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Chapel Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours – Vieux Montréal
As promised a few weeks ago, here we are back at the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel in Old Montréal.
Built in 1771 on top of the ruins of the original stone chapel for the 1642 French settlement of Ville Marie, the Chapel of Our Lady of Good Help is the oldest church on the island of Montréal.
Located at 400 rue Saint Paul Est, the chapel houses an active church which holds masses several times a week in both English and French.
In the 1800’s due to its location facing the primary cargo vessel port on the St. Lawrence Seaway, which leads into the great lakes and the heart of North America, it also came to be known as the Sailors’ Chapel.
To Catholic sailors arriving from overseas it was a pilgrimage stop where they would come to pray and make offerings in gratitude for “good help” in carrying them safely on their ocean travels.
Miniatures ships can even be found hanging from the ceiling throughout the chapel.
In 1849, recognizing the significance of the sailing community to the church the Archbishop of Montréal gave the chapel a statue of the Virgin which was installed on top the building to look out and keep watch over the ships arriving in the harbour.
Today visitors can admire this remarkably well-preserved heritage status building that offers a unique insight into the 374-year history of the city through historical paintings and frescoes, stained glass, as well as centuries-old bronze, wood and marble statues and carvings.
For those not into the religious aspect there is also a side door offering direct access to the museum which contains an ongoing archaeological dig below the chapel.
On display you’ll find native artifacts from the region, some dating back several thousand years, as well as items from the original settlement, including parts of the foundation of the original chapel.
As Montréal churches go, this one is certainly not among the biggest, nor is it the most impressive in terms of art or architecture. For history buffs however, the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel is second to none.
As always, thanks for looking 🙂
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