Saturday, September 3, 2016

inSPIREd Sunday

Sally and Beth host inSPIREd Sunday!

August 2016 - Oka QC

While in Montreal for a family visit we had some time on the Saturday so we headed over to Hudson for breakfast and then decided to go to Oka, as John had never been there. I think I was there as a child with my parents but didn't really remember it.

To get to Oka you take a ferry from Hudson.
Oka is as French as Hudson is English on the other side of the ferry.

This is Wikipedia's definition of Oka.

Oka is a small Canadian village on the northern bank of the Ottawa River (Rivière des Outaouais in French), northwest of Montreal, Quebec. Located in the Lower Laurentians on Lake of Two Mountains, where the Ottawa has its confluence with the St. Lawrence River, the town has a main thoroughfare that is now part of Quebec Route 344.

This area was first settled by French colonists as a mission to First Nations in 1721 by brothers of the Sulpician Order branch of the Roman Catholic Church. Early native inhabitants were Mohawk (Kanienkaha), Algonquin, and Nipissing, who had a village known as Kanesatake, now a reserve within the boundaries of Oka.

In the summertime, the community's long stretch of beachfront along the Ottawa River and the Lake of Two Mountains, and its marina draw people to the area from Montreal and neighboring cities. Another attraction is the Abbey of Notre-Dame du Lac, famous for its Oka cheese produced by Trappists monks there.

We'll get to the Abbey later. As you arrive by ferry you can see the parish church awaiting your visit.

Right beside the ferry docks on the Oka side is a magnificent stone cathedral and La Mairie, Oka’s town hall. I have searched for the name of the church but can't find it. Even the French brochure from the tourist office beside the town hall didn't print the name, just said "presbytere".

Inside it was gorgeous.

Marguerite Bourgeoys, C.N.D., was the French founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal in the colony of New France, now part of Québec. She lived in Fort Ville-Marie (now Montreal) as of 1653, educating young girls, the poor, and natives until her death at the turn of the 18th century. She is also significant for developing one of the first uncloistered religious communities in the Catholic Church. She has been declared a saint by the Catholic Church.
These are the nuns that taught me in high school Even our white blouses had a pointed collar like her habit below.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (pronounced [ˈɡaderi deɡaˈɡwita] in Mohawk), given the name Tekakwitha, baptized as Catherine and informally known as Lily of the Mohawks (1656 – April 17, 1680), is a Roman Catholic saint who was an Algonquin–Mohawk laywoman. Born in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon, on the south side of the Mohawk River, she contracted smallpox in an epidemic; her family died and her face was scarred. She converted to Roman Catholicism at age nineteen, when she was renamed Kateri, baptized in honor of Saint Catherine of Siena. Refusing to marry, she left her village and moved for the remaining 5 years of her life to the Jesuit mission village of Kahnawake, south of Montreal. 

In 1881, eight Trappists left the Abbey of Bellefontaine, France, to begin a new foundation in Canada. The Sulpicians offered the Trappists land situated in the Seigneurie of Lake of Two Mountains. In November 1881, after having occupied for a few months the tiny cottage belonging to the miller Gagnon and his family, the monks took possession of their first true monastery. It was built from wood at the top of the Saint Sulpice hill.

In 2006 the aging monks sold the building and moved their dwindling population to a smaller home. It has been turned into a hotel and ecotourism centre.

There is a shop closeby which I thought Magasin Abbaye Oka was a bit of a tourist trap, even John said he thought he'd need a mortgage to buy the three bags of curds he picked out.


  1. wow masterpiece of architecture outside and inside

  2. What a beautiful place and amazing cathedral.

  3. The church looks simple outside but wonderful inside

  4. Gorgeous church and surrounds. Wow! I've never heard of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha; loved her statue.

  5. Exquisitely beautiful architecture in these places.


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