Statue of Curé Antoine Labelle
Sculptor: Olindo Gratton
Source: Société d’histoire de la Rivière-du-Nord, Museum collection; photograph by Mario Fallu, 2016
This statue was carved by sculptor Olindo Gratton, a native of Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec, not long after the death of Antoine Labelle. It depicts the “colonizing priest.” In his right hand, he holds a map of the Laurentians, the northern territory where he promoted settlements. With his left, he points downward to the ground, a tree trunk and an axe, representing the clearing of lots in the Laurentian woodlands. “Emparons-nous du sol,” “Let us seize the soil,” was the curé’s motto. Of the 50 statues cast from the initial mould, only a few have survived intact.