Saint Joseph's Oratory

Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal
Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal
Basic information
Location 3800, chemin Queen Mary
Montreal, Quebec
H3V 1H6
Geographic coordinates 45°29′30″N 73°37′00″W / 45.491667°N 73.616667°W / 45.491667; -73.616667Coordinates: 45°29′30″N 73°37′00″W / 45.491667°N 73.616667°W / 45.491667; -73.616667
Affiliation Roman Catholic
District Archdiocese of Montreal
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Minor basilica
Leadership Father Claude Grou
Architectural description
Architect(s) Dalbé Viau, Alphonse Venne, Lucien Parent, Emilien Bujold and Dom Paul Bellot
Architectural type Oratory, domed basilica
Architectural style Italian renaissance
Completed 1967
Construction cost $2.3 Million (CAD)
Direction of façade NNW
Capacity 10,000 / 2,400 sitting
Length 105 metres (344 ft)
Width 65 metres (213 ft)
Width (nave) 37 metres (121 ft)
Height (max) 129 metres (423 ft)
Dome(s) one (1)
Dome height (outer) 97 metres (318 ft) (from nave floor)
Dome height (inner) 60 metres (200 ft) (from nave floor)
Dome dia. (outer) 39 metres (128 ft)
Dome dia. (inner) 26 metres (85 ft)
Materials Canadian granite, copper
Official name: Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal National Historic Site of Canada
Designated 2004

Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal (French: Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal) is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and national shrine on Westmount Summit in Montreal, Quebec. It is Canada's largest church.[1]


In 1904, Saint André Bessette, C.S.C., began the construction of St. Joseph, a small chapel on the slopes of Mont Royal near Notre Dame College.[2] Soon the growing number of the congregation made it too small. In 1917 a larger church was completed that had a seating capacity of 1,000. In 1924, the construction of the basilica of Saint Joseph's Oratory was commenced; it was finally completed in 1967.[2]

View of the dome under construction in 1937.

Father Paul Bellot, an architect, completed the dome of Saint Joseph's Oratory between 1937-39. The dome is the third-largest of its kind in the world after the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro in Côte d'Ivoire and Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.[1]

In 1949-1951, architect Gilbert Moreau carried out alterations and improvements to the interior of Saint Joseph's Oratory, as well as to the adjacent monastery, and rearranged the sacristy in the basilica.[3]

The basilica is dedicated to Saint Joseph, to whom Brother André credited all his reported miracles. These were mostly related to some kind of healing power, and many pilgrims (handicapped, blind, ill, etc.) poured into his Basilica, including numerous non-Catholics. On display in the basilica is a wall covered with thousands of crutches from those who came to the basilica and were purportedly healed. Pope John Paul II deemed the miracles to be authentic and beatified Brother André in 1982. In October 2010 Pope Benedict XVI canonized the saint.

A reliquary in the church museum contains Brother André's heart, which he requested as a protection for the basilica. More than 2 million visitors and pilgrims visit the Oratory every year. It is located at 3800 Queen Mary Road, at Côte-des-Neiges (near the Côte-des-Neiges metro station).

Composer Émilien Allard notably served as the church's carillonneur from 1955 to 1975. For RCA Victor he released the LP album Carols at the Carillon of Saint Joseph's Oratory for which he wrote the arrangements.[4]

Modern developments

On October 19, 2004, the Oratory held its centennial. All the bells of all the churches on the island of Montreal were supposed to ring at 9:00 a.m., though not all churches participated. At 9:05 a.m., the basilica rang its bell in response and celebration.

In 2004, the Oratory was designated a National Historic Site of Canada on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.[5][6]

On 2 April 2004 Canada Post issued 'Saint Joseph's Oratory, Quebec' in the 2004 Tourist Attractions series. The stamp was designed by Catharine Bradbury & William Stewart based on a photograph by Bernard Brault. The 49¢ stamps are perforated kiss cut and were printed by Lowe-Martin Company Inc.[7]

See also

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 "Bellot, Father Paul in Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada 1800-1950". Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  2. 1 2 Pound, Richard W. (2005). 'Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates'. Fitzhenry and Whiteside.
  3. "Moreau, Gilbert in Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada 1800-1950". Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  4. "La vie et la mort d'un carillonneur", Musique périodique, vol 1, Jan-Feb 1977
  5. "The Government of Canada Commemorates the National Historic Significance of Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal". News Release. Parks Canada. 2005-09-19. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
  6. Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  7. Canada Post Stamp

External links

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