Category Archives: DESTROYED by hurricane MARIA 2017

post hurricane MARIA repairs on schools

After the passage of hurricane Maria, our priority was to repair our schools  a.s.a.p so that the education of our children could continue.

Here are a few pictures of  before and after.

CHS roof in progress April 2018

Repairs to Convent High School

CHS temp roof complete April 2018

Convent Prep damaged roof after MARIA

Damage to Convent Prep

P1260144

P1250535 SMP

damage to St. Mary’s primary

P1270024

P1240850

P1260707

Damage to St John school in Portsmouth 2017

hurricane Maria damage to St. john’s Primary at Portsmouth 

P1270945

Advertisements

destruction by hurricane MARIA on September 18, 2017

Hurricane Maria, a superior category 5 hurricane, devastated Dominica on September 18, 2017.

The following churches and chapels were severely affected :

  • St. Patrick’s church at Grandbay
  • Holy Trinity chapel at Bagatelle
  • Epiphany chapel at Pichelin
  • Holy Spirit chapel at loubiere
  • Sacred heart church at La Roche
  • Good Shepherd chapel in CONCORD
  • Our Lady of Martyrs chapel at Mahaut River
  • Martyrs of Uganda chapel at Upper Penville

I am creating a link named ” destroyed by hurricane MARIA 2017″

Destroyed Grandbay church Oct 2017

d cracked bell tower at Grandbay Jan 2018

 

destroyed Grand bay church

destroyed chapel at Bagatelle

Bagatelle chapel post hurricane Maria

destroyed pichelin chapel

 

P1240474

destruction of Sacred Heart chapel in LA Roche, by hurricane MARIA on September 18, 2017

 

 

P1240463

SACRED HEART CHAPEL in LA ROCHE

 

CONCORD chapel destroyed September 2017

 

P1250064

P1250068

LOUBIERE CHAPEL

 

destroyed Loubiere Chapel September 2017

The chapel at MAHAUT RIVER below

P1240715 MAHAUT RIVER damage MARIA 2017

P1240329

Upper Penville chapel

P1240325

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”.

 

 

The history of the church at LA ROCHE

Part I by Bernard Lauwyck

church-in-la-roche

“On his pastoral visit to the district in June 1860 Bishop Poirier stopped for a while at the Quanary estate to offer a prayer in the tiny chapel constructed from ruined walls, and used only for prayers and catechism. In the parochial church of La Plaine he held a Confirmation service and blessed a church bell. Then he proceeded to Victoria, and in passing visited a small chapel erected by the labourers of the Belvedere estate. At Victoria he found a neat little presbytery, nearly finished, and a church in the course of construction.
“The spot” , wrote Bishop Poirier , “is badly chosen; but as the people of that quarter have done all the work without any assistance, it is better not to interfere.”” Excerpt from the ECCLESIASTICAL BULLETIN OF ROSEAU
The “badly chosen” location refers to the church at La Roche being perched on the edge of a cliff, as it is still today.
Indeed the location has not changed but about ten year ago Fr. Vincent Esprit FMI, Parish priest of La Plaine at the time, asked me to create a side entrance/ exit. The pavement in front of the old entrance/ exit was crumbling and getting dangerously small. The old presbytery, once a beautiful wooden house, which was used for years as the DJ Convent, is today falling into ruin.

The most important information we get from Bishop Poirier is that the people of Delices-Caribe-Victoria- La Roche were building their church without help from anyone .
The church is located in an area, named after the Roche family who had an estate there. Jean Roche is listed on the John Byres map (1767-1773) as a holder of a lease of land in the parish of St. Patrick.

Cou-de-main was still very much practiced in Dominica up to a few decades ago. It is a tradition where the whole community comes together to help built a neigbour’s house or in this case their church. This church in local stonework reminds us of a period of intense faith which inspired great generosity and efforts. This is how many catholic churches were built in Dominica in past times.

While there are many stones in the neighbourhood, the stone used were cut and shaped and might have been salvaged from some ruins of a plantation factory works in the neighbourhood.
In the vicinity of the church there is an old cemetery, which was abandoned some years ago.
There was no resident priest in this isolated area of Dominica’s east coast until September 1849 . Carib- Delices-Victoria-La Roche was part of the Nord of the St. Patrick’s Parish and so is frequently mentioned in the registers of Grandbay. It was occasionally visited by priests serving Grandbay. One of these priests was Fr. L.J. Cosgrave, an irish missionary who arrived in Dominica in 1842 and was put in charge of St. David and St. Patrick- North.
The first resident priest in the area was Fr. MacNiece, an irish missionary who was stationed in Monserrat before he came to Dominica. He accepted the lonely and difficult post in September 1849, at the request of Dr. Edward Smith, parish priest of Roseau and Vicar General of the Vicar Apostolic Richard Patrick Smith of Port-of-Spain. The diocesan records state that Fr. MacNiece remained until 1852 in the area “In spite of poverty and hardships of every kind”.
He was succeeded by two Italian priests, named Paoli and Zanetlini , who each only stayed for a short time.
With the establishment of the Diocese of Roseau in 1850, its first Bishop Michael Monaghan (1850-1855) sent Father Souquieres to La Plaine to serve as resident priest. more about him in a subsequent article.

St. Patrick’s church in Grandbay

beautiful interior of St. parick's church in GRANDBAY

beautiful interior of St. Patrick’s church in GRANDBAY  in 2010 and below 2015

Grandbay June 20 2015

101_PANA-P1010138_P1010138Grandbay church tower

On 25 November 1866, René Marie- Charles Poirier, third Bishop of Roseau wrote to the Propagation of the Faith in Rome “The parish of “Grande-Baie”, ancient mission of the Jesuits, has been abandoned since. The chapel is in ruins, without roof, without door, without windows, and overtaken by bushes ” After the Jesuits abandoned their Geneva estate before 1764 , the Catholic Church never regained possession of the Geneva estate although the use of the chapel and burial ground on that estate continued. This was not without problems. In 1844 there was a violence in the Grandbay area and one of the reasons was “that the attorney of these properties had caused the Roman Catholic Chapel on the Geneva Estate to be locked up which gave great offence”. Attempts by Bishop Poirier in 1866 to secure the portion of land around the chapel for the Catholic Church from the Geneva estate legal owners proved unsuccessful, so a new church was built at the outskirts of the Geneva estate. This parish church, located in the neighbourhood of the present church tower, was the first church in Dominica to be solemnly consecrated. This was in early 1905.101_PANA-P1010151_P1010151 The first time we read about the present parish church in Grandbay , outside the Geneva Estate, is in the Ecclesiastical Bulletin of 1919: “The Bishop left Roseau for Grandbay on April 28, 1919 and held, on the following day, the confirmation service, after the Solemn High Mass, sung by the Rev. Fr. Baudry, FMI, Parish Priest of La Plaine. The presence of 8 priests in the sanctuary enhanced the solemnity and the impressiveness of the Divine Service. 250 confirmation candidates, with their godfathers and godmothers, filled the church. It was, on this occasion, observed once more that the large parish of Grandbay needed a larger church. Rumor has it that the parish priest Fr. Francois had renounced his plans to enlarging the present parochial church, and was, with the Bishop’s approval, determined upon building a new, spacious church.” The parish had increased to well over 4,000 inhabitants, nearly all Catholics. It was decided to build a new church, much larger and much more beautiful than the existing one. Works were started in 1921 and it was considered that it would require 2 years to complete. But, owing to the unforeseen rise in the cost of building materials all available money was spent long before the walls were finished and the people, on account of the trying times, were unable to help, though they showed much good will in voluntary labour.     (sources The Ecclesiastical bulletin of Roseau and the history written by James Moris)Grandbay bell tower .(sources The Ecclesiastical bulletin of Roseau and the history written by James Moris) The present church was renovated with rust proof Aluminium sheets in 1989. At that time it lost the “gargoyles” or waterspouts, an architectural element which reminded the parishioners of devils. The floor was beautifully tiled by Fr. Krastel C.ss. R with a financial grant from Fr. Albert Lamothe (+ 2010). He also expanded the cemetery. Fr. Mark Owen C.Ss.R set up a hardworking pew or bench committee under the chairmanship of president Liverpool. He also replaced the concrete blocks in the windows with timber shutters with stainless steel hooks and stained glass, redid the sacristy, built the choir stalls in the choir loft, and installed a new PA system. Very Rev. Fr. Mark Owen C.Ss.R also brought out the beauty of the architecture of this church by painting it with the colours green and gold/orange, colours associated with the Irish saint St. Patrick. In 2010, Most Rev. Kelvin Felix, archbishop emeritus, replaced the rest of the church pews and added the sanctuary screen and celebrant’s chair.Grandbay celebrant chairs

photograph by Monsignor William John Lewis

photograph by Monsignor William John Lewis

Some of the old wooden church pews, still made with hand tools, were salvaged and refinished. The beautiful church, which you should visit, reminds each of us of the strong faith of the parishioners of St. Patrick’s parish, both past and present.GRANDBAY church

THE BEAUTIFUL CHAPEL in PICHELIN

Many people are not aware that there is a beautiful catholic chapel in Pichelin, as it is located from the road. Pichelin chapel The idea for the chapel was proposed by Monsignor William John Lewis.  I had the honour to design it and carefully choose the materials for the building. The late Elliot Rolle (+2010) was the contractor. It was completed in 1991 and blessed on December 1, 1991 by the late Bishop Arnold Boghaert (+1993), while the late Fr. Jerome Moody(+2006)  was parish priest of Grandbay. The chapel feast is the Epihany