St. Peter’s Church and Convent Caraquet

St. Peter's Church and Convent Caraquet

St. Peter’s Church and Convent Caraquet

St. Peter’s Church is a sandstone Roman Catholic church situated at 213 St. Pierre Blvd. West in Caraquet. Adjacent to the church are the visible ruins of the Caraquet Convent, a 2 and 3-storey stone building. The grounds also feature a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Virgin Mary Statue Caraquet NB

During the 1880s, Acadian culture experienced a revival in New Brunswick. By the early 20th century, Acadian leaders were concentrating their efforts on gaining representation in the higher echelons of the Catholic Church. For years, Acadians had expressed concern about the absence of Acadian leadership within the Church. Out of seventeen bishops appointed for the Maritimes, none were Francophone. Given the significant role organized religion played in their daily lives, Acadians viewed this as a threat to their culture.

In their pursuit of a Francophone bishop in the Maritimes, Acadian leaders submitted petitions to the apostolic delegate in Ottawa, directly lobbied the Vatican, and coordinated regular newspaper campaigns. By the early 1900s, the Acadian elite devoted a considerable amount of energy and resources to this cause. Their efforts finally bore fruit in 1912 when Rome appointed Father Edouard LeBlanc (1870-1935) as the Bishop of Saint John.

Place-Du-Vieux-Convent Caraquet

The ruins, statue of the Virgin Mary and grounds of Caraquet Convent represent the importance and growth of religion and education in Caraquet.

Caraquet Convent
The convent after its construction. Photo taken circa 1880. Fidèle Thériault Collection

Construction of the building began in 1870 under Reverend Joseph Pelletier. It opened its doors for the education of young girls in 1874, under the direction of the Congregation of Sisters of the Notre-Dame. A three-storey expansion made of dressed stone was added in 1905 and was the work of noted Acadian architect Nazaire Dugas of Caraquet. A second wing, made of wood and consisting of two storeys, was built on the east side in 1947. The convent stopped teaching in the 1970s, and part of the building was used for community projects.

Caraquet Convent
The convent with additions to the east and west of the original building. This photo was taken in 1974 on the occasion of its centennial celebrations. Fidèle Thériault

In 1982, the newspaper L’Acadie Nouvelle opened its first offices there. Fire destroyed the building in 1995. The ruins of the central part of the convent are of particular heritage value because the façade’s sawn stone is from the construction of the first stone church in Caraquet, which was built in 1817 and was located to the east of the convent. 

Click on a thumbnail to see more photos. 

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