Remembering Sébastien Ritchot

Donovan Martin ’22 and Bara Bashir ’22

Chief Editor and Contributor

With great sadness, The Crusader News mourns the passing of Sébastien Brian D’Artagnon Ritchot. On November 23, 2021, Sébastien died in the Health Sciences Centre at the young age of 17 due to injuries sustained from a car crash. Sébastien was an incredible student. He was on the gold honour roll and studied diligently to pursue his dream of being a surgeon. Not only did he excel in biology, chemistry, and physics, he was a formidable French speaker.

He was a Francophone and took Advanced French at St. Paul’s. His teacher, M. Ray Comeault, shared that “Sébastien was an old soul — he was intellectual and worked hard. He touched so many around him.” Sébastien was involved in the religious community of St. Paul’s. He served as a member of the Student Pastoral Committee and the Maroon & White Society, where he was Deputy Mass Coordinator.

Sébastien worked closely with Fr. Boutilier S.J. to organize mass set-ups, tear-downs, and to arrange all the members and volunteers for liturgies. Hans Alday ’22, the 2021 Mass Coordinator, shared that, “Sébastien was committed to being a man for and with others. He would drop whatever he was doing to be of service to someone. As his partner for Mass Coordination, I could see that whenever he was serving others, he would do so with selflessness, passion, determination, and abundant love.”

Outside of school, Sébastien was an avid angler. With his mother, he fished not only Manitoban lakes, rivers, and lagoons, but in Costa Rica, Florida, and Hawaii. Sébastien was also an exceptional gardener, growing crops in the warmer months and a variety of indoor plants all year round. Sébastien loved bingo as well. He played at the St. Peter and Paul’s Bingo Hall and was beloved by the organizers.

Sébastien also volunteered to clean up after bingo matches, sweeping up papers and other pieces of garbage after matches. Sébastien worked at Canadian Tire as a customer service representative. Despite the complaints of customers often being bizarre, ridiculous, or even impossible, Sébastien always figured out how to deal with them. His staff admired this professionalism, but also the geniality he showed to them. Sébastien assumed a leadership role at the store, serving as a mentor.

Courage is a characteristic we all seek. It gives us comfort in our times of weakness, it shields us from the agony of doubt, and it satiates the hunger of our hearts to be the best versions of ourselves. Our late Sébastien was a beacon of courage – not the kind found in the hearts of warring men, but rather the kind found at the heart of brotherhood and kinship. He knew how to wield courage, not for himself, but in the service of others, a truly admirable feat of grandeur. Sébastien toiled to expand his knowledge, fashioning a stool on which he might sit amongst the humble of thought. He crafted a vision that, without fail, inspired his hopes and goals. He honed a powerful degree of discipline, exemplifying a strength of character found in very few.

Sébastien was an inspiring young man whose kindness, modesty, strength and wisdom continues to nurture our community today. Sébastien espoused a dream: to work, labour and sweat, bend but never submit to the tyranny of tears should we be blessed with a tongue and voice capable of singing the songs of victory. Every person at St. Paul’s High School, student and staff, has been positively influenced by Sébastien.

He was a remarkable student, providing profound insight in class. He helped organize and set up numerous masses. And he was a friend — a studious, caring, hilarious, courageous friend.

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