Montréal - Vieux Montréal: Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel

Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel), at 400 rue Saint-Paul Est, was built in 1771, replacing its predecessor, which burned down in 1754. St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, the first teacher in the colony of Ville-Marie, was the founder of the Congregation of Notre-Dame and the driving force behind the old stone church built in 1673.

 

After Montreal was conquered by British forces during the French and Indian War, the church was attended by Irish and Scottish troops and families. In the 19th century, it became a pilgrimage site for seamen arriving at the old port, earning it the name, the Sailor's Church. The sailors would bring offerings to the Virgin out of gratitude for her "good help' on safe voyages. In 1849, Mgr. Ignace Bourget, Bishop of Montreal, gave the chapel a statue of the Virgin as Star of the Sea, which was placed atop the church overlooking the harbour.

 

The chapel now also houses the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum, dedicated to the life of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys and to the early history of Montreal and the chapel site. Below the chapel, the crypt is being excavated as an archeological site, with discoveries dating as far back as 400 B.C., including First Nations and French colonial artifacts and the foundations of the first chapel and the fortifications of the colony. The church's prominent spire can also be climbed. In 2005, Marguerite Bourgeoys's mortal remains were brought back to the church, where she now lies in the sanctuary.

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Taken on August 7, 2009
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