M2330 | Vue du Monument National et Religieux erige sur la Montagne de St. Hilaire de Rouville, Canada: et beni par Mgr. de Forbin-Janson, Eveque de Nancy, &c &c le 6 octobre 1841.

 
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Vue du Monument National et Religieux erige sur la Montagne de St. Hilaire de Rouville, Canada: et beni par Mgr. de Forbin-Janson, Eveque de Nancy, &c &c le 6 octobre 1841.
John Penniman
1841, 19th century
Ink on paper - Lithography
22 x 36.8 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
M2330
© McCord Museum
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Keys to History

In the 1830s and 1840s, the Roman Catholic Church increased its presence in the countryside of Lower Canada by setting up new parishes, religious monuments, rural chapels and wayside crosses. The most important shrine was inaugurated on Mount St. Hilaire in 1841. Religious holidays, processions and Catholic schools were used to foster religiosity.

Source : The Aftermath of the Rebellions [Web tour], by Brian J. Young, McGill University (see Links)

  • What

    Like Mount Royal, Mount St. Hilaire rises above the St. Lawrence plain. These elevated sites were important locations for shrines, cemeteries and monuments.

  • Where

    While Mount Royal is close to Montreal, Mount St. Hilaire was a rural site visible from rural communities and villages along the Richelieu and St. Lawrence rivers. The cross, an important symbol marking the separation of Roman Catholics from the Protestant, was placed on the highest landmark to denote the Church's power in a particular area.

  • When

    The construction of a shrine on Mount St. Hilaire was a sign of the Church's renewed power in the post-rebellion period.

  • Who

    Historians have long debated whether French Canadians actually listened to their priests. It does seem clear that, in the period following the rebellions, the Church was able to extend its power over the countryside and its peasantry.