Joseph-Arsène Richard was born on September 19, 1859 in Saint-Liguori-de-Montcalm. Of Acadian descent, he is the fourth in a family of 11 children, including 4 girls who decided to become nuns. He studied at Collège l’Assomption and then at Collège de Joliette, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He was ordained as a priest on March 17, 1889.
First, he became Saint-Barthélemy's assistant priest, and then the same at Saint-Paul-l’Ermite in 1891 and at Saint-Enfant-Jésus in 1897, before becoming parish priest at Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs, starting in 1899. Mgr. Richard played a key role in the expansion of the municipality of Verdun. He was involved in a number of projects, including the establishment of Christ-Roy Hospital, which was later named the Verdun Hospital. Mgr. Richard died on June 17, 1945, at the age of 86.