St. Patrick’s Church

Coat of Arms for St. Patrick Marie Reine du Monde Catholic Church

The arms represent green mountains with a cross, a clover leaf for its Irish heritage, fleur de lys for French heritage, and a rose for English heritage.

Built in 1887

In 1825 Rev, Father Paré, pastor of St. Jacques, reported the arrival of 128 Irish Catholic settlers. Among these new arrivals were Thomas Lane and his wife, Margaret Woods with their 6 month old son, John. Margaret Wood’s brother, John, and his wife Bridget McArvill were in the group.

In 1832 the church claimed 220 Catholic families, 1,023 souls. They also noted there were 7 more Protestant families. (census reports decrie these numbers)

Masses in Rawdon were served by priests from St-Jacques de Montcalm, St-Paul de Joliette, l’Assomption and even a visiting priest, Father Moore of Montreal. 

To serve parishioners in Rawdon, priests were faced with travelling 12 miles on foot, a significant distance along a very narrow trail peppered with rocks and roots.

Communication between the Francophone priests and the Irish settlers was severely limited due to the language barrier. As the Irish congregation in Rawdon continued to increase they began to agitate for an English speaking priest to serve them.

In the 1824, the first mass in the Township was was celebrated in the home of John Carroll (Range 7 lot 17). Later masses were also held in the homes of John Green (range 4 lot 24 S) and John Daly (range 3 lot 24S).

The increasing numbers of Irish Catholic settlers in the Township, justified their request for Catholic services in the area. In 1832 the Bishop of Montreal agreed that Rawdon should have an Irish priest with the stipulation that a chapel be built to serve mass.

Church officials chose a site on Peter Green’s property (near the entrance to Domaine Lac Kildare) to have the chapel built. A cross was erected on the proposed site but nothing further was done as Green was the only member of the church in that area. 

Following a bitter exchange among the officials of the church it was finally agreed that a better choice for the chapel would be on the village site.

The Site of the 1st Chapel

A cross was erected and blessed on the new site on the 5th range. (The cemetery on Morgan Road).

In 1834 a chapel and residence had been erected on the lot. 

September 21, 1834 the pastor of St- Jacques, celebrated the first mass in the chapel.
 

In 1836 an English speaking priest was finally named by the bishop. Father Dennis McReavy was given charge of both Rawdon(St. Patrick’s) and St. Ambroise (St Gregory) but was not a resident priest.

Five years later, 1841, Father McReavy left and French priests were once again in charge of the parish. Baptisms, marriages and deaths were recorded in St. Jacques, St. Paul, or in Montreal depending on which priest was officiating. 

Rev. McReavy opened the first church register March 26, 1837. His last entry was November 1840.

There was now a lapse of 16 months without a priest for the Catholic community. Once again parishioners had to travel to St. Jacques for baptisms. Imagine travelling 12 miles, (approximately a 3 to 4 hour journey) along the primitive trail carrying a newborn!

In 1842 Rev. Joseph Vallée was became the first resident priest.

The parish was officially recognized in 1882. 

In 1884 church wardens recognized the need for a church to replace the little chapel that was now too small for the continually swelling congregation.

A campaign to raise support and funds for a church was issued. Although in such a new settlement money was scarce, all members of the parish were approached to give as much as their meagre funds allowed.

There were exceptions such as Anastasia Quinn (wife of Firmin Dugas) who donated a lot large enough to house a church and presbytery as well as monetary funds for construction. (The present site of the church and presbytery.)

In 1886 a stone church was built on this newly acquired property

The Apse in the New Church

A Closer View of the Altar

The First Communion in the New Church July 12, 1886

Mary Reine du Monde St Patrice

The 1st Wedding in the New Church 1955 12 22

Margaret Daly and Arnold McCabe

Presbyteries

Three presbyteries were built. The first one was built on the north west corner of the church lot. It was hastily built with little comfort due to cold and drafts.

In 1887 a new presbytery was built to replace the one built in 1845. The contract was awarded to Thomas Kite for the sum of $1,533.

This presbytery was moved to behind the 5th Ave. theatre before a final move to Canadiana Village.

There have been 3 presbyteries for St. Patrick’s Church. The first one was built near the original chapel in what is now the old Catholic Cemetery.

This second presbytery was built in the grounds of the church.

Moving the Presbytery
Standing on the right is Frank Wilmot, Provincial Police for many years.

When a new presbytery was built the second one became the bedow’s dwelling.There was a large room in this building for worshippers to leave their heavy outerwear and blankets while they were in church.

When this building became redundant it was moved to a site behind the 5th Ave. Theatre.

Once again, the presbytery was moved. This time it had found a home at Canadiana Village.

The Presbytery as it was in Canadiana Village.

Third Presbytery

This lovely structure is the 3rd and current presbytery. The interior has been highly renovated but the exterior has retained its original integrity. The grounds are also well maintained.