The true heroes on birth days are mothers, a status all the more enhanced when the magical moment occurs in less than ideal conditions, like in a manger surrounded by livestock. So in recognition of this I toured a few depictions of Mother Mary throughout the city. Here’s the route I followed, purple line going one way, blue line coming back.
First stop was just inside the gates of St Vincent Hospital overlooking Lebretton Flats towards the Gatineau Hills. That’s where this statue of Mary stands in a small grotto.
in my last post I lamented not being able to cross over the pretty white bridge leading to New Edinburgh. I took a closer look at the map and discovered there was another way to gain access by following a path off Sussex Drive as shown on the above map. The plaque mounted on one of the steel supports tells us it’s the Minto Bridge, installed in 1900.
I was also able to ride along the well travelled and packed down Rideau River Trail as far as Beechwood Avenue. A little bumpy but well worth it.
The second depiction of Mary on our tour is this statue at the end of Avenue des Pères Blancs. The Pères Blancs is a Catholic Society of Missionairies of Africa whose scholasticate occupied the site of Parc Richelieu. They were expropriated by the city of Vanier when the province ordered the city to acquire more park land. This statue of the Virgin Mary left by the missionaries greets visitors as they enter the park.
Next stop – Notre Dame de Lourdes Grotto.
The surrounding context is quite a sight to behold. All around there are miniature shrines depicting the stations of the cross such as these.
Near the entrance to the site is this assemblage of miniature plaques giving thanks for various divine interventions. It is interesting to note the evolution of mini-plaque designs over the years.
UPDATE – Christmas 2019 – The original tour included a final stop back in Chinatown, where this painted icon of Mary and child was mounted outside the Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral. Hélas, it is no longer there.
Happy birthday JC, and way to go Mary!
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