Saturday, October 11, 2014

inSPIREd Sunday

September 2014 - Montreal Quebec

As I mentioned last week I grew up on Montreal and this was my favourite church.
Click on the links below for more Montreal photos.
Weekend Reflections
Travel Photo Thursday
Scavenger Hunt Sunday
Notre Dame Cathedral
Saturday Snapshot
Weekend Cooking

One of the oldest churches in Montreal, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel (chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, "Our Lady of Good Help") was built in 1771 over the ruins of an earlier chapel.

St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, the first teacher in the colony of Ville-Marie and the founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame, rallied the colonists to build a chapel in 1655. In 1673, returning from France, Bourgeoys brought a wooden image of Our Lady of Good Help; the stone church was completed in 1678. It burned in 1754, the reliquary and statue being rescued.

 In the 19th century, the chapel came to be a pilgrimage site for the sailors who arrived in the Old Port of Montreal; they would make offerings to the Virgin in gratitude for her "good help" for safe sea voyages. In 1849, Mgr. Ignace Bourget, Bishop of Montreal, gave the chapel a statue of the Virgin, which was placed atop the church overlooking the harbour.

The majestic statue crowning its tower is rightly named Star of the Sea. It was erected in 1892 above the little chapel in the tower overlooking the port from which the ships and their crews were blessed before leaving for Europe.

After Montreal was conquered by British forces during the French and Indian War, the church was attended by Irish and Scottish troops and families, and saw fundraising to build Saint Patrick's Church, Montreal's first anglophone Catholic parish.

"I prevailed on a few people to gather stone and M. de Maisonneuve had some wood cut for the framework and he helped them to drag it in from the woods. I used to ask several days' work for the chapel from those for whom I could do some work. They carted some sand and the masons offered to work there.

Father Pijart named it Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours."


In 2003, celebrations marked the 350th anniversary of Marguerite Bourgeoys’ arrival in Montreal. And in 2005, the 350th anniversary of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours was especially joyful when the “mother of the colony” returned to the chapel in Montreal’s historic district where she had lived as a beloved friend and valued counsellor to all. Her remains were placed in the left side-altar below the statue of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours. A few weeks later, the remains of Jeanne Le Ber, the recluse of Montreal, were interred in the east lateral wall of the chapel.

Jeanne Le Ber was born in Ville-Marie (Montreal), on January 4, 1662.

Daughter of Jacques Le Ber, a wealthy merchant of Montreal, and of Jeanne LeMoyne, Jeanne LeBer was also the goddaughter of Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, founder and governor of Montreal, and of Jeanne Mance, foundress and administrator of the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital.

From her earliest years, Jeanne was attracted to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, an attraction which grew ever more powerful and was accompanied by a deep desire for silence and prayer.

When she was eighteen, she obtained from her parents' permission to live as a recluse in her family home. Completely withdrawn from the world, she left her home only to go to Mass. On August 5, 1695, at the age of 33, she made her reclusion more complete. She left her family and withdrew into the house of the Sisters of the Congrégation Notre-Dame where Marguerite Bourgeoys and her Sisters welcomed her with great joy. There she lived in a tiny room behind the altar of the chapel.

 Emphasizing the connection of the chapel and the port, the chapel is often called the Sailors' Church.
As the port grew in importance in the 19th century, the chapel became a favourite place of prayer for sailors. The carved replicas of sailing ships hang from the vault of the chapel as a reminder of their faith in Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours.

 Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, founder of Montreal, donated the land for the original chapel, painted by Ozias Leduc.

 The little chapel on Saint Paul Street has undergone many changes throughout the years, signs of
affection of generations who have insisted on leaving some mark on it, from the little boats and
the metal hearts hanging from its walls to the statuary of La Perle and Guardo, Beaulieu’s
windows, the paintings of Ozias Leduc and the communion rail with its bronze doors signed T.


  1. It is exquisite inside. I've seen the church before, but I was never inside.

  2. you really do get to see some gorgeous beauties on your travels. i love the spire. & those stain glass windows, murals, ceiling moments. awesome times!! ( :

  3. So much history in this lovely church. Tom The Backroads Traveller

  4. Wow so much interesting detail. I can see where you would need to visit a few times to take it all in...


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