Public meeting seeks input for historic NDÎP church
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.
A meeting to determine the fate of Sainte-Jeanne-de-Chantal Church will be held Saturday.