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Our History

Our History

1850

The Bessette family moves to Farnham, Québec. Tragically, Isaac dies, crushed under an axed tree, February 20, 1855. His wife Clothilde dies on November 20, 1857.

Our History

OCTOBER 19, 1904

Blessing of an oratory (i.e., a small chapel) built by Brother André, with the help of Brother Abundius, CSC, and a few lay friends.

Our History

1908

Successive enlargements of the chapel in August and November

Our History

1909

Construction, next to the chapel, of a wooden building housing a lunchroom, a shop offering religious objects, a waiting room, and a small room that Brother André could use as an office.

Our History

1910

Chapel’s third expansion.

Our History

1912

Chapel’s fourth and final expansion. Inauguration of the first residence for Holy Cross priests and brothers.

Our History

1914

The authorities of the Congregation of Holy Cross approve the construction of what would become the future Basilica.

Our History

1915

The construction of the crypt church begins.

Our History

1917

Inauguration and blessing of the crypt church.

Our History

1918

Relocation of the small chapel from its original site.

Our History

AUGUST 31, 1924

Blessing of the basilica’s cornerstone before a crowd of approximately 35,000. Brother Andre celebrates the 50th Jubilee of his Final Vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross.

Our History

1926

Foundation work begins.

Our History

1930

Construction of the Basilica’s lower portion.

Our History

1931

Temporary shutdown of construction area due to the economic crisis.

Our History

JANUARY 06, 1937

Death of Brother André (born Alfred Bessette, August 9, 1845). For 6 days and nights, over 1 million people move past his open coffin.

APRIL 01, 1937

Construction work for the Basilica’s upper portion resumes.

Our History

AUGUST 01, 1941

Blessing of the cross crowning the basilica dome.

Our History

1946

Construction of the votive chapel and the alcove for Brother André’s tomb. Inauguration and blessing in March of 1950.

Our History

1954

Relocation of Brother Andre’s original chapel to a more elevated site on the mountain. November 21: celebration of the first Solemn Mass in the Basilica.

Our History

MARCH 19, 1955

Elevation of the Oratory to the rank of Minor Basilica. Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Brother André. Inauguration of the carillon.

Our History

1956

Official opening of the Basilica.

Our History

1960

Official introduction, in Rome, of Brother André’s cause for beatification. November 13: blessing of the Basilica’s Beckerath organ.

Our History

1967

Completion of the Basilica’s interior.

Our History

1979

Inauguration of the exterior lighting system on the occasion of the Oratory’s 75th anniversary.

Our History

1982

Beatification of Brother André by Pope John Paul II in Rome.

Our History

SEPTEMBER 11th, 1984

Visit of Pope John Paul II

Our History

2000

Celebration of the new millennium. Installation of a new lighting system for the interior of the Basilica.

Our History

2003

Unveiling of a major renovation plan for the entire property, so that it may be more accessible, more functional, safer and better suited to the needs of visitors and pilgrims.

Our History

OCTOBER 17, 2004

Consecration of the Basilica by Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte opening a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount-Royal.

Our History

OCTOBER 17, 2010

Canonization in Rome of Brother Andre by Pope Benedict XVI. The founder of Saint Joseph’s Oratory is officially recognized as Saint Andre Bessette.

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