As you travel through Boucherville on the Marie-Victorin Boulevard along the St-Lawrence River, you quickly realize that the Old Boucherville continues to flourish around the Church Square. This is not surprising, as this historic site along the St-Lawrence River is not only picturesque but was indeed the heart of the original village. The Church Square is nestled between the Old Convent of the Congregation of Notre-Dame and the former presbytery.
Naturally the Sainte-Famille Church dominates the square. Built in 1801 the Sainte-Famille Church was classified as a historical monument in 1964. It is the third church built on these premises. The Church was originally built in 1670. It was renovated following a fire in 1843. In 1969 Mgr. Joseph Poissant undertook restoration work which earned him the National Heritage Award from Heritage Canada in 1976 for the quality of his work.
The former convent (to the right of the church) was sold in 1975 to become a senior residence. Originally built in 1888, it was here and up until 1972, that the nuns of the congregation of Notre-Dame devoted themselves to the education of girls.
The former rectory (left of the church) is known today as the Mgr-Poissant Center. Property of the City of Boucherville, the Mgr-Poissant Center is a cultural center that hosts community organizations. There is a kitchen and an array of meeting rooms. The corridors of Mgr-Poissant Center are decorated with historical photographs of Boucherville. The structure that we see today was built in 1832 on the original foundations of the presbytery which dated back to 1686.
Today this historical and patrimonial site of the parish life of yesteryear continues to adapt to the community life of the Boucherville’s residents. First-class maintenance and upgrades adorn visitors as they enter this majestic place. I met Mr. Jacques Castonguay, a heritage delegate from the Sainte Famille Parish Council right here in the church.
Mr. Castonguay proudly told me of the improvements made over the last few years aimed at making the Sainte-Famille Church even more inviting to the citizens of Boucherville and surrounding communities. Covering all aspects of religious life and cultural events such as the Longueuil Symphony Orchestra presentations, modern LED lighting allows the venue to adapt visually to all current events. Mr. Castonguay presented me the church in the colors of Boucherville’s 350th year celebrations. The 360-degree photo below documents the lifelong appeal of this historic place of worship highlighted by this new, state-of-the-art lighting system.
The new organ located in the balcony of the Sainte-Famille Church
No church is complete without its organ. The 360-degree photo above documents well the visual appeal of this new organ illuminated by the new lighting. This organ is simply a monumental artwork that reigns over the church’s interior. It was in 1995 that this new organ was hand made. The work was entrusted to Casavant Frères, an organ builder in Saint-Hyacinthe. The organ that is seen and appreciated today is installed inside a magnificent buffet built in 1846 to receive the organ built by the Montreal factor Samuel Warren.
The church and the former convent are part of the visual appeal of the old Boucherville. The infrared image above demonstrates the significant visual impact of this heritage that is easily seen from the St-Lawrence River and as far away as the north side of the la Commune islands through the agricultural fields of Îles-de-Boucherville National Park .
Today you can visit the Museum of Sacred Art at the Sainte-Famille church. Inaugurated in March 2017, the museum was realized by donations of materials and expertise from volunteers, including a major civic donation, Alain Adenot, contributed $25,000 as a testamentary bequest for the realization of this project.
I chose to complete this little blog with a picture taken from the Îles-de-Boucherville National Park for a very important reason. The Adenot family are not only individuals dedicated to community well-being in Boucherville, Alain Adenot and his wife, Florence Junca-Adenot, were part of the founding group of the Friends of the Îles-de-Boucherville National Park and were very active in the struggle for the protection of the Charron Island. Alain was not only a member of the Friends of the PNIB, he supported the efforts of the first board of directors who met at their residence during these years of intensive mobilization. The Friends of the Îles-de-Boucherville National Park is an organization whose mission is the conservation of the natural heritage of the archipelago. It is with honor that I continue the environmental vigil of the Îles-de-Boucherville as President of the Friends of the PNIB.
I invite all of you to visit the new Museum of Sacred Art at the Sainte-Famille Church, the church itself and participate in its many activities. The Boucherville Museum of Sacred Art can be visited on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, from 1:30 pm to 4 pm.
LINKS OF INTEREST
- UNITÉ PASTORALE DE BOUCHERVILLE
- Casavant, Opus 3749, 1996
- Friends of the Îles-de-Boucherville National Park