The 13th of 15 children, Denis Hebert was born to Rosaire and Marie Hebert July 21 1930 in Villeneuve Alberta. After spending his childhood in the small farming community, Denis felt called to God at a young age while working within the Archdiocese under the guidance of long-time family friend Fr. Emile Briere. His ambitions led him to enter St. Joseph’s seminary in 1952.
Ordained a priest in March of 1958, Father served in several parishes in and around the Archdiocese of Edmonton before being appointed to a parish in Lima, Peru in June 1969. His work in Lima was to develop a pastoral program in “Christ the Light of the World” parish, and the goal of this mission was to strengthen the Christian communities in that area. Father’s preparation soon proved to be an ineffective cushion for the shock of daily living in these third world shantytowns; an experience that soon erased his youthful naivety. Father success in Lima marked the beginning of his lifelong mission in the third world. His dedicated vision of improving the spiritual, human and economic conditions of people in developing Latin American nations continues to fuel his journey today.
Father spent the next 7 years in Peru before moving to Panama City where he worked alongside Father Joe McGuckin in administration and some field work by visiting cooperatives with the Inter-American Cooperative Institute (ICI). Fifteen months later, he was working with a Scarboro Missions team on the Caribbean Island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where he spent 8 years in the Parish of Layou.
In July 1986, he returned to Peru and spent 2 years at the “St. Joseph the Worker” parish, yet his renewed vision was to improve social development with a group of young people and adults in the town of Chiclayo along with Scarboro missions.
In 1990, Father relocated to Managua, Nicaragua to develop a Social Pastoral program among worker-enterprises and farming communities in the Somotillo region. Father Denis Hebert continues to reside in Managua where his dedicated vision of improving the spiritual, human and economic conditions of people in Latin America has inspired so many to become involved in the grassroots movement that he has created.