March 22, 2013

Faith-based exhibits, music in Montreal


---- — MONTREAL — Faith-inspired visits abound north of the border. 

Here are some upcoming museum and musical events at Montreal-area religious institutions.


Musee des Hospitalieres de l’Hotel-Dieu de Montreal offers an intimate visit of medical artifacts and religious art of Montreal’s first hospital.

The permanent exhibit explores the work of Paul de Chomedey and Jeanne Mance, New France-era immigrants who helped establish Montreal’s first hospital and provide training for nuns who would work as nurses.

The current temporary exhibit, “From Metsys to Pellan: Artistic Treasures of the Hospitaller,” offers a rare look at some exquisite artifacts from the vast 20,000-piece collection of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph. On display are works by Montreal painter and church decorator Joseph-Charles Franchere and Quebec sculptor Alfred Laliberte.

Musee des Hospitalieres de l’Hotel-Dieu is at 201 Pine Ave. W. Admission costs $6 for adults. Call (514) 849-2919 or visit for details.


Old Montreal’s Notre Dame de Bon Secours Chapel and the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum offers an active chapel, a museum paying homage to Montreal’s first educator, special choral-music events and exhibitions, and an actual archaeological-dig site.

The ornate New France chapel dates to 1771 and is considered Montreal’s oldest. A choral concert — “Clavecin en Concert: Violas of Voix Humaines,” which offers a sampling of Dowland, Jenkins, Byrd, Hume and Taverner — is planned on Friday, April 12.

The Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum’s latest exhibition is “Drawing French America: Historical Illustrations of Francis Back.” Back was a Montreal artist who sketched and illustrated scenes of New France.

Admission to the museum costs $10 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, and $5 for those 6 to 12 years old. The museum is at 400 St. Paul St. E. For more information, call (514) 282-8670 or visit


Notre Dame Basilica, Old Montreal’s Neo-Gothic stunner, hosts a number of choral concerts and guided tours.

The basilica offers 30-minute choral concerts by visiting choirs and orchestras from throughout Canada and the Northeast. Each concert is free with the admission price.

Upcoming concerts include the Fox Chapel Area High School Orchestra, a string orchestra from Pittsburgh, at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 27.

From Massachusetts, the Northampton High School Choir will perform classical choral literature at 11:30 a.m. Friday, April 5. 

Also on April 5, a performance by the James Caldwell High School Choir from New Jersey is set for 1:30 p.m. The choir specializes in the music of the Renaissance, as well as music from the 20th century, according to a press release. 

Next is a performance by the Mamaroneck High School Concert Choir and Chamber Orchestra at 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 12.

The basilica’s ongoing multimedia show, “And Then There was Light,” continues to be one of the best ways to view the facility. The show incorporates projected images onto screens and curtains to tell the story of the Sulpician Brothers’s quest to build a New France church. The show is usually held evenings Tuesdays through Saturdays, except for certain holiday dates. Admission costs $10 for adults.

The basilica also hosts guided tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, until 3:30 p.m. Saturdays and from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Sundays. Daily tours cost $5 for adults. 

The basilica is at 110 Notre Dame St. W. For information, call (514) 842-2925 or visit


St. Joseph’s Oratory offers a number of springtime events as well as a new chapel.

The chapel in the basilica was dedicated to St. Andre Bessette earlier this month. The furnishings were donated by Montreal’s Grey Nuns, or the Sisters of Charity of Montreal. The chapel is now open for visits.

Continuing through Sunday, April 14, the Oratory Museum highlights an exhibition dedicated to the animals of the nativity. The space also pays tribute to Brother Andre, the oratory founder who was canonized a saint in 2010. Museum admission costs $4 for adults.

The oratory also presents ongoing 15- and 30-minute carillon-bell recitals at noon and 3 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; at noon and 2:30 p.m. Saturdays; and at 12:15 and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. 

Free 30-minute organ recitals are also held at 3:30 p.m. Sundays. 

In addition, the Petits Chanteurs du Mont Royal boys’ choir accompanies the basilica High Mass, which is celebrated at 11 a.m. every Sunday. 

St. Joseph’s Oratory is at 3800 Queen Mary Road. Call (514) 733-8211 or visit for details.

Steven Howell is the author of Montreal Essential Guide, a Sutro Media iPhone travel app available at