Hand painted mural in the Church of Sainte Anne du Ruisseau.
The French Shore is a local designation for a stretch of the coastline of Nova Scotia, Canada, along the southern end of the province and running approximately from Pubnico through Yarmouth and up to Digby.
Back in the 1700’s, the original French settlers of Nova Scotia (the Acadians) were largely expelled by force because of the incessant wars between France and England. The English military decided they were a menace and could not be trusted to remain peaceful, hence they were sent away as far as Louisiana. Many of them only went as far as Massachusetts and the New England area and eventually (around 1767) some of them returned and settled along this coast. One of the first small group of families settled around Rocco Point and formed the first parish of Sainte Anne du Ruisseau. Being devouted Catholics, their first small chapel was built in 1784. In 1808 a larger one was built, which was destroyed by fire in 1900.The present church was built in one year, with the first Mass being celebrated that Christmas Eve.
Built in the shape of a cross, it features hand painted vaulted ceilings and original oil paintings.
Each steeple has a bell. In 1945, the one on the right rang for eight hours to celebrate the end of the war in Europe. The ringing fractured the bell, which was not repaired until 2001, and is now rung only on special occasions.
As the Acadians returned and slowly populated the area, a series of small villages grew up, each with it’s own church, designed and built by this dedicated group of farmers,fishermen, craftsmen and artists to whom their church was the heartbeat of their community and remains so today.
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