Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 11, 2007
Impressive oil depicts St. Mary Magdalen
Square bell tower adorns parish church
St. Mary Magdalen– July 22
By TED FITZGERALD
Mary (Magdalen) was the first to encounter the risen Christ and to report the resurrection.
This, known as the Small Shrine, is one of the oldest sanctuaries in Canada and was the focus for the events leading up to the establishment of the Shrine of Notre-Dame. The Cape and subsequently the parish are named for Mary Magdalen, associate of Jesus, his mother and the apostles. She is a prominent and important figure in the accounts of events surrounding the crucifixion.
Faithful Mary was present beneath the cross and was the first to encounter the risen Christ and to report the resurrection.
In 1879, it was decided that a larger church would be built further from the river on Boul. Ste-Marie-Madeleine with rock for its construction quarried on the St. Lawrence south shore.
Following recitation of the rosary by parishioners, an ice bridge miraculously formed on the river and allowed transport of the building material so that the new church could be built in 1880. The Small Shrine was retained and re-dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
In 1902, management of both the Shrine Church and the parish was assumed by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate who then in 1951 replaced the parish church of Ste-Marie-Madeleine with today's elegant structure.
Four years later, construction began near the river of the basilica famed for its stained glass windows.
The present parish church is an attractive tan stone building designed around a Dom Bello nave with added side aisles to give a long, graceful roof line.
A square bell tower with decorative pillars is capped by a silver spire.
The architectural style is expressed in the fa‡ade with its three entries and three compound windows in the arch.
The church is carefully landscaped and is an irresistible subject for photographers. Inside, the building is an oasis of serenity, dimly lit by many lateral windows and dominated by the inward-bending walls which meet at an acute angle high overhead.
These graceful curving elements of the Dom Bello style form a long, triangular tunnel that leads to the altar where the focus is on an impressive painting, composed to fit the space that results from the architectural design.
This masterpiece, just behind the tabernacle, shows Mary meeting the risen Christ, believing him to be the gardener.
Today, the Christian community of Sainte-Marie serves several other area churches, with Mass celebrated daily and three times on weekends and offers conventional parish services, some in connection with lay groups.
Not entirely happy with their absorption by Trois-Rivieres, many residents of Mary Magdalen's Cape insist on identifying themselves first and foremost as Madelinoise rather than accepting the designation of urban Trifluviens.
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