Written on: September 26, 2018
Many of you have been to Montreal, especially the old city, so I won’t describe all the specific places I visited on my trip this past summer. Instead I’ll focus on two that struck me and are most closely related to us.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has a wonderful pavilion devoted to Canadian art. Of course I was most interested in the hall called “Founding Identities 1700-1880,” the era of Marguerite. A sparkling display of Canadian silver caught my eye. Imagine my shock when in the middle of a display case I saw our Grey Nun crucifix! It was the original one, not the smaller one we received later.
So that’s another reason to hang onto your crucifix; it’s an historical artifact.
A visit to Notre Dame Basilica on a rainy morning found me in the gift shop, browsing souvenirs after my tour of the basilica. It’s a small space but full of medals, rosaries, holy cards, statues—the usual trappings of a church gift shop. Remembering that the day before, at the much larger shop at St. Joseph Oratory, I saw nothing of St. Marguerite, I made a point to look around for a holy card, a statue, a medal — something, anything. I saw nothing, so I asked the clerk if they had anything of Marguerite d’Youville. When she said no, I expressed my surprise.
“She’s from Montreal,” I said. “I thought you would have something.”
For half a second, she looked confused. Then her face cleared, and she said in triumph,
“She’s not a saint.”
“She is,” I replied. “She was canonized in 1990.”
“No, she isn’t.”
“She is. I was there.”
“No, she isn’t.”
How do you respond to something like that?
I asked if her supervisor was there, or who I should contact. She referred me to an address that I think was the rectory, but I decided to let it go.
The gift shop is so small that, even though we were talking in conversational tones, everyone heard us. Now everyone who was there knows that Marguerite d’Youville is a canonized saint—that is, if they believe me.
One of the things we talked about at Chapter was spreading the word about St. Marguerite and her charism. I guess we still have a lot of work to do.