The Newly Renovated Museum of the Co-Cathedral of Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue in Longueuil
The Museum of the Co-Cathedral of Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue will proudly unveil today to numerous dignitaries, institutional partners, and project participants its completely refurbished Museum, featuring the new permanent exhibit, "From the Earliest Inhabitants until Our Time." The exhibit provides a compelling look at the history of Longueuil, of its parish, and of the Co-Cathedral.
This ambitious project aims to make the Co-Cathedral familiar to a new generation. “Because we are serious about pursuing the Museum’s longtime mission of protecting and promoting our ancestors’ talents and skills, the renovation was a top priority of the Co-Cathedral’s three-year development plan, adopted in 2014,” declares Father Christian Rodembourg, the Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue parish priest.
The Museum has been completely remodeled in order to modernize its exhibit areas and maximize their use. The new layout highlights historical and artistic, as well as religious, objects testifying to the Longueuil Parish’s rich community life, which stretches back to the 17th century. A crypt houses a remarkable store of items on view for the first time, including the sepulchral chapel of the illustrious Le Moyne family and a Normandy cross (dating from approximately the 15th century), a gift from the City of Dieppe, France to the City of Longueuil.
The Museum exhibit takes visitors on a journey into the heart of New France, beginning with its very first inhabitants and followed by the history of the three Longueuil churches that preceded the Co-Cathedral. The tour leads from one discovery to another, among more than 350 artifacts and historical objects belonging to the important esthetic and artistic movements that comprise Quebec’s religious heritage.
“This project has been made possible by a cultural development agreement between the City of Longueuil and Quebec’s Ministère de la Culture et des Communications, and by significant financial contributions from two additional major partners, Caisse Desjardins de Longueuil and the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Because they share our vision, their encouragement and support have been enthusiastic,” affirms the President of the Fabrique Assembly, Benoît Laganière.
Father Rodembourg adds: “I would equally like to thank the extraordinary team that has put together this magnificent exhibition. We are especially indebted to the Longueuil Historical Society, to the Kahnawake Mohawk community, to the President of the Fabrique Assembly, Benoît Laganière, to the Co-Cathedral’s Executive Coordinator, Michel Couturier, to our cultural and touristic committee for its outstanding collaboration, and to our museologists for their expertise and their generous availability.”
As higher-profile cultural and religious attractions, the renovated Museum and the crypt solidify the Co-Cathedral of Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue’s status as an essential pilgrimage and tourist destination. Michel Couturier hopes that “area residents will make the Museum and the crypt their own, and that, along with tourists, they will discover there beautifully illustrated chapters of our history. The exhibit will elicit emotions in older visitors and allow younger ones to discover earlier eras.”
This revitalized heritage and cultural destination enhances the recently created touristic route Saint Lawrence River Shrines, to which the Co-Cathedral belongs.
The Co-Cathedral of Longueuil, inaugurated in 1887, was constructed in the shape of a Greek cross and in a neo-Gothic architectural style, and is crowned with a neo-Byzantine dome. In 1984, Quebec’s Ministry of Culture declared the structure a “classified heritage site.”
Saint Lawrence River Shrines is a group of five religious sites of worship in Montérégie, along the South Shore of the Saint Lawrence River: the Shrine of St. Kateri Tekakwitha in Kahnawake, the Co-Cathedral of Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue in Longueuil, the Marie-Rose Centre in Longueuil, the Sainte-Famille Church in Boucherville, and the Shrine of Saint-Marguerite-d’Youville in Varennes.
Michel Couturier, Executive Coordinator