Monday, December 5, 2011

Church Of The Holy Cross

   A fifteen minute drive down valley from the hot spring is the native community of Skatin'.
It was called Skookumchuck, or Skookumchuck Hot Springs for some time before reverting back to the original name of Skatin'.  Missionaries from the Mission Oblates of Mary Immaculate had been venturing into the area since the 1860's, and had established missions at Port Douglas and Skookumchuck. 
In 1905-1906 this church was constructed by the Oblate Fathers using local craftsmen.

This building has been designated a Canadian National Historic Monument.

The most dominating feature is the three spired facade.
To the so inclined it might symbolise the crucifixion of Christ.

Upon entering, the visitor may be overwhelmed by the highly ornate interior, the details of which were crafted by local artisans, from local cedar. The congregational area is separated from the alter by a colonnade, a common feature of early churches in Quebec. At the end of each pew is carved a fleur-de-lis, the symbol of Quebec. The symbol is repeated in the shape of the ceiling as well.
The many windows, imported from Italy, add a Gothic texture to the structure.

Looking to the rear, the curtained booths for confession, and round upper window.
I recall being taken through the church as a young boy, my most vivid memory of the event being the image of a child's casket, leaning up next to the doors.
A Skatin' elder stated they built this church not because they were devout catholics, "They were devoutly spiritual people, originally, they would have prayed on the land, where ever they were. It was a priest who taught them to pray in a church". There was never a resident  priest, one would travel in generally once a year and perform multiple weddings and baptisms.

In 2007 a restoration of the foundation was started, with extensive work done to eliminate rotten timbers. The work was filmed by PTV Productions, and a one hour documentary, Saving Places, was broadcast on the History Channel.
In 2009 Parks Canada entered into a cost sharing agreement, up to $202,000. The volunteers still have to raise at least another $250,000 to complete the conservation o the structure. If you would like to help save this historic monument, contact the Ama Liisaos Heritage Trust Society.

1 comment:

  1. It's a beautiful church. Haven't been inside yet.