Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard Church

1845, chemin du Village


A heritage building

We are in front of the Saint-Adolphe church, built in 1914. The City council of Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard has decreed the identification of the Saint-Adolphe church as a heritage building in April 2023. The building has since been listed in the Quebec Cultural Heritage Register in recognition of its historical, architectural, social and artistic values. 

The church stands at the heart of the historic core of Saint-Adolphe d’Howard. The building is located parallel to Chemin du Village (route 329), between the town hall and the presbytery. A cemetery is located a little further south. There is a grotto dedicated to Note-Dame-de-Lourdes. 

Photo : View of the main facade of the Saint-Adolphe church, 2023.

Source : Société d’histoire de Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard, Tom Silletta photographer.


The architectural value

The church of Saint-Adolphe is part of the religious architecture movement of the second half of the 19th century. Its neoclassical influence can be seen in the symmetry of its openings, its arched windows with transoms, and its central tower partially incorporated in the building.

The church offers genuine architectural interest. The all-wood building has a rectangular plan, with walls clad in six-inch-wide rebated boards, factory-painted white and laid vertically. The church is topped with a Canadian-style tin roof, as blue as the sky.  The bell tower is set in a projecting tower above the central facade, topped by a campanile pierced by semicircular arches, an ornamental spire, a cross and a rooster. The latter was commissioned from tinsmith Claude Huot on the occasion of the parish's centennial in 1983.

Photo. Side view of the church with its openings in hemicycle and its bell tower, 2023

Source :  Christiane Brault photographer.


Parish priest Adolphe Jodoin's contribution

Saint-Adolphe church owes its name to Adolphe Jodoin, former curate of Saint-Jérôme parish, alongside parish priest Félix-Antoine Labelle. In 1874, Abbé Jodoin was appointed parish priest of Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts. A follower of Curé Labelle's doctrine on the benefits of colonization, Father Jodoin encouraged his parishioners to settle in the newly-created Howard Township. He also lobbied the Quebec government to open a road between his parish and Lake Saint-Joseph.

Photo : Father Adolphe Jodoin (1836-1891), parish priest of Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts.

Source : Société d’histoire et de généalogie des Pays-d’en-Haut       


The first parish chapel

In 1882, the Reverend Adrien Gauthier was appointed mission parish priest. He stayed for three years. He extended the chapel to accommodate eight rooms. The initial plan provided by Curé Labelle called for the presbytery on the first floor and a chapel on the upper floor, which also served as a school. The parishioners had an altar and benches installed. The chapel was even partly covered with wooden slats. At the time, the mission was home to 80 families living on a large tract of land. 

In 1885, the mission came under the care of the Pères de compagnie de Marie, who ran the Monfort agricultural orphanage. Father Fleurance or his representatives celebrated mass at Saint-Adolphe.

Photo : The first chapel, built in 1877, includes a first altar created by carpenter and sculptor Joseph Pépin, a craftsman at the Atelier des Écores de Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, where orders for church decorations and ornamental ensembles were made in the 19th century. 

Source: Parish archives.


The arrival of Abbé Pierre-Damien Filion

The first resident parish priest of Saint-Adolphe was Abbé Pierre-Damien Filion. Under his leadership, civil erection of Saint-Adolphe d'Howard parish is granted on February 14, 1913. The representative of the Diocese of Ottawa, François-Xavier Brunet, then authorized him to build a church.

Photo : Abbé Pierre-Damien Filion (1865-1936)

Source : Parish archives.


The church in 1919

The trustee, in charge of raising the money to pay the workers and authorizing progress on the church, hired contractor Louis Corbeil, who entrusted supervision of the work to Édouard Lorion. Workers were hired by the day, 10 hours a day, and paid according to their skills. The total cost of the church was $6,598.

Postcard of the Saint-Adolphe church, 1919.

Source : Bibliothèque et archives nationales du Québec, La Presse collection.


Restoration of Saint-Adolphe church

Under the leadership of parish priest Maurice Brisebois, and thanks to contributions from the Quebec government, donors and numerous parishioners, the church was completely restored in 1997. The project cost $240,000 to restore the exterior and $148,000 to refurbish the interior.

Article by André Trudel published in La Presse, May 18, 1997.


Guido Nincheri's stained-glass windows

Renowned for its artistic merit, in 1938 the church obtained stained glass windows created in the workshop of master glassworker, Guido Nincheri. This acquisition was made possible thanks to contributions from the parish priest, parishioners, MP Georges Héon and Italian patron, and visiting tourist, Peter Viotti.

Photo : One of the ten stained-glass windows acquired by Saint-Adolphe parish and created in Guido Nincheri's workshop. 

Source : Christiane Brault, 2023.


Guido Nincheri

Guido Nincheri studied at the Florence Academy of Fine Arts. In 1914, he left for England with his new wife. The outbreak of the First World War forced them to stay in Boston, where he won a design contract for that city's Opera House. The couple later emigrated to Canada, and the glassmaker opened a workshop in Montreal where, under his direction, he and his apprentices made over 2,000 stained-glass windows. He died in 1973 at the age of 88.

Photo : Guido Nincheri (1885-1973)

Source: The Art and Passion of Guido Nincheri.


Jean-Paul Mousseau's altar piece

The parish of Saint-Adolphe boasts a magnificent altarpiece designed by the painter Jean- Paul Mousseau. In the early 1960s, to commemorate the death of his wife, William Francis Shepherd, who owned a vacation home on Lac Cornu in Saint-Adolphe, commissioned the artist to create an altarpiece for the chapel of Boys Farm in Shawbridge, where Shepherd was the director. The project was never realized, and the work ended up in the Saint-Adolphe church around 1970. It was finally acquired by the parish in 1982.

Photo : Altarpiece created in the 1960s by artist Jean-Paul Mousseau.

Source : Société d’histoire et de généalogie des Pays-d’en-Haut, Tom Silletta photographer

Jean-Paul Mousseau

Photo : A well-known Quebec and Canadian painter, Jean-Paul Mousseau, co-signatory of Refus Global, was a friend of Paul-Émile Borduas and Jean-Paul Riopelle. Two years before his 1962 mural for Hydro Québec's head office in Montreal, Mousseau created this stained-glass altarpiece, using colored resins on fiberglass in several layers. This work was one of his first experiments using this method. Mousseau died in 1991 at the age of 64.

Today, the altarpiece can be seen in the small Heritage Museum in the sacristy at the back of the church. The museum tells the story of the first settlers, and features artifacts and photographs.

Jean-Paul Mousseau (1927-1991)

Source : Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, La Presse collection, Henri-Paul Talbot, photograph, 1964. 

Extract of
Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard Heritage Circuit

Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard Heritage Circuit image circuit

Presented by : Municipalité de Saint-Adolphe-d'Howard
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