Author Archives: Bernard Lauwyck

About Bernard Lauwyck

check also https://bernardlauw.wordpress.com

The church of Our Lady of Health in CASTLE BRUCE – its history

DEC 2014 125

Fr. Vrignaud was  the builder of Castle Bruce church  in 1953

Fr. Vrignaud is the builder of Castle Bruce church anno 1953

In 1863 Bishop Rene Poirier , third Bishop of Roseau (1859-1878) made a pastoral visit along the windward coast of the island.  He described the chapel at Castle Bruce  as  “a hovel of a chapel covered with straw.

In February 1872 the Sons of Mary Immaculate, or Fathers of Chavagnes, arrived in Dominica.  Bishop Poirier  undertook, at the age of 72, the long and tiresome ride to the windward side of the island in order to install the french Fathers in their respective parishes.  Having first visited La Plaine and La Roche, he rode as far north as Castle Bruce, where he was received with manifestations of unbounded joy.  He asked the faithful to restore their chapel and build a presbytery if they wished to have regular Holy Mass in their hamlet; until those buildings were erected they would have to go to St. Sauveur for Holy Mass.

In  June 1880,  Bishop Michael Naughten , fourth Bishop of Roseau  (1880-1900), paid his first pastoral visit to the windward district. The church of Rosalie was nearing completion; the  one at St. Sauveur was almost finished.  Castle Bruce was also visited on this occasion.   “As His Lordship does not mention any chapel, in that important hamlet, it is supposed that the chapel which existed there twenty years before had fallen into decay and never been reconstructed” quote from THE ECCLESIASTICAL BULLETIN OF THE DIOCESE OF ROSEAU  (EBR)

Many years passed and nothing seems to have been done : in 1927  regret is expressed that a church has not been built in Castle Bruce and that the parishioners have to cross two, sometime swollen,  rivers to attend Holy Mass at San Sauveur.

Bishop James Moris,  sixth Bishop of Roseau (1922- 1957) , saw the great need for   a church in Castle Bruce and  obtained from  Mrs. Johnson, the owner of the Castle Bruce Estate, 4 acres of  land for this purpose.

In 1940  he mentioned that  the faithful of Castle Bruce, over 700 in number, are gathering native lumber, in order to build a large chapel .

It took however the arrival of  Fr. Pascal Vrignaud  FMI to make this longtime dream come true. On August 12, 1952  Bishop Antoon Demets C.Ss.R. , Coadjutor Bishop of Roseau (1946-1954), blessed the corner stone of the new church at Castle Bruce. It was a grand occasion .

By July 1954 the church was almost completed but some doors & windows and interior fixtures still had to be completed. The church “solid,  all in mason work of 20″ or 18″ thickness and surmounted by a graceful tower was the pride of the people of Castle Bruce.” ( The Dominica Chronicle July 24, 1954)

The stones for the church came from the ruins of the old sugar factory of the  Castle Bruce estate. Fr.  Pascal got permission from the owner to remove and use them  (source : Dr. Lennox Honychurch).

As Fr. Pascal’s health failed him and he left to recuperate in France it became the task of Fr. Hilaire Maupetit FMI to complete the church.

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The Castle Bruce church, without the bell tower, after the damage caused by the earthquake of November 29, 2007

The Castle Bruce church from 1953 till 2007

The Castle Bruce church from 1953 till 2007

DEDICATION of the new chapel at Calibishie, July 2, 2017

by Bernard Lauwyck

reworked Calibishie Dedication SAM_4158 (2)The chapel in Calibishie was dedicated and solemnly blessed on July 2, 2017  by Bishop Gabriel Malzaire .                                     Its patrons are Sts Peter and Paul.

reworked Calibishie sanctuary SAM_4054 (2)

THE SANCTUARY OF THE NEW CHAPEL AT CALIBISHIE July 2017

This new place of worship replaces the previous building which was severely damaged by Hurricane Dean in 2007.

The sanctuary furniture was donated by the Joseph family from Calibishie through the initiative of Mr. Simeon Joseph. Countless people and several organisations made contributions to the construction of this chapel.

This was a community project which was started by Fr. Celsus Auguiste, built when Fr. Conan Shillingford was parish priest and  blessed during the administration of Deacan Alvin Knight.

I personally spent countless hours at Calibishie , day and nighttime, to move this project forward.

The Main contractor was Ronald Bedneau.

A lot of work was done by local free labour, coud-de-main.  We need to commend the parishioners of Our Lady of La Soie and especially the ones at Calibishie for their untiring efforts and devotion.

 

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Calibishie chapel Sept 2015

Coloured windows include representations of the patron saints Sts Paul and Peter and THE DIVINE MERCY of Christ.

click on  Calibishie chapel link on the right side (churches under construction) to find out more about the design and construction of this chapel.

June 2017 update on the new Portsmouth church

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June 2017  : windows and doors completed

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façade facing West with window depicting the DESCENDING DOVE, the two patron saints and the beautifully carved entrance doors in local mahogany timber ( donated by Jacqueline Douglas).PTH door designed bybeautiful stained glass windows PTH church

 

The history of the church at LA ROCHE part 2

P1030758On his pastoral visit in June 1860  Bishop Poirier stopped at La Roche / Victoria  where he found a neat little presbytery,  nearly finished, and a church under construction. 

“… the people of that quarter have done all the work without any assistance…” wrote  Bishop Poirier with admiration .   

The  church was built  while  Fr. Jacques Souquieres was the resident priest in the La Plaine district. As he was such a dedicated priest , now almost forgotten, I wanted to tell you more about him.

In 1850  Fr. Souquières was “curé et aumônier de  l’hospital”  (parish priest and chaplain of the hospital) on the island Terre de Haut,  Les Saintes.  (source :  LA FRANCE ECCLÉSIASTIQUE: ALMANACH  DU CLERGÉ ).

Born in the Diocese of Clermont, France, Fr. Jacques Souquières came soon after his ordination as a young priest to the French Antilles.

What exactly transpired during his ministry there, I could not find out but  in LES ARCHIVES NATIONAL DE FRANCE, we read that  “ SOUQUIÈRES, attaché au clergé de la Guadeloupe” was fired  (“Licencié” ) from his post on June 28, 1850.

Next we find him  in the Register of the parishes of St. John’s and St. Andrew’s as the successor to Father  Olivacce , who had to leave Portsmouth  in 1850 after two years ministry because of the climate.   It was actually Fr. Souquières who completed the church steeple in Portsmouth.    He also attended to the St. Andrew’s Parish until the arrival of Fr. De Lettre in October 1852.

On the 10th of January 1855, shortly befor his death, Bishop Monaghan, first Bishop of Roseau, paid his first visit to Portsmouth .  Fr. Jacques Souquieres had just returned from  a 6 months recuperation leave in  France as he  was suffering with  malaria fever.

Unable to bear the swampy air of Portsmouth any longer, Fr. Souquieres  volunteered to move to a healthier district in Dominica.

As the Bishop was anxious to have a resident priest in the isolated area of Dominica’s east coast, he asked Fr. Souquires to take in hand the whole eastern mission. The zealous missionary accepted the invitation and on April 13, 1855 he went there as resident priest,  despite  suffering from repeated attacks  of malaria fever.

From all records, he did all in his power to bring his parishioners nearer to God but recurrent malaria attacks left him so  exhausted that  he could attend only to the most urgent needs of the immense district under his care. After 4 years alone in the district,  an elderly French priest, Father Allouard, was sent to La Plaine to assist him .  But Fr. Allouard did not like his new post and left in the early months of 1860, after only a three months stay.

In November 1860, Fr. Souquieres became so exhausted that he had to resign his office . He left for France on May 23, 1861, broken in health, accompanied by  Bishop Poirier.  Hélas, too weak to travel, he died at sea on board the frigate LA SYBILLE, on the 7th of July 1861.   With his death his 12 years mission to the Antilles came to an end.

Bishop Moris described  him  “A saintly priest , burning with zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls ”, who “established the parish of la Plaine on a definite footing”.

 

 

March 31, 2017: The spire with the cross of the Roseau Cathedral has been removed.

P1220471 As the roof renovation works on the Roseau Cathedral progress, the cross and the timber posts on the bell tower were removed to be replaced with new materials.

I have always wanted to know more about the cross on top of the steeple.  It was unclear from documents who installed it and how tall it is.

What we found was both fascinating and somewhat disappointing and I will tell you more about this cross in an article, which will be posted on   https://bernardlauw.wordpress.com

Below is my photograph of the cross. The detailing is fascinating.

Cathedral crucifix on steeple March 2017

remove Roseau Cathedral spire in progress March 2017

March 28,  2017 : the cross at the top of the Roseau Cathedral is removed

removal of Roseau Cathedral in progress 29 March 2017

March 29, 2017   the removal of timber posts continues

Roseau cathedral steeple removed March 31 2017

March 31, 2017 : the  bell tower without spire