Sisters of Charity of Québec
Quebec's Sisters of Charity
In 1848, Mgr. Pierre-Flavien Turgeon requested that the Sisters of Charity of Montreal take charge of the Québec City orphanage. On August 21, 1849, Mother Marcelle Mallet and five companions leave the Hôpital Général de Montréal once and for all in order to create a religious community in Québec City, a community filled with the charisma and universal charity of St. Marguerite d’Youville. Upon their arrival on August 22, 1849, Mother Mallet and her companions were welcomed by approximately twenty orphans from the orphange of the Société charitable des Dames catholiques de Québec. Mother Mallet, superior, requested the construction of a Mother House, with the founding of the community in mind. The construction of this house began in 1850. This particular project of building a multiple-story house turned out to be one of tremendous magnitude for the time. This house would include a central wing with an extremely high ceiling that would house the chapel. In choosing architect Charles Baillairgé and in confiding all her needs to St. Joseph and to Providence, she succeeded in seeing the project through. In addition, from 1857, the community spread to villages throughout the province of Québec.
For several years, les Soeurs de la Charité de Québec spread the charisma of Mother Mallet throughout Québec, Japan, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay, in the fields of education, healthcare and various other social undertakings. Today, they continue the works of their founder in responding to the needs of today’s society. They offer aid to the destitute, to young people experiencing scholarly difficulties, and to the needy through social services, second-hand clothing stores, soup kitchens, food distribution, spiritual animation, homework clubs, a telephone support service and spiritual mail called “Média-Foi”. Furthermore, they offer special housing, “l’Accueil-Providence”, for people, along with their loved ones, coming from remote towns and villages to the city’s hospitals for medical exams and treatment.
Maison Mère-Mallet Chapel
In 1850, the Sœurs de la Charité de Québec community asked Charles Baillairgé to carry out the architectural plans of a chapel. However, they never expected to receive such unique ones. The plans that he drew out were of a neo-gothic style and included several architectural innovations. Though the chapel has been ravaged by fire on 3 different occasions, each reconstruction has respected the plans of architect Baillairgé, maintaining its initial appearance each time. The present-day chapel, dating back to 1915, stands at a height of 67 feet.
During your visit, you have the opportunity to admire the altars that were sculpted by François-Xavier Berlinguet, a Québec sculptor and architect. Over the altar, hangs “le cadran de l’Heure de Présence à la gloire du Coeur de Jésus”, as well as an imposing, 21-foot high painting that is the work of Sister Marie-de-l’Eucharistie, an artist of the community. Several other painters and sculptors, including Legand, Charles Huot and Louis Jobin have also left their mark through some aspect or work of art found in the chapel. Two marble plaques, commemorating two ecclesiastical personalities who influenced this religious congregation, Mgr. Pierre-Flavien Turgeon and Father Édouard Bonneau, are also found in this place of worship.
In 1890, Pope Leo XIII appointed this chapel as the seat of the Centre national de l’Archiconfrérie, known today as “l’Heure de Présence au Coeur de Jésus”.
Points of Interest :
The angels sculpted by Louis Jobin
The architectural innovations
You may visit the chapel upon reservation
Sisters of Charity of Québec
- 945, rue des Soeurs-de-la-Charité
- Québec, Québec
- G1R 1H8
- Phone: 418-692-1762 (Maison Mère-Mallet)