Nearly 200 people took advantage of the "Open House" weekend at the Congregational House of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) to expand their discoveries. It was an opportunity for many of them to reconnect with the past. Some remembered, with nostalgia, the years when they roamed the corridors of this convent dedicated to teaching, before 1982.
Other visitors were happy to reconnect with the Congregation after having studied at SNJM institutions in Montreal. Still others focused on the mini-exhibition regarding the Saint-Antoine Brook, organized by the SNJM Central Archives Department. This exhibition, dedicated to this lost brook, was part of the theme of the festivities at Parc de la Baronnie.
It is rare to see cadastral (highly detailed) maps arousing so much interest by visitors, who were able to see how the presence of this long-lost brook, has influenced the distribution of the land. Those who were more curious went on to search for streets that had disappeared or whose name had been changed. For instance, did you know that rue Normandie was formerly called rue "Princesse Royale"?
Those who did not get the opportunity to visit this exhibition have until August 31 to do so. Appointments should be made by calling 450 651-8104 ext. 1103.
Other than this mini-exhibition, the Congregational House is filled with interesting treasures to be discovered, as noted by all of the visitors. In the entrance, the wooden staircase dating back to 1740, prompted many exclamations of delight. The visitors also appreciated the simplicity and beauty of the original chapel in the convent, which has retained all its charm and atmosphere of accomplishment.
The visit of the historical rooms in which Blessed Marie Rose lived, produced a great deal of interest. It was an occasion for many of them to hear a delightful expression used when referring to the spring melt. The clash of comparisons between current living conditions and those of that bygone era raised more than one eyebrow, including those of people who are avid followers of “voluntary simplicity”...
The Marie-Rose Center museum provided an opportunity to become immersed in the history of the Congregation and the journey of Eulalie Durocher and her collaborators, Mélodie Dufresne and Henriette Céré. Many visitors realized the progress made by this first Canadian Congregation of Women Religious Teachers, and did not hesitate to comment on the Sisters’ contribution to the education and development of Quebec society, while also questioning the impact of their eventual disappearance.
Finally, amateurs of architectural heritage were delighted by their visit to the first "model" school in Longueuil, which later became the SNJM Foundation House. Besides the character of this ancestral home, visitors made some surprising discoveries on the "optimization" of space by the first Sisters of the Congregation.
In short, the experience of this "Open House" weekend was a complete success, although 'Mother Nature' did happen to change several of the plans for August 12, at Parc de la Baronnie. This day of activities, open to the whole family, was organized as part of the Archeological Month. Scheduled to take place on Saturday, it was finally postponed to Sunday, because of the rain.
Besides information kiosks, there was a children's container so they could learn the pleasures of excavation, and an oven where a baker bustled around all day with his team, to prepare bread. Some historical personalities including Mother Marie-Rose, characterized by Julie Tétreault, an SNJM collaborator, crisscrossed the park to talk to the people who were present.
We remind you, that the Marie-Rose Center's summer schedule ends on Sunday, August 27 (open from Wednesday to Sunday between 10 am and 4 pm). The Center will be opened afterwards, by appointment only, by calling 450 651-8104 ext. 1209.