesday, Dec. 5, from 7 to 8 p.m., at the Okanagan Heritage Museum. The public is invited to attend.