Neighbourhood - Buildings

Saint Joseph's Oratory



History

Brother André Bessette, a porter at Notre-Dame College, was devoted to Saint Joseph since childhood. In 1904, he used donations he had collected to build a small wooden chapel in honour of that saint. Before long, a larger church was needed to handle the crowds, and construction of a basilica dedicated to Saint Joseph was launched.

A crypt church, begun in 1916 and inaugurated in 1917, held 1,000 people.

Construction of the upper basilica, originally designed to hold 10,000 people, began in 1924 but was suspended in 1931because of the Depression. At that time, the dome had not yet been built, and the structure was in danger of being damaged by the snow and freezing temperatures.

But construction resumed in 1937 with different architects and modified plans, and the work was finally completed in 1967. With more than two million visitors annually, the Oratory is not only a major place of pilgrimage but also a popular tourist attraction.

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, small chapel
1904
© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (28-1), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, benediction of the primitive chapel
October 19 1904
© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (28-6), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, expansion of chapel
Inconnu
1908
© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (29-6), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, expansion of chapel
1910
© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (29-7), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory site (before 1912)
Circa 1912
© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (30.1), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory with temporary addition to chapel
1915
© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (31-1), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, crypt

© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (30-21), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, chapel
Inconnu

© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (33-3), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, beginning of the construction of the dome
Frère Denis, c.s.c.
1937
© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (115-56), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, celebration in the unfinished basilica
1938
© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (86-1), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, current chapel
Nathalie Dumas

© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal, © Héritage Montréal

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View of Saint-Joseph's Oratory with statue of Saint-Joseph
Paul Simon

© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal(1.2.1.2 (00-00-00) PS (2), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, celebration in the basilica (1960)
October 13 1960
© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (86-68), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory organ
André Tremblay

© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (5.7.19 (95-03-03) AT), © Héritage Montréal