Petites Franciscaines de Marie Museum
The centre of the Bay-Saint-Paul heritage, the museum commemorates the work of the eleven Foundresses of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Community.
The community was founded in 1889, in a New England parish in Worcester, Massachusetts. In Canada, the charitable “seekers” of God found a wise advisor, Father Ambroise-Martial Fafard, pastor at Bay-Saint-Paul, who guided them in their mission. On August 12, 1892, with the approval of the Bishop of Chicoutimi, they officially became Les Petites Franciscaines de Marie.
Inspired by the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary and guided by the evangelical spirit of Francis of Assisi, their charitable mission embraced caring for orphans and poor children; providing healthcare for the mentally ill; caring for the elderly; educating children and adults in Christianity; participating in new pastoral needs such as evangelisation in distant countries such as Madagascar and Haiti.
The most impressive heritage of the Community is the Sacred Heart Chapel. Constructed under the direction of Mother Marie-Anne-de-Jesus (Marie Bibeau), it was to fulfill the dream of Pastor Ambroise Fafard. Unfortunately, the chapel was completed only after the Pastor had passed away. The chapel was solemnly blessed on August 17, 1904. Beautifully renovated in 2003, it bears a very faithful likeness to the original chapel.
Made of wood and covered by white plaster, the Roman style chapel is discretely decorated in gold. Eight columns and four pillars support the barrel-shaped vault that dominates the pendant-shaped dome. Above the main altar, six gilded columns surround the Sacred Heart statue painted in white, ochre, and gold inviting visitors to a personal encounter with God. Two other statues adorn the interior: of St. Francis and of St. Claire of Assisi, the patron saints of the Franciscan orders.
The walls are decorated with eight paintings by Sister Marie-Odoric-de-Jesus, member of the Community, and a beautiful Way of the Cross by E. Cabane, well-known French artist specializing in depicting Ways of the Cross that adorn a number of churches throughout Quebec.
Arranged on double arches, 1150 small electric light bulbs illuminate the vault, adding to the contemplative mood of this sacred place.
In this blessed sanctuary, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary have gathered, day after day, for the past hundred years for personal and community prayers. They are always pleased to share this place of prayer with those who are in search of God.
In summer, the museum offers guided tours of the congregation’s chapel and the heritage compound.
Address of Petites Franciscaines de Marie Museum:
61, Ambroise-Fafard Street
Phone : 418 - 435-3520
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