Monday, August 31, 2015

Day 15- L’Oratoire St. Joseph du Mont-Royal

MaryJo just before mass at the very holy St. Joseph's Oratory
Once we crossed over the Quebec border everyone was excited to try out their new French skills. After being in Ottawa and hearing all of the people greet us with Bonjours, we couldn’t wait to get into Quebec itself! So far we have been treated to many friendly French-speaking people who remark on our large family size and how cute the kids are.  My rusty French from university is helping un petit peu, but for the most part we just smile and nod our heads.  I did learn how to say twin though: jumeau and we have all perfected Excusez, Pardon, and Desole (sorry).  They come in very handy when travelling with four rowdy boys.

Driving into Montreal with an RV and only a GPS that lacks common-sense is quite the adventure.  What a big city!- and what busy, twisty roads! Our trusty GPS led us up into a very expensive looking community with steep hills and skinny roads, straight to the back door of the Oratory.  Oh dear! I’m sure many of the people in the neighborhood were wondering why this huge RV was rumbling through their pretty lanes…. Though we probably weren’t the first to make this mistake as we were surprised to find Dana and Kevin in the same spot after their GPS led them there as well. Someone should write to google and ask them to change their information! 
After the traffic and crazy roads, I’m not sure my husband will ever go to Montreal again, though it seems like it could be a fun city to get around in without kids and the help of a few cabs and walking shoes. Definitely not the best place to drive a long trailer through.  We missed a few interesting places in our desire to leave the craziness of the city, but we did manage to make a stop at St. Joseph’s Oratory. 

beautiful organ that was played during mass
Brother Andre
This church is a must-see. It was the inspiration of a little Quebec man named Brother Andre Bessette, a lay brother (like a monk) of the congregation of the Holy Cross.  He only died less than a hundred years ago in 1937, shortly before my parents were born and he was made a saint in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI.  He was a doorman in the original church on the site and was credited with thousands of healings. People would come from all over to see him and ask for his prayers.  His vision was to have a magnificent church built to honor st. Joseph (the foster-father of Jesus). 

While the main sanctuary is splendid with its vaulted ceilings and great pipe-organ, I found the rest of the shrine lifted my spirit even more.  In the bottom, which houses his tomb (so cool to be able to touch the tomb of a real saint), there is a room that is filled with over 10,000 votive candle which you can light and say a prayer for a special intention. It was so beautiful and peaceful.  There is also a crypt church in the basement which has the most beautiful statue of st. Joseph (the patron saint of Canada) at the altar.

I was surprised by how many people were visiting the shrine that day. It was very full, which helped our noisy crew to blend in a bit.  We did make it in time for Sunday mass in the Basillica – in French! What a great experience for the kids, though I think they found that mass in French is just as long, if not longer, than mass in French. Joey and Zach have taken to timing the length of the homilies where we go and this one clocked in at 11 min.  :) There was this lovely old French Catholic woman sitting across the aisle from us who kept telling us how blessed we were and what a good example we were as a family coming to mass with so many little children. We have been having similar receptions wherever we go.  It’s a very friendly province here in Quebec. 

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