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Ste-Thérèse-de-l'enfant-Jésus Shrine


Built in a rural setting, the Church of Sainte-Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus was the first one in Canada to be placed under the patronage of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. The Mission of Sainte-Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus was founded in 1925. A chapel bearing the same name was built in the same year. The new mission had at the time a population of 400. But with the growing population, the residents began efforts to build a new church.
On May 17, 1925, Monsignor Bégin agreed to build a new one that would have as its patron saint the recently canonized St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus. In 1935, parochial status was canonically granted and the church was built in 1935-36. Cardinal Marc Ouellet declared the church a Diocesan sanctuary of St. Thérèse in 2005.

The Church of St. Thérèse is the first representative of the Dom-Bellot style in the Diocese of Quebec and is one of the most important examples of this style in the province. It was the first work by architect Adrien Dufresne of Beauport. Dom Bellot was a French Benedectine monk who saw the need for a revival in the religious art of the West; he went on to create a new architectural style that today bears his name. It is characterized by a system of rigorous proportions and the use of construction materials to create a coherent whole for maximum effect. Brick, the primary material of this style, plays a role that is both practical and ornamental.

Dufresne realized that to do justice to the ideas of Dom Bellot, the Church of St. Thérèse would have to reflect the lives of its congregation members, their physical environment and the region’s difficult economic circumstances. He therefore choses materials from the area of Beauport itself, such as its lightly-coloured fieldstones, along with clay and brick. These elements reinforce the rural and rustic image of the church. A statue of St. Thérèse, sculpted by Henri Auger, crowns the church’s main doors. 

The interior of the church creates a feeling of space, simplicity and harmony. Dufresne did not make use of ornamental sculpture or stained glass. The interior décor on the walls and arches is provided simply by a delicate brick motif in four colours: buff, grey, red and black.

The church has no interior columns, which allows the 750 faithful to come together as a single group with superb lines of sight. In 1987, a statue of St. Theresa, sculpted from linden wood by Rondo, was put on a podium at the centre of a mural arch.

The church’s already-fragile structure was strongly shaken by the earthquake of 1988. Work to protect the structure was carried out, which affected the outside and inside appearance of the church. The massive steeple had to be taken down. The church reopened for the Christmas midnight mass in December 1990.

A large reliquary of St. Thérèse was displayed in the sanctuary in 2001. It will again be in the sanctuary from September 23 to October 1, 2008. The Church of Sainte-Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus stands today in exceptional testimony to the influence of Dom Bellot in Quebec.

Points of interest:

Ste-Thérèse-de-l'enfant-Jésus Shrine

  • 158, rue Bertrand
  • Québec, Québec
  • G1B 1H7
  • Phone: Recteur, abbé Réjean Lessard 418-663-4011 poste 1 ; Agent de développement, Michel Bédard 418 802-4728
  • Fax: 418 663-7653
  • Email:
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