Pu­blic mee­ting seeks in­put for his­to­ric NDÎP church

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

The fate of a more than 230 year-old church in Notre-Dame-de-l'Île-Per­rot hangs in the ba­lance and the aim of a pu­blic mee­ting being held this wee­kend is to see if the church should reinvent it­self.

The Sainte-Jeanne-de-Chantal Church mee­ting will be held from 1 -5 p.m. on No­vem­ber 27. It will al­low par­ti­ci­pants to weigh in on how best to use the church should it be clo­sed as a re­li­gious pa­rish by the Sa­la­ber­ry-de-Val­ley­field dio­cese.

Lise Char­tier, pre­sident of the Sain­teJeanne-de-Chantal Foun­da­tion who al­so wrote L'île Per­rot 1672-1765 (June 2009, Sep­ten­trion) says a dwind­ling con­gre­ga­tion com­bi­ned with fe­wer priests could ren­der the his­to­ri­cal church ob­so­lete.

And though the church and ground­swon the 2008 Se­venWon­ders of the Vau­dreuilSou­langes contest in the sce­nic over­look ca­te­go­ry, the ho­nour may not be en­ough to keep it going.

Char­tier says Sa­tur­day's mee­ting will be bro­ken in­to th­ree parts and will in­clude a look at what would hap­pen should the church close down, as well as how best to keep the his­to­ric buil­dings and lands open to the pu­blic.

A vi­si­ting priest from the ci­ty of Québec will al­so ex­plain how his church over­came si­mi­lar odds des­pite a de­ci­sion to close.

And Notre-Dame-de-l'Île-Per­rot mu­ni­ci­pal re­pre­sen­ta­tives will dis­cuss how the town can help the church.

Sainte-Jeanne-de-Chantal was built by Ba­sile Proulx and du­ring its hey­day was fre­quen­ted by scores of ca­tho­lic French Ca­na­dians. The church sits on the gras­sy site that had been cho­sen in 1772 by the arch­bi­shop.

"It was se­lec­ted at a time when all tran­spor­ta­tion was by ri­ver," Char­tier said.

And the ele­va­ted grounds si­tua­ted 100 feet above the wa­ter of­fer re­mar­kable views of the St. La­wrence and Ou­taouais Ri­vers, Lake St. Louis and the Lake of Two Moun­tains, as well as the ci­ty of Beau­har­nois and the Hy­dro-Que­bec Beau­har­nois Dam.

His­to­ry buffs can view an out­door plaque com­me­mo­ra­ting the day Jean Ta­lon conce­ded the île Per­rot to François-Marie Per­rot, Go­ver­nor of Montreal, onOc­to­ber 26, 1672.

In ad­di­tion to the grey stone church that was en­lar­ged in 1812, two ce­me­te­ries and a large gras­sy area, there is a small stone cha­pel, Cha­pelle du Sou­ve­nir.

All face the ri­ver, which was the high­way sys­tem du­ring the by­gone era.

Ac­cor­ding to Char­tier, NDÎP's po­pu­la­tion would triple or qua­druple du­ring warm sum­mer months when ci­ty folks would take up re­si­dence in wa­ter­front homes.

Un­til 1914 Sainte-Jeanne-de-Chantal was the on­ly church on the is­land. It was de­si­gna­ted a his­to­ri­cal mo­nu­ment in 1961.

Sainte-Jeanne-de-Chantal church is lo­ca­ted at 1, rue de l'Église in No­treDame-de-l'Île-Per­rot.

PHOTO KRIS­TI­NA EDSON

A mee­ting to de­ter­mine the fate of Sainte-Jeanne-de-Chantal Church will be held Sa­tur­day.

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