1955..midnight.Montreal, Canada, perfectly still night, freezing cold! Christmas Eve. St. Joseph’s Oratory, also known as Brother Andre’s Shrine. While most sensible people had come and gone back to their warm homes, two of us decided it would be nice to photograph the Shrine at the exact moment of Christmas Day, at least in the Eastern Time Zone. Exakta Varex SLR, pulled out of a parka, very quickly placed on the tripod, and probably exposed for a second or two with a 50mm Biotar f.2 lens wide open. Details are a bit fuzzy now. Oh yes, Kodachrome film, ASA 10. The 35mm.slide was scanned at 4000 dpi with a Canoscan 4000US scanner.
Now a bit more about the Basilica: Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, is a Roman Catholic basilica on the northern slope of Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
In 1904,the construction of a small chapel on the side of the mountain near Notre Dame College, was begun by Blessed André Bessette. Soon the growing number of visitors made it too small. and it was enlarged,but a still a larger church was needed and in 1917 one(called the Crypt) was completed – with a seating capacity of 1,000. In 1924, the construction of the basilica was started and it was finally completed in 1967. The Oratory’s dome is the third-largest of its kind in the world, surpassed only by the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro and Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The Basilica is the largest in Canada.
The basilica is dedicated to Saint Joseph, to whom Brother André credited all his reported miracles. These were mostly related to some kind of healing power, and many pilgrims (handicapped, blind, ill, etc.) poured into his Basilica, including numerous Protestants. On display in the basilica is a wall covered with thousands of crutches from those who came to the basilica and were healed. Pope John Paul II deemed the miracles to be authentic and beatified Brother André in 1982.
A reliquary in the church museum contains Brother André’s heart, which he requested as a protection for the basilica. More than 2 million visitors and pilgrims visit the Oratory every year. It is located at 3800, Queen Mary Road, at Côte-des-Neiges (near to Côte-des-Neiges metro station).
On October 19, 2004, the Oratory held its centennial. All the bells of all the churches on the island of Montreal were supposed to ring at 9:00 a.m., though not all churches participated. At 9:05 a.m., the basilica rang its bell in response and celebration.
In 2005, the Oratory was added to the List of National Historic Sites of Canada on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.
In 2013, a rooftop dome will become open to the public.
(Some of the above information was obtained from Wikipedia, particularly the Dates.)
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