This religious order, also known under the name of “Compagnie de Jésus”, was founded in Paris in 1540 by Ignatius Loyola. In 1625, several Jesuits arrived in New France and dedicated themselves to the education of the Amerindians. They offered a dynamic and quality educational program, always including an in-depth look into the Word of God. In 1635, they began the construction of the first college for boys in Québec City, located where the City Hall stands today.
Before the English Conquest of 1759, this educational institution was the only college in the entire colony. Due to the battle, the college was requisitioned for military purposes. However, in 1763, the British authorities closed it down, an action that at the same time prevented the Jesuits from recruiting for their community. An arrangement was also made that when the last Jesuit living in Canada would pass away, all the community’s possessions would be handed over to the Crown. In 1800, the death of Father Casot marked the end of this religious order in Canada. However, in 1842, the country saw a rebirth of this community, with Mgr. Bourget inviting the Jesuits from France to come once again to Québec. This new wave of priests and brothers permitted this order to found Saint-Charles-Garnier College in 1935.
A group of laymen, the “Congrégation Notre-Dame de Québec”, continued to gather at the old Jesuit College, with the intention of offering spiritual support to its members. In 1817, the members of this congregation received permission from the Québec’s bishop to construct a chapel on rue Dauphine. Following the plans of architect Francois Baillargé, the construction of the chapel began that same year. Originally, the priests of Notre-Dame-de-Québec Cathedral were those associated with this chapel. However, when the Jesuits returned to Canada in 1849, they were asked to assume the direction of the congregation, as well as the chapel, which happened to display a particular devotion towards the Canadian Martyrs. The Canadian Martyrs are eight Jesuit missionaries who were killed during the war of the French and Huron communities against the Iroquois: Antoine Daniel, Charles Garnier, Gabriel Lalemant, Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brébeuf, Jean de Lalande, Noël Chapanel and René Goupil.
Over the years, the exterior of the chapel has changed a great deal. Inside, the main altar made of gilded pine was created by Eugène Taché in 1888, while two statues created by Pierre-Noël Levasseur are situated on the side altars. The chapel also contains two recumbent statues by Alfred Laliberté. The windows were created in 1916 and signed by B. Léonard, while the Way of the Cross is the work of Médard Bourgault of St-Jean-Port-Joli. This Way of the Cross was sculpted in 1945 and was the first Way of the Cross that this artist created.
In 1992, the Jesuits opened Maison Dauphine, a centre for homeless youth between 12 and 20 years of age. This centre, which is still operating today, is located in the basement of the chapel and residence.
Points of Interest:
- The Way of the Cross
- The Main Altar
- The Paintings
- 20, rue Dauphine
- Québec, Québec
- G1R 3W8
- Phone: N.D. Pour visites, téléphonez à la CPTRQ: 418-694-0665
- Web site: http://www.jesuites.org