The St. Lawrence of Orleans Island Church
Established in 1678 by Bishop François de Montmorency Laval, of Quebec, St. Laurent Parish received its official designation in 1698.
The first wooden church was built in 1675 by master carpenter Charles Pouliot. It was replaced, in 1697, by a wide stone church. After only a few years, the church turned out to be too small. In 1707, it was decided to add about twenty feet by moving forward the facade. Construction lasted three years and were completed in 1710.
On June 27, 1759, British General Wolfe and his army landed on the island at St. Laurent. The island having been evacuated, parish priest François Martel left a note on the church's door asking the invaders to show respect for the sacred place and inviting them to enjoy their stay. Thanks to this gesture St. Laurent Church and its outbuildings were saved from destruction.
This church, located partly in the actual cemetery, was demolished in 1864.
The actual church was opened for services on November 7, 1861. Antoine Pampalon, from Levis, executed the stonework and Jean-Baptiste Gosselin, from St. Laurent, executed the framework and the woodwork. The plans were prepared by Raphaël Giroux. The facade and the bell tower were built according to plans prepared by architect Prime Beland similar to those executed for St. Appolinaire church, in the Lotbinière County, in 1855.
The same year, a new rectory was built to replace the first rectory built in 1698.
The church's interior decoration, completely executed in plaster cast, was executed in 1863, by Joseph and Paul Breton, master carpenters from Quebec City, according to plans prepared by architect Charles Baillairge. From the old church, only the three altars and their tabernacles were preserved but they were replaced over the years: Adolphe Dion replaced the tabernacle of the main altar in 1872, those of the lateral altars were replaced by David Ouellet in 1877, and the altars themselves were replaced in 1898. The pulpit was rebuilt by David Ouellet in 1892, the pews were replaved in 1942, and more recently, the communion table and the baptismal fonts have been removed.
The interior decoration includes a few paintings : the St. Lawrence's martyrdom (Vincenzo Pasqualoni, 1874), St. Anne and the Immaculate Conception (attributed to François Baillairgé, 1804), the Holy Family and the Transfiguration (unknown artist, 1885). The church also houses stained glass windows, executed by Bernard Léonard, in 1900, and many silver pieces some of which date back to 1688.
Address of the Saint-Laurent Church:
1532, chemin Royal
St. Lawrence of Orleans Island Church. Photo : © ProvinceQuebec