Just to the east of Marché Bonsecours, Notre Dame de Bon-Secours Chapel is called the Sailors' Church because of the special attachment that fishermen and other mariners have to it; their devotion is manifest in the several ship models hanging from the ceiling inside. There's an excellent view of the harbor from the church's tower.
The first building, which no longer stands, was the project of an energetic teacher named Marguerite Bourgeoys, and built in 1675. Bourgeoys had come from France to undertake the education of the children of Montréal; later on, she and several other teachers founded the Congregation of Notre-Dame, Canada's first nuns' order. The pioneering Bourgeoys was canonized in 1982 as the Canadian Church's first woman saint and in 2005, for the chapel's 350 birthday, her remains were brought to the church and interred in the left side altar.
A restored 18th-century crypt houses the museum. Part of it is devoted to relating Bourgeoys' life and work, while another section displays artifacts from the archaeological site under the chapel, including ruins and materials from the earliest days of the colony and an Amerindian fire pit dated to 400 B.C.
- © Frommer's 2013
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