Saturday, March 17, 2012


I had a dilemma this week 
as I was never allowed by my parents 
to join the Scouts or any sport or cultural organisation, 
as a matter of fact, 
as my mom wanted to keep me "safely" at home. 
Little did she know... 
Alan's prompt this week has to do with the centennial of the Scout Organisation. 
I actually know someone very much involved with the organisation 
and I could have possibly ask for her help, 
but given all she's been through lately, 
I didn't think it would be appropriate, 
I opted to focus on another kind of organisation that used to be popular, 
once upon a time:
Back to colonial times, 
religious orders used to be prominent in our society, 
responsible for education and hospital cares and so many other aspects of the daily life of those colons, 
something that endured until the 1960s. 
the notion of separating the secular from the spiritual made its way, 
and the power of the Church waned [rather quickly]. 
But they did enjoy power for a few centuries on the new continent. 
they had dominion over body and soul for a [way too long] time.

One good thing was that they provided higher education, 
for the gifted and the decently rich people, 
some of those men meant to become leaders in our society, 
and others destined to become part of the Order, 
and serve God. 
Since Quebeckers had huge families, 
to avoid assimilation by the Anglos since the French colony was integrated with the British one, 
it was normal that a kid or two in the lot became priests and nuns. 
You see here above the seminar in Quebec City in 1880. 
Since 1663, 
there was a seminar in the city to train new priests and 
to educate the mass [who could afford it or were smart enough]. 
Jesuits were in charge. 
Let it be known that in 1852, 
Queen Victoria granted it a university chart, 
thanks to the Abbot Louis-Jacques Casault's persistence, 
and it was to eventually become Laval University, 
the first french language university in America;  
nothing to do with the municipality of Laval, 
just north of Montreal... 
but rather with Monsignor Francois de Laval, 
the original fonder of the Seminar, 
which in turn branched out in Montreal, 
but this project failed somewhat, 
and the University of Montreal became totally independent from its Quebec City sister.
The picture you see above was taken in 1880. 
you'll see a rendition dating back to 1688. 

The Seminar can be seen on the right.

In 1865, 
fire damaged the structure 
but the Order went on its mission to educate 
and it was eventually repaired. 
as demographics increased, 
and the need for higher education was required to meet the need of modern age, 
it became part of a university campus encompassing many buildings 
to better serve the various disciplines.

I found this picture on the web, 
showing the Seminar in the winter of 2007. 
I found it so charming that I decided to share it with you here. 
I find this captures the spirit of the old city.

Possibly from the Petit Seminaire, 
given the average age of the students, 
this would be a high school.

The original mission, 
training new priests to serve the population in the various dioceses, 
or on foreign missions.

This is where confusion starts for me. 
I thought much of my uncle's life happened in Ottawa 
but I found nothing to substantiate that. 
Perhaps he was recruted by the Oblats in his hometown 
to go study at the Rimouski Seminar. 
Is that it? 
Is this really in Rimouski? 
I am not familiar with the place at all. 
I think I went [briefly] twice to Rimouski, 
when I was just a kid. 
But one thing I just found out today, 
thanks to the web, 
is that there was a major fire in 1950, 
taking down a third of the city, 
including the seminar... 
So what I'm seeing here in these pics was no longer as is 
by the time I came into this world.

My maternal grandma in the Seminar's garden, 
in the 1940s.

Mom and Grandma!!

My mom and her brother, 
the "other" Uncle G.  
He didn't become a priest!! 
He did graduate and went on to work for the federal government. 
His heyday may have been at the Universal Expo in Belgium in 1958, 
and I showed you a picture HERE
his miserable marriage and adoption, 
and his eventual estrangement from his ex-wife and adopted son, 
and possibly his blossoming as a gay man despite the prejudice back in those days, 
made for a tortuous journey. 
But his downfall was when... 
he pulled the fire alarm at the parliament in Ottawa, 
just to see what would happen... 
I can't remember when but it could be in the late 1970s? 
and he ended up in the loony bin for that. 
It just goes to show there is a thin line between genius and downright crazy!! 
A recurring theme in my family... 
Let's just say I am sometimes worried about my own sanity when I look back at my family history. 
But I haven't [yet] chopped off one of my ears or set anything on fire...

For more conventional fun, 
please visit other contributors at 

And you know how I like to bring in some other stuff. 
This week, 
it involves Alan's theme
fire and a bit of humor... 
I may not have been on theme, 
but I do try!! 
(something I posted in 2009 that I felt was worth a repost here)

Fire is a recurring theme this week 
as I witnessed one this week, 
right next to MY place!! 
See it HERE


  1. Another great post, with fascinating public and personal history that you weave so well. And love that final photo and caption! Reminds me of the Belles of St. Trinian's movie, girls in uniform wreaking all kinds of havoc.

  2. Instead of keeping kids safe by keeping them out of scouts and other organizations, now it would be a good idea to keep them safe by making them join approved organizations.

  3. I laughed out loud with that picture. Hilarious.

  4. How sad to be locked away for a moment’s madness. That picture of the seminar in the snow is indeed a fine shot.

  5. I enjoyed all the seminar pictures.
    I don't know about St Trinians, the last picture made me think of a horror film.

  6. @ LINDA:
    While the name is vaguely familiar, I guess those movies lay in some dark corner of my memory. I've seen so many since my youth, hard to keep stock on all of them.

    The captioned picture was always a source of fun for me.

    Approved organizations?
    It was found often enough that pedophiles were right in their midst,
    then and now...

  8. @ NANCY:
    Glad you liked!!
    One should laugh at least once a day.

    The guy that took that pic in 2007 has a good eye.

    That Uncle G was always a bit peculiar and excessive, and I guess this was the last straw...

  10. @ BOB SCOTNEY:
    A horror comedy perhaps?...

  11. I really enjoyed this lesson in history, not just the facts but the way you presented them as well -- enjoyable reading. Love the Girl Scout PSA. HA

  12. too bad for your uncle. if only he hadn't pulled that alarm. Glad the fire near your apt didn't get you. I thought I left a comment on that post but it's not there so I guess I didn't.

  13. @ WENDY:
    while the research for material and prepping of said material takes time, the text is pretty much a spur of the moment thing, as the material dictates. If you've enjoyed it, I expect you'd enjoy doing coffee with me.

  14. @ KRISTIN:
    You did, you did!!
    I reinstated your comment today, when I found it in my spam box... Why your comment ended up there? I dunno...

    I expect my uncle would have done one thing or another, eventually... to piss some people off.
    C'est la vie!!

  15. I've always wondered what would happen if I pulled the fire alarm too, Now that I know, I will keep my hands in my pockets.
    I had also sworn off girl scout cookies though, and now I'm wondering if that was a wise decision.

  16. @ CHRISTINE H.:
    If you change your mind, better broadcast it live on youtube, so we can forward bail money...

    But I might have to delete your comment so it wouldn't come back to bite you in the ass that you premidated all of this...
    I'm just saying...

    As for those cookies, did you have a pet that suddenly disappeared, garbage spilled on your front lawn, broken windows? NO? you got lucky. Better buy them form now on...
    Again, I'm just saying...

  17. Your posts always take me on a journey and that is what I like about them in particular. You make me want to visit your part of the world : you should be given a Tourist Authority award.

    I don't know about an award, but I do like to mix a bit of "now and then", to give my topics a bit more depth. It is so much more interesting to know a bit of background on whatever you look at. It is the only way to make sense of any society and culture.
    Speaking of culture, I'll soon leave to take pictures of the St Patrick's parade here in Montreal. If there's not a riot as students are gathering nearby and they've caused trouble for a few weeks now...

    Wish me luck!!
    The luck of the Irish?!?
    I need get myself a clover leaf,
    or a rainbow...

  19. Oh my gosh ... yes, another excellent and informative post about things I knew nothing about, but it is your fire story and photos that really stirred me up and got too me. How scary! On top of that, you guys are having rioting? I would stay home too, but then the fire shows us that even home isn't always safe.

    Hope you have a good and uneventful week, TB.

    Kathy M.

  20. @ KATHY M. (OGoC&J):
    Let's just say the city's been busy lately... I hope the police will be able to keep the two events apart.
    I want this day to be joyful, not a total mess...

    About the fire, let's just say it was a dramatic start to my day. I value the notion of "home" as it has always been my sanctuary from the madness outside. I'm always eager to go home, no matter whether it's been a good day or not. I feel for those neighbors that were affected by this.

    I want eventful, but in the good sense of the word...


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