St. Joseph Oratory - St. Joseph Oratory information and pictures
St. Joseph Oratory (Oratoire St. Joseph)
is a site of natural, authentic serenity lying at the heart of well-kept gardens. The oratory was founded by Brother Andre of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1904. He got the inspiration from St. Joseph, the patron saint of Canada. Followers of Andre deem him to have been an incredibly confident and daring man, who made an impossible dream come true. Today, the oratory is open all year round in line with Catholic traditions. St. Joseph Oratory was designed in Italian Renaissance style by architects Dalbé Viau and Alphonse Venne.
The Basilica’s octagonal copper dome is one of the biggest in the world and it measures 44.5m (146 ft) high and 38 m (125) wide. The 300 hundred steps are climbed by 2 million visitors every year and the basilica can seat 3,000 people.
Those currently running this site of worship and tourist attraction insist that they adapt traditional religious beliefs to the realities of the modern world. The oratory accepts all kinds of visitors, not just Catholics. Tolerance and sensitivity to all travelers are guaranteed. The oratory adheres to the founding virtues of peace, love, justice, and respect to all people. You can come alone, with family or friends. There are several kinds of guided tours, so you are sure to be offered the one that is most suitable for you. The tours inform of the life and activities of the founder of the oratory, Andre. There is also a tour on music and spirituality. This tour takes half a day and centers on religious music and songs. A good option for true believers is the prayer-tour of the shrine. There are also many artistic and cultural highlights to feast one’s eyes on here.
The church museum has a reliquary which contains the heart of Brother Andre. He credited miracles to Saint Joseph, most of which related to a kind of healing power. The basilica was visited by many ill, blind, and handicapped pilgrims, including many Protestants. Today, over two million pilgrims and tourists visit the St. Joseph Oratory each year. One of the basilica’s walls is covered with crutches belonging to pilgrims who visited the Oratory and were allegedly healed. In 1982, Pope John Paul II beautified Brother Andre, deeming that miracles performed were authentic. The saint was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI.
Of course, the site has been made accessible for visitors with disabilities. You can borrow a wheelchair to make your visit easier and more pleasant. To do this, visitors must go to the entrance to the visit chapel, give an ID document to the staff member at the information desk across from the Office of Information and Blessings, and return the wheelchair at the same place at the end of the visit so they can get their ID back.
There is a charge of five Canadian dollars for all vehicles at the parking lot to enhance the security and maintenance of the area. This is only for visitors, however. People who are coming just to pray or attend Mass are exempt. Parking is free on Sundays.
St. Joseph Oratory held its centennial in 2004. All churches found on the island were supposed to ring their bells, but not all participated. The Oratory became a National Historic Site of Canada in 2004, which coincided with its 100th anniversary.
The most memorable part of the visit is the aura of the place. It is as if no time at all has passed since the site was founded by the proverbial Andre. It is like his virtues and values have been immortalized here to be sustained and cherished by future generations.
St. Joseph Oratory, Montreal
Where is the St. Joseph Oratory: 3800 Chemin Queen-Mary
How to get to St. Joseph Oratory: Subway Blue line to Côte-des-Neiges
Opening hours: Daily
Visit the St. Joseph Oratory official web site here
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