I-4562.0.1 | Bishop Ignace Bourget, Montreal, QC, copied 1862
Bishop Ignace Bourget, Montreal, QC, copied 1862
William Notman (1826-1891)
1862, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
8 x 5 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords: male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
Keys to History
As a general rule, English-speaking and French-speaking Montrealers tended to lead separate lives, each community having its own institutions. Among French Montrealers, the Catholic Church played a major role in social organization. It enjoyed a veritable renaissance during the episcopate of Ignace Bourget. Thanks to the support of a larger, better-educated clergy, the bishop was able to provide better guidance to his congregation. After a long, drawn-out struggle with the Sulpicians, he succeeded, in 1865, in getting Rome to divide up the parish of Notre Dame, thus allowing him to increase the number of parishes within the same area.
Ignace Bourget was bishop of Montreal, but his diocese extended over a much larger territory, the city of Montreal being only a small part of it. This territory gradually shrank as new dioceses were created, such as the diocese of St. Hyacinthe in 1852 and that of Valleyfield in 1893.
It was from Rome that Bourget found inspiration for strengthening discipline in the Church. He identified with the Ultramontanists. Even the new cathedral he had built was modelled after St. Peter's in Rome.
Ignace Bourget became bishop of Montreal in 1840, on the death of his predecessor, Bishop Jean-Jacques Lartigue (1777-1840). He resigned in 1876 over conflicts that were dividing the Catholic Church in Quebec.
Ignace Bourget (1799-1885) was born into a farming family in Lauzon, near Quebec City. He studied at the seminary in Nicolet, becoming secretary to Bishop Jean-Jacques Lartigue in 1821. It was Lartigue who chose Bourget as his successor and had the Pope approve the choice.