Located at 646 Richards Street, Vancouver, this historic place is valued for its association with Archbishop Augustin Dontenwill, of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate came to Canada from France in 1841 to promote Christianity to Indigenous people and settlers. While many of their contributions were celebrated in the past, they have more recently issued apologies for their role in the residential school system and for the part they played in the “cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious imperialism” towards Indigenous people.
Dontenwill was born in France and came to the US as a child, then was educated at the college that became the University of Ottawa. He became the first archbishop of Vancouver. The dedication of the religious order to their ministry is evident in the funding source for the construction of this church, which required a mortgage to be put against the order’s headquarters in France.
It is in this cathedral, of French and Quebec style, that masses were said in French for the Francophone community. It is credited as becoming the religious capital of Francophones in B.C.
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