A person who tells anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way; a storyteller; a narrator
Unlike most of our subjects, Fr. Floyd Calais's book was written not as a family heirloom, but as a community heirloom that will inform and inspire those who love him and whose lives he has touched for years to come.
Floyd, nicknamed “Flo,” was born in rural Cecilia, Louisiana in 1926, the only child of hardworking farmers. He grew up speaking French, and his parents’ home didn’t have electricity, water, or indoor plumbing until Flo was in high school. Flo’s father loved to play pranks, and Flo was a “canaille” (French for mischievous) boy as well. When his parents gifted him with a new bike, he eventually mastered riding it backward!
Teen and Young Adult Life
Because of his parents’ faith and the influence of the local priest, his mentor Fr. Braquet, Flo decided to pursue the priesthood. He finished high school while attending seminary. He never lost his “canaille” side, continuing to pull pranks even while in seminary. All the while, he studied hard and completed six years of seminary. He became an ordained priest in 1950, and his first blessings were for his parents.
In the early years after his ordination, Fr. Calais served in New Iberia under Monsignor Bacque, from whom he learned about being a caring priest. He went door-to-door in New Iberia, determined to get to know the people of the parish. Because of his young age, he connected with teenagers, many of whom came to church due to his ministry. His skill in riding a bike backward served him well, as he used this skill to get people’s attention.
The next parish he served in was in Lafayette, followed by a time as a chaplain at the local hospital. During these early years, he ministered and gave last rites to many patients in the hospital. He was inspired and touched by hearing from his best friend, another priest, who was caring for the spiritual needs of a young patient named Charlene Richard. After she passed away, Fr. Calais prayed to her for intercession, and his devotion to Charlene became an integral part of his ministry.
As he continued in his priesthood, Fr. Calais served as the pastor of four parishes, starting at St. Edward Church in Richard, Louisiana, before moving to St. Theresa Church in Abbeville and then St. Genevieve and Holy Cross in Lafayette. While serving the people of Richard, where Charlene was buried, he requested and was blessed to receive her intercession on many occasions. He also oversaw the construction of a new St. Edward Church in Richard, as well as a new St. Theresa Church in Abbeville and expansions at Holy Cross Church. He always made it a priority to visit the homes in his parish, taking time to talk to and minister to people individually.
Since retiring in 1994, Fr. Calais has continued to give missions and fill in for pastors who are temporarily away from their parishes. In 2020, he celebrated 70 years as an ordained priest. Even though he is now in his 90s, he continues to serve by taking people to pray at Charlene's grave, hearing confessions, and visiting and anointing the sick. His ministry has impacted and blessed multiple generations of many families throughout Acadiana.