Gilles was born in Valleyfield on August 5, 1925. He entered the Jesuit novitiate on August 14, 1945 and was ordained to the priesthood on July 21, 1955. Four years later, he completed a doctorate in theology at the Gregorian University in Rome. Beginning in 1960 he taught for ten years in the Jesuit Faculties of Montreal and served as guest professor for several Canadian universities. In 1970, he became a professor at Laval University, a position which he held for 25 years.
From 1995 to 2000, Fr. Langevin was consulting theologian to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. He was also a member of the International Theological Commission, of the Pontifical Council on Culture, and of the Commission on the Cultural Heritage of the Church. Throughout his career, he was interested in Christology, Ecumenism and the relationship between faith and culture. For thirty years, he directed the scientific periodical Science et Esprit, which is distributed internationally. He also served as advisor on some 150 religious programs for Radio-Canada.
When he received the medal of the National Order of Quebec in 2001 from Premier Bernard Landry, an emphasis was put on his “scientific leadership”, which contributed to the renown of the FTSR.Here is an extract from what was said about him by Présence information religieuse.
For many students, Professor Gilles Langevin was a teacher, says Professor Gilles Routhier, current Dean of the Faculty of Theology and of Religious Studies (FTSR) at Laval University. Reserved and modest, he knew how to take beginners in theology and lead them, with gentle tact, to contemplate the mystery of God who reveals himself the same way, addressing human beings, as the Constitution Dei Verbum says, as friends, inviting them to enter into communion with him.”
“He not only related to us the same way as God addresses humanity, but he also took on this approach himself; he made it his rule of life, says the Vatican II expert. Passionate about ecumenism, he made dialogue a way of doing theology.”
Here is Gilles Mongeau, S.J.’s tribute to him which he gave as part of his homily during the funeral.