Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 24, 2007
Jesuit Chapel houses effigies, paintings of Canadian martyrs
Jesuit residence now welcomes street youth
Canadian Martyrs – September 26
By TED FITZGERALD
The old Jesuit residence has become the Maison Dauphine, a welcoming centre for street youth.
Over the years, despite undergoing modifications and renovations in 1857, 1900, 1930 and 1949, neighbourhood residents continued to be served by their Chapelle des Jesuites.
In 1925, eight martyrs were beatified in Rome and the Jesuits, because of their close connection to the historic Canadian missionaries elected to rename the church The Shrine of the Canadian Martyrs.
- WCR photo by Ted Fitzgerald
The chapelle des Jesuites is seen from the city wall at Kent Gate vantage point
These Frenchmen honoured here whose lives were sacrificed in the years 1642-1649 were Jean de Brebeuf, Jean de la Lande, Rene Goupil, Isaac Jogues, Gabriel Lalemant, Noel Chabanel, Antoine Daniel and Charles Garnier.
All were canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930 as martyrs for their faith, the first North American saints. In Canada, the liturgical calendar remembers the Canadian Martyrs at the feast of St. Jean de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, priests and companions, martyrs, secondary patrons of Canada: semifestive office, each Sept. 26. In the U.S., the feast day of the Protomartyrs of North America is Oct. 19.
Visitors entering the Quebec church through the side door off rue Dauphine are in for a surprise. Considering the relative simplicity of the ancient stone edifice's exterior, it hides a treasure-trove of artworks, some pre-dating this building, by many of Quebec's most illustrious artisans.
The interior is remarkably open and spacious, with a high, flat-domed ceiling and sanctuary ornamented with painted arches. Above the gilt main altar, a large painting by Theophile Hamel shows the scene of the Purification of Mary, original title of the church dedication. It is flanked by complementary oils by Eugene Hamel and others are displayed throughout the nave.
Beneath side altars dedicated to Martyrs Brebeuf and Jogues, life-size effigies of the two, sculpted by Alfred Laliberte carry a plea for them to "pray for us."
Above the Brebeuf altar, a gilded Virgin with Child is by Pierre-Noel Levasseur. Noteworthy too are carved wooden Stations of the Cross by Medard Bourgault and a variety of stained glass windows portraying biblical events and saints of the Society of Jesus.
Since 1992, the old Jesuit residence has become the Maison Dauphine, a welcoming centre for street youth. It and the chapel are under the direction of the old Lay Marian Congregation, now called the Christian Life Communities, in co-operation with Jesuit clergy. The non-profit youth ministry is also partially founded by the city and province.
Non-residents often arrange to visit the Chapelle in combination with attendance at the popular Monday through Friday noon Mass before seeking Quebecois lunch delights in one of the old city's many attractive nearby eating places.
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