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Father Jacob Etienne Guiste was born in the village of Petite Savanne, in the parish of St. Patrick, Grand Bay, on the 26th of November 1930. He was the son of Thomas and Anastasie Guiste.

As a young teen, he was appointed a teacher at the Petite Savanne Primary School and was also an active member of the scout troop among other activities. The then parish priest Fr. Stanislaus Remaud FMI, noticing his apostolic zeal, encouraged him to pursue his academic studies before asking to join the FMI congregation. For a few years Etienne studied in seminaries in Canada and the United States to complete the cycle of philosophy. In 1962-63, he lived in the FMI Novitiate in France and made his first vows in the FMI Congregation on 21st September 1963. Then followed four years of theology at the major FMI seminary called Scolasticate.

He returned to Dominica where he was ordained to the priesthood on July 11, 1967 in the church of St. Patrick in Grand Bay by Bishop Arnold Boghaert. He pronounced his perpetual vows on 20th September 1968. (It was an exception to make perpetual vows after ordination.)

He ministered in several parishes in the Diocese of Roseau: parish priest of Portsmouth from 1967 -1970, parish priest of Grand Bay 1970-1972, parish priest of La Plaine and Wesley 1973, parish priest of Vieille Case 1974-1975, parish priest of Salybia 1975-1977. He was transferred to St. Lucia where he served from 1977 to 2003 and was appreciated and loved for his apostolic zeal and his spirit of availability, especially at the Cathedral parish of Castries. He reflected the spirit of the Incarnate Word who came not to be served but to serve.

Fr. Guiste returned to Dominica where he served in Vieille Case from 2003 to 2010 at which point he retired and lived with the small FMI community in Rosalie. He was a precious helper for the Masses in the parish of St. Francis Xavier, La Plaine.

Many parishioners spontaneously called him Tonton (Uncle), a named given to him during his novitiate, since he was older than the other novices.

(Eulogy taken from funeral programme)

Message from Bishop Gabriel Malzaire on Fr. Guiste's funeral "I take this opportunity to extend condolences to all bereaved. The passing of a loved one always brings a level of sadness and a feeling of loss to all those who are left to morn.

"However, our Christian faith assures us that death is not the end. In fact, it is the beginning of one's eternity the purpose of which we were created. It is with this confidence that we give thanks to God for the life and faithful service of Fr. Guiste in the Lord's vineyard.

"I regret not being able to be present at this farewell ceremony. However, my prayers of comfort and consolation are with the family and friends of Fr. Guiste and the FMI clergy. May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace.

Gabriel Malzaire, Bishop of Roseau".

Note: His Eminence Cardinal Kelvin Felix who was the main celebrant at the funeral mass of the Late Fr. Jacob Etienne Guiste along with several local priests and deacons. They were also joined by a number of priests from St. Lucia where Fr. Guiste worked for many years. Fr. Guiste was laid to rest at the Grand Bay Roman Catholic cemetery.


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