St. Norbert Church and Chapel - Article by The Sou'wester - July 10th

St. Norbert Church and Chapel - Article by The  Sou'wester - July 10th

Link:The Sou'wester - July10, 2017 - Article by Garwood Robb

St. Norbert Beautiful Church and Chapel

It’s a beautiful day for a walk in our neighbourhood. The St. Norbert neighbourhood that is.

Ever since I read Danielle Da Silva’s article about the St. Norbert Catholic Parish Church in The Sou’wester ("Mass, en Anglais," March 22, 2017) I wanted to visit it for myself. 

It truly is a beautiful old church established by Roman Catholic missionaries in 1857 and later, in 1989, declared a Manitoba Provincial Heritage site.

As you approach it walking east down De L’Eglise Avenue, it commands your attention just by its sheer size. It’s amazing that a building this large, hidden in the beauty of oak and maple trees is such a well-kept secret.

But there’s something else. As you stand and marvel at the creation of this beautiful church by people who had strength and determination, skill and the mastery of architecture but without the modern tools of today, turn around and look behind you.  

I found the most interesting thing in that part of the neighbourhood was not the church itself, but La Chapelle de Notre Dame du Bon Secours Saint Norbert. From a distance it looks like an unfinished, open-air church but walk up to it and it is stunning.

The little chapel, built by Father Noel Joseph Ritchot in 1870, has a history all its own, culminating in the Manitoba Act of 1870.

This chapel is only one of a few open air religious structures remaining in our province. The sculptures, fixtures and elaborate ceiling paintings reminded me of larger cathedrals, with just as much appeal. 

Though the painted ceilings are replicas of originals painted in 1880 by Constantin Tauffenbach, a German-born artist, they are awesome. The originals are stored in the church across the street.

As impressive as the parish church is at 80 Saint Pierre St., this little chapel commands attention at first glance.

Personally, I think it is equal to the strikingly beautiful, spired church and it deserves closer inspection.
If you haven’t wandered through the neighbourhood, past the well-manicured lawns and the well-cared-for homes to stand in awe at the white church it’s worth an evening walk.

Just don’t forget there’s a little chapel across the street that cries out for the attention it deserves.

Garwood Robb is a community correspondent for St. Norbert. Questions? Story ideas? Email him at [email protected]