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La Prairie is Celebrating!

Stéphanie Manseau

Description : Macintosh HD:Users:smanseau:Desktop:photos article:IMG_9786.JPGFriday, November 18 marked the beginning of the celebrations of the 350th anniversary of La Nativité de la Sainte-Vierge Parish in La Prairie and the 175th anniversary of the church. During the very interesting program organized for this day, we had the pleasure of discovering Old La Prairie – from the church crypt to Saint-Ignace Street – and also visiting the Société d’histoire de La Prairie-de-la-Magdeleine where there is a beautiful scale model of the very first village of La Prairie. Our guides knew how to situate us in context – who today can remember that water from the river regularly flooded the church?

Among the guests of the parish team were, of course, Mgr Lionel Gendron and the Auxiliary Bishop Mgr Claude Hamelin from the Saint-Jean-Longueuil diocese; elected officials from the region (the parish covers La Prairie, Candiac, Saint-Philippe and Saint-Mathieu); Christine Zachary-Deom, a Mohawk chief representing the First Nations; and members of the religious communities who worked or still work in La Prairie such as: the Jesuits, the Sulpicians, the Sisters of Providence, the Sisters of Marie Reparatrice, the Frères de l’instruction chrétienne; and the Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, represented by Sister Lisette Drainville, who taught at the convent in La Prairie, and Sister Annette Émond.

Description : Macintosh HD:Users:smanseau:Desktop:photos article:IMG_9762.JPGAs he welcomed us to the church, the parish priest Mario Desrosiers gave an overview of the celebrations taking place throughout the coming year for the 350th anniversary. The opening Mass presided by Mgr Lionel Gendron was held that evening at 7:45 p.m. In May, a Mass presided by Cardinal Lacroix will commemorate the visit of Mgr Laval on May 25, 1676 to the seigneury of La Prairie. Father Desrosiers will mark the end of the celebrations with a Mass on December 3, 2017.

During the dinner served at Collège Jean de la Mennais, mother house of the Frères de l’instruction chrétienne, Mayor Donat Serres recalled the theme of the city’s celebrations La Prairie, tournée vers l’avenir (LaPrairie, looking to the future). Of course, this does not mean that we cannot look back. Brother Hervé Lacroix, Superior of the mother house, then recalled the presence and work of each of the religious congregations who were, at one time or another, part of the history of La Prairie. In fact, the contribution of the religious congregations was underlined by all the speakers. The theme of the parish celebrations is 350 ans de présence auprès des familles (350 years of presence to families). This continues today. City, parish, communities: the words “collaboration” and “partnership” were repeated in the speeches, bearing witness to the real experiences lived among these three entities.


At the beginning of the evening, the parishioners were invited to the square in front of the church for the first legacy of the 350th anniversary – the illuminating of the church tower. We were the first to see these lights that will change colour according to the time of year or the religious celebration. Mass began after this unveiling. During the opening procession, Sister Lisette Drainville presented school manuals of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. All parishioners were invited to a reception to end the day.

Sister Lisette Drainville stands in front of her former classroom at the old La Prairie convent.


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