Arrival of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers in Quebec
Researched by Bernie Monaghan
Different religious communities displayed an interest in this beautiful spot: the Seminary of Quebec, the Brothers of Christian Instruction, the Benedictines, the Dominicans, the Oblates and finally the Blessed Sacrament Fathers. The Fathers before concluding an agreement with Valcartier Lodge, had visited several places and the question has been asked why they established themselves at Valcartier instead of elsewhere.
Since 1925, the Blessed Sacrament Fathers, who had a Juvenate at Terrebonne, felt the need to acquire another vocational school. Consequently they visited a number of locations such as, Montmagny, Three Rivers, Cacouna, without taking any decision. But in 1949 the need became pressing, they had to either enlarge the establishment at Terrebonne or found a second Juvenate elsewhere. They were particularly interested in the house Charles de Foucault, the College of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart at Victoriaville, the Hospital of the Sacred Heart on St. Louis Road the Jobin property at Cap-Rouge, at a hospital in Matane, at a property west of Montmerency Falls, the Hospice St. Denis Montreal and at Valcartier Lodge. The latter seemed to them to be too expensive, without taking into account that the road was not yet paved and quite bumpy. Since all the visits were unsuccessful an architect was asked to draw up plans to enlarge the seminary at Terrebonne in 1950.
In the autumn of 1950, even though the construction at Terrebonne had begun, the idea of a second seminary was still alive. Some new sites were visited, such as the Chateau Bonne Entente, no positive results marked these steps taken by the Blessed Sacrament Fathers until a favourable project appeared on the horizon in St. Romuald, in 1953.
A vast movement was launched by the Cure of the time in view of establishing a Seminary in St. Romuald the Blessed Sacrament Fathers seemed to be interested and negotiations were undertaken to buy the house of the Grey Nuns. This was granted to them in principle in January 1954, at a cost of $75,000. The cure of St. Romuald, Father Dupont, had always been a great friend of the fathers and offered them $25,000 towards the purchase of this house. Every thing was in readiness all was needed was the approbation of the Archbishop, Mgr. Maurice Roy. The great project fell through when it was rumoured that Valcartier Lodge was for sale at the price of $105,000. The Father General (The Right Rev. Dodefroid Speekman, a Dutchman) who was on visit to Canada, went to see the site at Valcartier, on the l0th of September, when the autumnal colours were at their best. Everything pleased him and he was sorry that they had undertaken the project at St. Romuald. The next day found the General in the office of Mgr Roy who told him that he could buy St. Romuald. As a result the General asked him permission to change the locale, permission that he obtained and the contract for the purchase of Valcartier Lodge was signed on September 29, 1954.
The construction of the domain was not finished and it was necessary to invest a considerable sum to achieve it. Classrooms, dormitories and study halls were completed, and even an "Automatic Sprinkler System" was installed against the risk of fire.
Thus in September 1955, the Seminary of Mont St-Sacrement was ready to receive its first students.
On the 18th of February 1955, the first Superior, Rev. Edouard Bussieres received the mandate of office. He personally followed the execution of the final works, so that the seminary could greet its first students on September 7, 1955. The official benediction presided by Mgr. Lionel Audet, took place one month later. In May 1963, Father Jean-Marie Chaloux, second Superior, undertook a project of expansion including the refectory, kitchen, gymnasium, auditorium, dormitory, classrooms and laboratory.
In the course of the first ten years of existence the seminary welcomed over 1200 boys, aspirants to the priesthood and religious life. Some of them are actually teaching at the Mount. Some have become priests .
HERE IS A LIST OF THE SUPERIORS AT MONT ST-SACRAMENT
Rev. Fabher Edouard Bussieres 29 August 1955 to 26 August 1960
Rev. Father Jean-Marie Chaloux 26 August 1960 to JUNE 1966
Rev. Father Jean-Guy Gaudreau 10 June 1966 to June 24 1969
Rev. Father Conrarl Belanger 24 June 1969 to 1979
Rev. Father Camille Gagnon 1979 to 1982
In 1982 the Fathers gave up the direction of the Mount and the educational work was carried on by the teachers, who rented the school. In 1984 it was purchased from the Fathers for the sum of $625,000. A large grant has been received by them from the Provincial Government enabling them to construct an additional gymnasium and add another storey to the South-East wing.
In 1984 they began accepting both boys and girls and now have about 600 students. The Director from 1982 has been Mr. Denis Delamarre who lives quite close to the seminary. Mr. Delamarre bought and resides in John Cosgrove's house. This is the situation of Mont St Sacrement at this writing in 1984.