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25 June

Sts. Jason & Sosipater;
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Marist Calendar - June

The exposition of cribs of Château-Richer



A tradition has been established

02/02/2007: Canada

This year we have held three expositions that have attracted a growing number of visitors: Marial Exposition: Mary in art and literature – O Crux ave, spes unica – The Christmas cribs. The three have been organised by Brother Paul-André Lavoie, responsible for the “Marist Patrimony of Canada”. For these three activities, he received a great deal of co-operation which we will talk about below.

Until the present moment, the Exposition of cribs of Château-Richer has attracted 1 350 people. This has been possible thanks to some well organised publicity on radio, television and in the written press. But we must not forget the publicity by word of mouth which has played a very important role in this. Amazed visitors did not miss out on letting relatives and friends know about the artistic and religious value of this exposition that presented works coming from many countries in the world.

This success is due to the close collaboration of three people whom we must note here and thank at the same time: Father Roger Bédard, Brother Bertrand Gendron and Brother Paul-André Lavoie.

A solemn opening
On the 7th December 2006, at five o’clock in the afternoon, Brother Réal Cloutier proceeded with the official opening of this exposition. Among the invited guests, we should note Mr Frédéric Dancause, mayor of Château-Richer, Father Jacques Fortin, Redemptorist, parish priest of Château-Richer and Father Yvan Carré, Marist, Provincial of the Marist Fathers. The three organisers of this exposition were present as well as the brothers of the community of Château-Richer since this exposition was held in the premises of their community.

The ribbon of honour cut, the wine of honour served, those present could proceed with the first visit to this imposing exposition which offered visitors more than three hundred and twenty-five cribs. I say “more than”, for new acquisitions were recently added along the way to this exposition.

The artistic disposition of the large Champagnat hall, exposition hall, particularly attracted the attention of our visitors. It was the work of Father Roger Bédard and the co-operation of Mrs Lucie Proulx-Doiron and Mrs Éthel Rouleau who spent several days in setting up the cribs, displaying the notices that gave their particular information while also ensuring the general disposition of the exposition through artistically tasteful decorations. The lighting especially must not be forgotten as it contributed singularly to highlighting each of the pieces.

For its part, the Small Museum, near the reception, exposed under glass some one hundred and twenty-five cribs, as we have done for several years thanks to the initiative of Brother Bertrand Gendron who was the first to dream about this initiative thanks to the availability of the house of Château-Richer.

Let’s open the visitors’ book
Let’s open the Visitors’ Book placed at the disposition of the visitors. Despite the large number of entries full of praise and appreciation, we can content ourselves unfortunately with presenting only a few.

 (During the opening) This exposition of cribs is another way of making present and living the great mystery of a God who was made man. Bravo to the artists and to Roger Bédard, priest. The Marist Brothers are happy and even honoured to be able to participate in this pastoral activity. Brother Réal Cloutier, Provincial.
 Bravo and thanks, Brother Paul-André Lavoie, for your welcome and very interesting explanations. I am going to publicise this magnificent exposition. Laurent Proulx, Ste-Foy.
 We return to Lévis delighted with our visit (a more beautiful and elaborate exposition than at the Gabrielle-Roy library). What a marvel to visit and to revisit! Lisette Carrier, Lévis.
 The beauty of the creations is impressive. Well done for this collection of cribs which represents the diversity of materials and the finesse of art. Guy Bélanger.
 I loved the cribs even though you could not touch them. Charlotte Verret, (9 years old), Blainville.
 I found it very, very beautiful. Darleine (7 ans)
 I would add that this surpasses the expositions of cribs at Rivière-Éternité and the St-Joseph Oratory. R. Benoît.
 A very beautiful time spent in recollection in the company of Brother Lavoie. Thank you for all the explanations. Continue to amaze people! René Lortie and Thérèse Dulac.
 What a beautiful exposition! Admirable mystery and admirable work. Monique Bélanger, s.c.q.
 Thank you for giving us the chance to see so many beauties and for making us relive these marvellous mysteries of Christmas. All was a success: music, lights, styles. There is a lot to see and it is a discovery of what to appreciate in each country. Cécile Nadeau, organist.
 Thank you for giving us good ideas on cribs and for contemplating them. You have shared your passion quite openly. We will see you next year. Sabrina, Château-Richer

What are the most noted salient points?
We will quote a few aspects that were particularly pleasing to the visitors.

• The vast choice of cribs and the variety of their origins. The fact that these details were given before each one satisfied the natural curiosity of the spectators.
• The majority of group visits were conducted by a guide, a confrère who explained the details of each crib and gave some commentaries. For example, the fact that numerous cribs came from China was surprising. In this country, the manufacture of cribs has an obvious commercial aspect as these cribs are destined mainly for exportation.
• We were delighted to note the presence of several groups of school aged children among the visitors attracted by this exposition. Some would have loved to have moved the characters and to have touched them… despite a notice preventing such activities.
• The chapel’s large crib was part of this “pilgrimage to the cribs”. The size of the characters, their number, the rocky roof of this large grotto, the fir trees, the many lights and its location in the chapel made the crib the number one of the visit.
• Thanks to a musical environment maintained in this vast hall during all of the visits, we were able to create a place of meditation and reflection. This pleased the many visitors who let us know about their satisfaction.
• We were able to note the type of amazement that such a visit can arouse in a group. Such a spectacle brings back many childhood memories! And it reminds us especially of one of the great moments of human history: the birth of Jesus who came to reveal the Father to us.
• The Visitors’ Book tells us of the satisfaction of our visitors and invites us clearly to pursue such an apostolate. It is the attractive aspect of what is beautiful and of what reveals an aspect of a mystery which must mark the life of each one of us.

A tradition has been established
In the past, we could only show one hundred and twenty-five cribs under glass. Thanks to the co-operation of Father Roger Bédard, we have more than doubled the number of elements on display. The tradition of an annual exposition of this importance has been soundly established. The co-operation of Brothers Bertrand Gendron and Paul-André Lavoie is assured for ensuring the same radiance of the next “Exposition of cribs of Château-Richer”.

Chicoutimi, 22nd January 2007.
Brother Laurent Potvin

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