Find of The Month – Notre-Dame Auxiliatrice

Every month, an object from the heritage bequest by the Augustinian community is selected by the museum storage facility and archives center teams. Featured this month: a religious statuette from the 17th or 18th century.


Notre-Dame Auxiliatrice
Artist unknown
Wood and paint
17th or 18th century
© Collections du Monastère des Augustines, Hôtel-Dieu de Québec

This statuette depicting Notre-Dame Auxiliatrice (Our Lady Help of Christians), which we recognize thanks to the sceptre she holds in her hand, would have been used for the processions in honour of the Virgin Mary, which took place monthly at the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec monastery. Although we do not know the exact date on which it was made, oral tradition tells us that the statuette was saved from a fire that ravaged the monastery in 1755.

Procession of nuns in honour of the Blessed Virgin at the Hôpital général de Québec, around the 1950s. (HG-A-26.16.1.1.5)
Fonds Monastère des Augustines de l’Hôpital Général de Québec
© Archives du Monastère des Augustines

The Cérémonial[1]— a 1935 book featuring the rules observed for ceremonies and other religious rituals—describes that the procession of the Blessed Virgin is held on the first Sunday of the month as well as on the feast days dedicated to it. A set of gestures and songs are performed during this procession. The postulants, novices and professed sisters participate and follow each other in rank. At the beginning of the procession, a nun holds a cross. Two others each hold a candlestick. On ordinary days when the procession is held, the officiate carries the statue of the Blessed Virgin. During the celebrations of the Blessed Virgin, the superior or her assistant, depending on the class of the said festival, carries this statue. The processions in honour of the Virgin Mary were part of the Augustine Sisters rituals until the Second Vatican Council.

Procession of nuns in honour of the Blessed Virgin at the Hôpital général de Québec, around the 1950s. A nun holds a processional cross and two postulants each hold a candlestick. (HG-A-26.16.1.1.1)
Fonds Monastère des Augustines de l’Hôpital Général de Québec
© Archives du Monastère des Augustines

At the Monastère de Roberval, for example, such a procession took place every first Sunday of the month. On these occasions, the nuns met and walked throughout the various floors of the monastery to bless the building and its occupants. The Mother Superior was at the front of the procession and held a statuette of the Virgin Mary in her hands, surrounded by a blue veil. The procession also went to the hospital twice a year to bless the patients during the Feast of the Assumption on August 15 and during the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8.


[1] « Ordre pour les processions de la Sainte Vierge », in Cérémonial des Chanoinesses régulières hospitalières de la Miséricorde de Jésus de l’ordre de S. Augustin, 1935 (imprimatur), p. 39-40.