Montreal's oldest stone chapel

A Historical and Heritage gem

For over 350 years, the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel has made its way into the hearts of generations of visitors and pilgrims. As you step into the chapel, you will immediately notice the peaceful atmosphere and feel a palpable link to Montreal’s past.

The first chapel was originally a site of pilgrimage, but was destroyed in a fire in 1754. The current chapel, rebuilt in 1771-1773, was constructed directly on top of the first stone chapel whos foundations were recently uncovered.

In 2023, a major digitization operation was launched to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Chapel. This project will benefit visitors, researchers, historians, and other specialists in Quebec religious heritage. Click here to watch a report from Radio-Canada about the 250th anniversary of the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel. Do note the video is exclusivly in french.


Marguerite Bourgeoys’ Historic Chapel

As soon as you enter, you will see the two works by Ozias Leduc adorning the back wall of the chapel. One shows Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, founder of Montreal, who donated the land for the original chapel. The other is of Marguerite Bourgeoys, the first teacher of Montreal and founder of the Congregation of Notre-Dame, who, in 1655, enlisted the help of the initial settlers in her undertaking of building a pilgrimage chapel outside the city walls. This dream finally came true in 1675 with the erection of the first stone chapel. After a second trip back to France in 1672, Marguerite returned with the wooden statuette of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours for the chapel, which can still be seen today in the left altar in the chapel.

Along with the chapel, the little statue has an interesting history. Possibly the most spectacular moment for both was that fateful day in 1754 when fire ravaged the first chapel, and the statue and its reliquary were found intact among the smoldering embers.

Cradle of the English-speaking Catholic Community

Six years after the fall of Montreal to the British, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours welcomed new worshippers among the Irish and Scottish families of the British troops. It was from this community that money was raised to begin construction of Saint Patrick’s, Montreal’s first parish for the English-speaking community.

Under the choir loft, you can spot an intriguing painting, the gift of Bishop Bourget in 1849. This votive offering was a gift in thanksgiving for the end of the typhus epidemic. This disease, brought by unsanitary ships carrying contingents of Irish people fleeing the famine, struck the city hard in 1847. Another of his gifts, the statue by Charles Dauphin called Star of the Sea, was raised to the roof of the chapel overlooking the port.

The Sailors’ Church

As the port expanded in the 19th century, the chapel became a cherished place of prayer for sailors. The miniature ships suspended from the chapel's vaulted ceiling serve as a reminder of their faith in Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours.

Photo : Mathieu Rivard, 2022

Generations Leave Their Mark

Several generations have left their mark on the chapel by altering the decoration or carrying out renovations: Beaulieu's stained glass windows from 1906, the statues by LaPerle and Guardo, and Meloche's fresco on the ceiling from 1886, which was rediscovered in 1994.

The Tomb of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys

In 2005, the 350th anniversary of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours was commemorated in a special way. After an emotional ceremony, the "Mother of the Colony" returned to her chapel in the heart of Old Montreal, the neighborhood where she lived and where everyone appreciated her as a friend and advisor. Her mortal remains were placed in the left altar of the chapel beneath the statuette of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours. A few weeks later, the mortal remains of Jeanne Le Ber, the recluse of Montreal, were interred in the left wall of the chapel.


Photo : Poumérol Gérald, 2022
Photo : Touchette Yves, 2022

Virtual visit

Musée Marguerite-Bourgeoys
Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours

400, rue Saint-Paul Est
Métro Champ-de-Mars
514 282-8670
514 282-8672