It is now signed: the Ursuline Monastery of Trois-Rivières is now owned by the city of Trois-Rivières. This endowment from the corporation of the Canadian Union of Nuns of the Order of Saint Ursula was made official in a ceremony that brought together several Ursuline sisters from the city.
“October 10, 1697, was a fine day for the arrival of the Ursulines at Trois-Rivières, the annals tell us. The Ursulines in particular devote more than 300 years to education in Trois-Rivières. They shared their flame and their knowledge. May 25, 2022 is another beautiful morning. There was great joy among the population in 1697. Today it is for us, the Ursulines, that she is wonderful. We could not have made a better choice for the future of our monastery”, says Sister Yvette Isabelle.
This purchase is also the first action resulting from the heritage policy adopted in 2021. It was also one of the main orientations identified there, as the Ursuline Monastery was identified by the population as the heritage most representative of Trois-Rivières during the consultations held for the formulation of the policy.
“This is a turning point in the history of Trois-Rivières,” said Mayor Jean Lamarche. This place is steeped in three centuries of Ursuline involvement in the community. You have contributed to the education of many generations. We make sure that part of our history is kept alive and preserved for future generations. †
The city of Trois-Rivières plans to preserve, improve and animate the site in accordance with the values of the Ursuline religious business. The cost of maintaining the infrastructure is estimated at $400,000 per year.
“Normally it is not part of a city mission to acquire these types of buildings, but at some point we also have a responsibility,” added the mayor. The Ursuline Monastery is the cornerstone of the old Trois-Rivières. We had to make room for that in our finances. I think it’s a good move we’ve made for our citizens, even if we’re deviating a bit from the City’s mission as we know it. †
“We have agreed to respect certain themes, such as education, health and culture. We want to do it with respect. There are currently no specific projects, but we know that several partners are very interested in occupying the place. We also don’t want to distort the place. Now that we’ve signed the deed, we can negotiate with people. Several have approached us informally. The Quebec Minister of Culture and Communications has also sent us a clear signal to let the government participate in the development of the site,” he specifies.
In particular, the Ursuline Museum and the Archives will continue their activities and the Collège Marie-de-l’Incarnation will continue to occupy certain spaces, as long as it retains its teaching mission.
“To us today is a moment that brings back memories. These are moving and moving times, but we feel good about the gesture we are making today. There is no better partner than the City for the sustainability of our monastery. We are aware of the gift we are giving to the city, but also of the gift that the city is giving us to ensure the sustainability of the Ursuline Monastery,” emphasizes Sister Cécile Dionne, Superior General of the Canadian Union of Nuns of the Order of Saint Ursula.
The ceremony ended with a musical performance by the group Les Trifluviennes. Manon Brunet, Fabiola Toupin and Camille Bourgeois, all former students of the Collège Marie-de-l’Incarnation, paid tribute to the legacy of the Ursulines in the territory of Trois-Rivières.
After establishing the first school for young girls in Trois-Rivières and the first hospital in the town in 1697, the Ursulines pioneered the social and educational development of the region. In 2017, the Ursuline monastery complex was classified as a heritage site.