Discover inspiring religious figures who have shaped Quebec’s history

Discover inspiring religious figures who have shaped Quebec’s history

Attractions to discover, March 20, 2023 (Revised on October 6, 2023) 2023-03-20
Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal
Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal. Photo credit: Nathalie Dumas

Religious heritage has always played an important role in the history of Quebec and is still very much alive. Follow in the footsteps of religious figures and larger-than-life artisans. The Quebec Religious and Spiritual Tourism Association invites you to get acquainted with them by visiting churches, sanctuaries and museums that are also magnificent havens of peace and meditation.

Brother André: a friend and a saint to discover

Founder of Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal in Montreal, Saint Brother André remains one of the most well-known people from Quebec of the 20th century. Long before his canonization in 2010, his reputation for holiness had crossed borders and marked generations. He welcomed and listened to thousands of people who were suffering or seeking hope, and many miraculous cures took place.

The precious legacy of Kateri Tekakwitha

Kateri Tekakwitha was the first Indigenous woman to be elevated to sainthood and was a young Mohawk woman who converted to Christianity. On October 21, 2012, she was canonized in a ceremony presided over by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome. The Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine, part of the St. Lawrence River Shrines Route, is beautifully located on the shores of the river in Kahnawake. This unique sacred site houses the tomb of Kateri Tekakwitha, as well as prayer books, manuscripts and Indigenous artifacts.

Marguerite Bourgeoys, Montreal’s first teacher

The Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, Montreal’s oldest, is the resting place of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, who founded this place of worship as well as the first school in Montreal and the Congregation of Notre-Dame. Bold and determined, Marguerite Bourgeoys welcomed immigrants, including the Filles du Roi (King’s Daughters), and forged respectful ties with the First Nations. Her life and work are an invaluable heritage for Quebec.

The Notre-Dame de Rocamadour Shrine: a French connection

It was Jacques Cartier who brought the devotion to Our Lady of Rocamadour to the New World in 1536, where he and his sailors witnessed the first miracle on Canadian soil. The use of the name Notre-Dame de Rocamadour to designate the Virgin Mary refers to an ancient French shrine and reminds us that she presided over the entry and spread of the Catholic faith throughout North America. Initially located on the site of the miracle, the Notre-Dame de Rocamadour Shrine (website in French only) is now located in the Saint-Fidèle church, in the heart of the Limoilou district of Quebec City, and offers a tour filled with history.

Notre-Dame de Québec Cathedral Basilica, on the traces of the founders

Located in Old Québec, the Notre-Dame de Québec Cathedral Basilica offers its visitors a pilgrimage to the tombs of notable founders. This pilgrimage includes times for prayer and sharing of the Word of God, as well as activities that allow visitors to discover Saint François de Laval, the first bishop and founder of the Séminaire de Québec, as well as other key figures.

Photo credit: Fondation Notre-Dame-de-Rocamadour

Marguerite d’Youville: a devoted saint

Driven by her convictions and unshakeable faith, Marguerite d’Youville dedicated her life to serving the poor, the sick, orphans and others in need, overcoming obstacles and hardships working alongside the Grey Nuns, the congregation she founded. The first Canadian-born saint is now recognized as a pioneer in implementing social services in Canada. To discover more about her life and work, head to her hometown of Varennes and visit the Sainte-Marguerite-d’Youville Sanctuary, which traces her journey through artifacts, costumes and archives.

Marie Guyart de l'Incarnation: an inspiring woman

The Centre Marie-de-l’Incarnation (website in French only) located in Québec City, provides an opportunity to learn about the life and accomplishments of Marie Guyart, who was a businesswoman and nun. She and members of the Ursuline and Augustinian orders became the first missionary nuns in Canada. Marie Guyart also founded the School of the Ursulines, the first convent for women in North America. A visit to the Centre offers an extraordinary opportunity to delve into the history of this exceptional woman and her legacy, which is still very much alive today.

A passion for copper: the art of Albert Gilles

Get to know a craftsman who left his mark on the religious history of Quebec in the modern era. Recognized worldwide for his original works, artisan Albert Gilles specialized over the years in the decoration of churches, including the masterful door of the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine. Today, this art has been passed down to his family and his creations are presented at the Cuivres-d’Art Albert Gilles museum located in the town of Château-Richer. Don’t miss a visit to this museum where the collection of copper objects is most impressive.

In partnership with Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

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