Playing the Indian Card

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How the Cross Came to Be on Mount Royal

From the Jesuit Relations, the annual report of the Jesuit missionaries back to France, volume 24, 1643:

“God has shown us the care that he has for this settlement, by defending it this winter against the waters, which, in an uncommon flood, threatened it with total ruin, if he had not, by his providence, stayed their course. They covered, for a little while, the meadows and the places near the fort; at the sight of this inundation, which was continually increasing, every one withdraws into the safest place. They have recourse to prayers. Monsieur de Maisonneuve feels himself inwardly prompted to go and plant a Cross at the edge of the little river, — at the foot of which the settlement is built, and which was beginning to overflow, — in order to entreat his divine Majesty to confine it in its usual place, if that should be for his glory; or to acquaint them with the place where he wished to be served by those Gentlemen of Montreal, — to the end of establishing the principal settlement there, in case he permitted that the waters should come to destroy the one that had just been started. He forthwith proposed this sentiment to the Fathers, who found it good; he writes it on a piece of paper, has it read publicly, so that they might recognize the purity of his intention; goes to plant the Cross, which the Father blesses, at the edge of the river, with the writing which he attaches to the foot. He returns, with a promise; which he makes to God, to bear a Cross himself alone upon the mountain of Mont-Royal, if he please to grant his request. The waters nevertheless continued to pass beyond, God wishing to prove their faith. They were seen to roll great waves, one after the other, fill the moats of the fort, and rise even to the gate of the settlement, — seeming liable to swallow up everything, without remedy. Everyone surveys this spectacle without agitation, without dread, without complaint, — although it was in the heart of the winter, at full midnight, and at the very time when the Nativity of the Son of God is celebrated on earth. The said Sieur de Maisonneuve does not lose courage and hopes soon to see the effect of his prayer, which was not long delayed: for the waters, after having stopped a little while at the threshold of the gate, without swelling further, subsided by degrees, put the inhabitants out of danger, and set the Captain to the fulfillment of his promise.
He employs the workmen, without delay, — some to make the road, others to cut the trees, others to make the cross. He himself takes a hand in the work, in order to encourage them by his example. And the day having come, — it was Epiphany which they had chosen for this ceremony, — they bless the cross; they make Monsieur de Maisonneuve first soldier of the cross, with all the ceremonies of the Church. He loads it upon his shoulder, although very heavy; walks a whole league, freighted with this burden, following the Procession; and plants it on the summit of the mountain. Father du Perron said Mass there, and Madame de la Pelletterie was the first to receive communion there."

Wouldn't it be meaningful to have a procession following the route every Epiphany?

No comments: