Project Information
After 1907
1901 Snapshot
Air Photo Study
Image Library


St. Joseph Scholasticate

(Edifice Deschâtelets)


Picture this! You are walking south on Main St., from Springhurst Ave. to Clegg St. To your left, looking east, you see a massive complex of old and new buildings set amidst Scholasticate in the 1930'sbeautifully manicured lawns, long driveways and packed parking lots. Have you ever asked yourself "What goes on in these buildings"? How many of us actually know what this complex is all about? Better yet, how many of us know the history of the largest and oldest institution in Ottawa East? To answer these questions and more, please read on?

The historical importance to Ottawa East, of what is commonly referred to as the "Scholasticate", cannot be overstated. As part of an expansion from France to Canada in the 1840’s, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) established an organization that became instrumental in the creation of the Catholic churches and schools in Ottawa East; as well as the University of Ottawa, St. Patrick’s College and ultimately St. Paul University. From the early 1860’s, it was the Oblates who provided the spiritual leaders and teachers for the large Ottawa East Catholic community in both French and English. In doing so, the presence of this group of priests played a defining role in the cultural evolution of the community. And the influence continues even today in not only our local churches but also world-wide through their pastoral missions and the internationally recognized theological center of St. Paul University.
Original Scholasticate and Convernt c.1910

OMI – Oblates for Mary Immaculate

The very beginning of the organization that was to have such a profound effect on Ottawa East can be found in Aix-en-Provence, France with the birth of Eugene de Mazenod in 1782. As the son of a wealthy aristocrat, hisEugene as a young priest early idyllic lifestyle ended with the French Revolution of 1789 when his family was forced to flee to exile in Italy. During this period of time the young Eugene experience a spiritual awakening which led him to the priesthood. In 1816, as part of his apostolic mission he created the Missionaries of Provence and gathered together "a group of zealous priests to work with him . . . to live together as brothers . . . (and) to imitate the virtues and examples of (the) Saviour Jesus Christ" (1). In 1826, Pope Leo XII approved the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (2). The motto of the new organization was "He has sent me to evangelize the poor".

The organization initially worked in the neighbouring countryside later spreading to places such as Ireland. But Father de Mazenod wrote in 1818 that their wish was to "embrace the vast expanse of the whole earth". That vision thankfully included Ottawa East!
There is much more here about the history of this charismatic man (including pictures) who was ultimately elevated to sainthood by Rome. It was because of his vision that the Oblate Order came to Canada in the 1840’s.
The Vatican in Rome
Return to Scholasticate Index Page
Go to Page Two of Oblate History
View Slide Show of all the Scholasticate Pictures
View Slide Show of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate history pictures