Chapel

Explore our chapel and its artistic creations.

Our chapel is a genuine work of modern art.

Ceramics

The 12 murals were created in 1962 by Jordi Bonet, a celebrated Spanish-born sculptor and ceramist who lived in Mont-Saint-Hilaire.

The pieces had their first firing in Montreal and their final firing in Belgium. Each mural was mounted with the utmost care using scaffolds and ladders.

The work as a whole depicts the Christian’s spiritual journey towards God—Father, Son, and Spirit.

The words of Saint Paul are signposts along that road—an invitation to prayer for all people, a reminder of our deepest convictions that must be expressed in actions: the gift of love and of union with Jesus and with our brothers and sisters, no matter what the circumstances.

At the top is a triptych of very special importance, representing the quintessence of the Christian mystery. On the right, the Alpha and Omega are placed on the book of the Gospels. On the left, the Eucharist is represented by the stalks of wheat and bunches of grapes. And there between them is the very focus of contemplation itself, in symbols representing the Trinity: God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Crucifix

The Christ figure is made of beaten copper and was designed and produced in Warsaw by the artist Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz, in collaboration with Wojciech, in 1962. Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz’s brother, architect Zbigniew Jarnuszkiewicz, was at the time employed by chief architect Lucien Mainguy. The figure is officially listed with the National Heritage Board of Poland as a masterpiece of Polish art held outside the country.

Nailed to his Cross, the Christ figure seems austere, disturbing, awkward. But the kindness in his eyes draws our gaze irresistibly if we can fully commit to the act of seeing.

The altar

The sandstone altar was also made by Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz, this time working with his youngest brother Krystyn.

The twelve apostles are depicted on panels carved into the stone, each of them with the device used to torture him. Judas is there as well—on the back, while the sides bear the traditional symbols of the four Evangelists. The table of sacrifice is thus resting on those pillars of the Church.

The tabernacle

The tabernacle is the heart of the chapel. It was created by Montreal sculptor Normand Rondeau in 1997, in the form of a diptych with the left and right of the double door as the two panels. The materials are steel, aluminum, white gold, yellow gold, lacquerware, and wood.

The composition falls somewhere between figurative and abstract art, structured around two half spheres that suggest the earth and the cosmos, adrift in a chaos of living primal ooze and the infinite universe that the God of Genesis created. Revolving around these two forms is a world of symbols, archetypal images drawn from the Old and the New Testament.

Sanctuary Lamp

Like the tabernacle, the sanctuary lamp is by Montreal sculptor Normand Rondeau, who made it in 1998.

The base of the lamp is an elongated upright rectangle whose streamlined form and clean lines evoke an ancient stele. The materials are steel, aluminum, white gold, copper, bronze, and wood. In its place at the front of the chapel, it establishes a fortunate link to the works there—Jordi Bonet’s large ceramic mural and Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz’s beaten-copper Christ figure.

Stained Glass

The stained-glass windows were produced by Ferland and Dionne in 1962 and depict a boat, a fish, a dove, and a set of scales—all symbols of an infinitely trustworthy spiritual path—the Church, the Christ, the Spirit, and the Father.

The boat: they who believe know, through their faith in the one who set them on the seas, that however battered they may be by the storms of life, they will never founder. Christ comes to them in the storm and says, “It is I; be not afraid.” (Matthew 14:27).

The fish: a reminder of the Church’s apostolic fecundity promised by its apostles. “I will make you fish for people,” says Jesus to Peter, and thus to the entire Church. (Matthew 4:19)

The dove: symbol of peace given by the Holy Spirit; Christ’s supreme legacy. The Church, through Christians, passes it on to the world.

The scales: a reminder of the values of the Church that are essential to keeping our world in balance—justice and truth.

Research by Claire des Rivières, first head of the Ursuline Spirituality Centre from 1962 to 1965

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