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Category: History

Saint Joseph at the cradle of Canadian history

It is recounted that during his expedition to the Hurons in 1615, Samuel de Champlain was accompanied by the Franciscan Recollet, Father Joseph Le Caron, who celebrated the first mass in Huron country on August 12, 1615 and named this first mission, at Quienonascaran, after Saint Joseph. In 1624 (around July 16 through August 15), Father Le Caron entrusted this new colony to the care of Saint Joseph as he wrote in his memoirs: “Sixteen hundred and twenty-four, we made a great solemnity…, by a vow we made to Saint Joseph whom we chose as the patron saint of the country and protector of this nascent Church.” (Annales de Saint Joseph, 13ème Année, Janvier 1924, p. 11).

Companion on the path of faith

Joseph welcomed God’s presence in his life. On his word, he committed himself to the Incarnation of his Son: the most unfathomable of mysteries. He accepted God’s plan without protest or question, and went ahead, happy to walk in the light because God was there.

The Traveling Tombstone of Blessed Basile Moreau

In the rear of the Basilica, in a small apsidal chapel, rests a remarkable and particularly precious object for the Congregation of Holy Cross: the original tombstone of its founder, Blessed Basile-Antoine-Marie Moreau. The story of its journey is relatively enigmatic.

Devotion to Saint Joseph: a Legacy of Blessed Basile-Antoine Moreau

By Gaël Jeannin

Archivist, Province canadienne de la congrégation de Sainte-Croix

March 6, 2023 Brother André, Faith, History, Religious Heritage, Saint Joseph

In 1904, Brother André Bessette, a Holy Cross religious, created a shrine to Saint Joseph in Montreal. Every March, the patron saint of the universal Church is celebrated there. Did you know that Blessed Basile-Antoine Moreau, who was born in the Sarthe department in France in 1799 and was the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, is considered one of the forerunners of devotion to Saint Joseph in the 19th century?

A roof for Saint Joseph

By David Bureau

Archivist, Roland-Gauthier Archive and Documentation Centre

November 7, 2022 History, Religious Heritage

The anecdote may make you smile, but the coincidence is quite singular. While the concrete for the roofs of the new reception pavilion has been poured for a few days, 85 years ago, almost to the day, the concrete for the Oratory’s dome was completed.

An Unsuspected Visual Treasure – Sequel

By Martin Brideau

Interim Archivist

September 15, 2022 History, Religious Heritage

The Roland Gauthier Archives and Documentation Centre has been able to continue a project to describe old photos thanks to a grant from Bibliothèques et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). This year, 1581 photos were added to the 844 photos processed in 2021.

These photos come from 18 series on the following themes: the opening of Brother André’s tomb, the Original Chapel at different periods, the phases of the construction of the Oratory, the construction of the loft organ, the installation of the Beckerath Organ and its concerts, special events in the Basilica, aerial views of the Oratory, and the Oratory’s religious.

This post presents my research process, some of my discoveries and my favorite.

The Research Collection of Father Roland Gauthier, CSC. The Work of a Lifetime.

By Marc-André Ouellette

Intern at the Roland Gauthier Archives and Documentation Centre

June 16, 2022 History, Saint Joseph

Every year, the Roland Gauthier Archives and Documentation Centre welcomes interns as part of their studies in archival science, library science or document management. It is with pleasure that we share with you the text of Marc-André Ouellette, our intern in 2022.

Family Stories

By Martin Brideau

Interim Archivist

March 11, 2022 History

Since I started working at the Oratory almost five years ago, one thing I have noticed is that for many people, pilgrims and employees alike, the Oratory is a family story. During our archival exhibitions, many people have approached us to tell us how their grandparents participated in the construction of the Oratory, how an elderly uncle was healed by Brother André, or their fond memories of visits with their parents in the 1950s.

In January, the Oratory is for engaged couples!

By David Bureau

Archivist, Roland-Gauthier Archive and Documentation Centre

January 28, 2022 History

We are sometimes asked if marriages have been celebrated at Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal. Because of its status in the Roman Catholic Church, the shrine cannot celebrate marriages. Thus, unlike the archives of a parish church, the shrine does not keep marriage records. But then, why do some people persist in claiming to know someone who was married at the Oratory?

International Recognition

By David Bureau

Archivist, Roland-Gauthier Archive and Documentation Centre

January 6, 2022 Brother André, History

It is sometimes disconcerting for researchers who frequent the shrine archives to note that Brother André’s name is rarely mentioned in the official publications of the Oratory. He does appear here and there, but only on very rare occasions and no article is specifically dedicated to him.

An Unsuspected Visual Treasure

By Martin Brideau

Interim Archivist

October 4, 2021 History, Religious Heritage

The Oratory’s archives contain a unique treasure: a collection of 10,000 photographs, taken mainly at the Oratory and dating from 1904 to 1980. Created by the religious of the Congregation of Holy Cross, as part of their duties at the shrine, this collection presents different aspects of the Oratory’s history: the evolution of the site, the life of Brother André, the employees, important visitors, small and large events, etc. These were subdivided into 307 thematic series a few decades ago.

Saint Joseph must be rejuvenated!

By David Bureau

Archivist, Roland-Gauthier Archive and Documentation Centre

September 3, 2021 History, Saint Joseph

A whole adventure was played out in the pages of the magazine L’Oratoire during the year 1954.

Appointed editor-in-chief of the publication in September 1953, Father Émile Legault, CSC, published an editorial in January 1954 in which he declared that “it is time, more than ever, for a crusade for the rejuvenation of Saint Joseph. Father Legault does not mince his words: speaking of a play he is composing on Saint Joseph1, he expresses the desire to “correct the adulterated image” of Joseph, an image inherited from the theatrical plays of the Middle Ages called the Mistères.2.