Skip to main content

When the church was the hub of community life

Old sepia photograph, young girls, hands joined, all dressed in white stand on a house porch decorated with flags and religious accessories, the girls personify angels as they stand on each side of an altar of repose.

Altar of repose during Corpus Christi in 1946, Dorion

With its imposing presence in the heart of the village, the church offers a religious presence as well as a gathering place for the community. Our ancestors’ social and community life took place through the church. Loud auctions, political speeches, and news of current events took place on the church steps.

The church also bore the role of civil administrator as it held all civil records. Government decisions were announced by the priest during mass.

Old black and white photograph, long shot of a crowd of women surrounding a group of ecclesiastic dignitaries in front of a large stone church.

Regional meeting of the Cercle des Fermières in 1949, Saint-Lazare

It also supported and oversaw activities of secular groups and associations. The church supervised popular festivities that took place for patron holidays. These festivities evolved into parades and processions delighting the population.

Old black and white photograph, close-up of a young boy holding a cross and wearing sheepskin, standing next to a small sheep.

A child dressed as saint John the Baptist in Rigaud, 1895


It is also within the church that we find refuge during conflict and catastrophes. Its bell rings to announce local tragedies, accidents, fires, but also the end of wars. It brings protection and comfort during difficult times.

Old black and white photograph, long shot of a car driving on a flooded road bordered by trees above which a cross-topped banner reads: Pray for us.

Flooded Bois-Vert road (avenue Saint-Charles) in Vaudreuil around 1920