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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
The Oratory Museum is proud to take part in the exhibition Italian Montréal at the Pointe-à-Callière Museum in Montreal. Eleven works from our collection, by artists of Italian origin established in Quebec such as Joseph Guardo, Guido Nincheri, T. Carli and E. Dini & Cie are presented. Here is a glimpse of what you can see between now and January 9, 2022.
On December 8, 2020, Pope Francis invited us to a year dedicated to Saint Joseph.
We were astonished to discover, while browsing through the Annales de l’Oratoire Saint-Joseph that the year 1921 had also been consecrated to Saint Joseph by Pope Benedict XV. One hundred years to the day from the call of Pope Francis.
January 6, 2021 marks the 84th anniversary of the death of Saint Brother André (January 6, 1937).
In the days – if not hours – following Brother André’s death, a significant amount of letters, telegrams and cards of sympathy arrived at the monastery’s post office. A brief inventory of this correspondence is made in the wake of the opening of the trial for Brother André’s canonization in 1940, and lists more than 700 letters of sympathy.
The Archbishops of Montreal had a role to play throughout the steps leading up to the canonization of Saint Brother André. Some were prominent players while others were more discreet. Here is an outline of the history of their participation in the canonization.
That’s it, fall is already well established. Due to the closing of the museums, I invite you in this blog to discover our heritage in a completely different way. Let’s get outside the walls of the Oratory and discover a place out of the ordinary in the great outdoors.