Musée de Kent – Bouctouche

Situated at “la Pointe-à-Jacquot”, the Musée de Kent in Bouctouche is a beautiful building of the neo-gothic revival style is still a gathering point for the Acadian community.

Formerly the Convent of the Immaculate Conception, it played an important role in the Acadian renaissance.

Musée de Kent, Bouctouche, NB

The Museum offers an insight into life at a boarding school in the 19th and 20th century and gives an overview of the regional way of life. Its Chapel has been recognized as an architectural gem. 

Marguerite Maillet, a teacher, donated a 40-acre piece of land for the construction of a convent. Soon afterwards, she becomes a nun with the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (SCIC) and takes the name of Sister Marie-Julienne. In 1892, she is named Sister Superior at the Bouctouche convent, a position she will hold until her death in 1911. 

Nuns at Bouctouche Convent 1932
This is a photo of young women dressed as Evangeline at the Bouctouche convent in 1932. The Convent of the Immaculate Conception opened in 1880. The Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Coeur sisters taught there from 1924 to 1969. Seen here from left to right: Marguerite Bastarache, Thérèse LeBlanc, and Lorraine Allain (later to become Lorraine Robitaille). Marguerite and Thérèse later became nuns. (Photo Reference numberP78-102 Provincial Archives of NB)

In 1876, Father François-Xavier-Joseph Michaud was named parish priest of Bouctouche. He dreams of building a convent to see to the education of young girls as well as a chapel in honour of the Sacred Heart. 

The carpenters of Bouctouche work, free of charge, at building the convent, with wood given by the families. In the evenings, after a hard day at work, these carpenters walk to the construction site and give two hours of their time. Finished in 1879, the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception accept Father Michaud’s invitation to come to Bouctouche and the structure is named Convent of the Immaculate Conception in their honour. 

Musée de Kent, Bouctouche, NB

The first four Sisters arrived on May 4th 1880: the Sisters Marie-Xavier as Superior, Marie-Hélène, Marie-Edouard (née Philomène Belliveau), the pioneer teacher from Memramcook, and Marie-Fidélis. During the summer of 1880, Mother Frances Routanne (founding member of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception) replaces Sister Marie-Xavier as Superior. Later, Mother Marie-Anne (born Suzanne Cyr) works at the Bouctouche convent from 1908 to 1911 and from 1918 to 1924. This is where she planned the necessary steps leading to the founding of the Sisters of Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Cour. 

Musée de Kent

This chapel is considered one of the most well-executed architectural works of the 19th century. Its craftsman Léon Léger having no advanced studies in architecture, had nonetheless a great sense of proportions and a flair for fine decorations. The altars’ decorations are all hand-sculpted.  

Musée de Kent, Bouctouche, NB
The convent, directed by the Sisters of Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Cour, served as a boarding school from 1924 to 1965 as well as a day school for the boys and girls of the village until the 1960’s. It had considerable influence on the education of our Acadian youth.

Convent Students, Bouctouche. PA1-2968
Convent Students, Bouctouche. PA1-2968

Between 1880 and 1955, more than 6,000 students attended the boarding school and over 450 of them prepared for their teaching certificate. From 1966 to 1969 it served as a noviciate. It has since been converted to a community museum. Its mission is to make the history of the region known and to preserve its heritage for future generations. 

Click on a thumbnail to see more photos of the Musée de Kent – Bouctouche.

Resource: Musée de Kent 

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