News from the “FAR” that concretizes the project of the Religious Archives  Center 

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The “FAR” (Fondation des archives religieuses) – (Foundation of Religious Archives) project of Greater Montreal is becoming more concrete with the recent launching of its Web site and the announcement at the end of March of the arrival of Jean-Louis Roy as ambassador.   

His mandate will be to introduce the general public, historical researchers and various institutional bodies to the vocation of the “FAR”.  “Religious communities… have had the extraordinary foresight and sensitivity… to create this pool of common resources, which will lead to the creation of a very large center for religious archives in the Montreal region,” said Mr. Roy, former director of the Bibliothèque et archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ).  

Unique project in Longueuil

The “FAR” project is located on a property that once belonged to the Congregation of Notre-Dame Sisters in Old Longueuil. The project provides for the use of the historic building, an expansion and an upgrade to meet current archival standards. It requires an investment of $20 million, financed entirely by the private funds of the religious Communities. It is estimated that this Religious Archives Center, the largest in Canada, will be operational in early 2025. 

This ambitious project brings together 14 religious Congregations of women and men. According to the wishes of each Congregation, the Foundation will gather the historical archives of each Congregation. That is, at least in the case for the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) who will transfer all the archives of the general and provincial administrations in Quebec and Ontario, as well as the documents related to the convents created in these two provinces.

The SNJM’s also plan to give written texts, plans, photos and all original documentation, as well as a number of objects – artifacts. The selection of all these resources is based on the desire to “bear witness, as best as possible, to the mission and apostolate of the Congregation,” says Geneviève Noël, Director of the SNJM’s Central Archives Service.

Pearls of history…

The “FAR” website already gives a glimpse of what you can expect to find as time goes by. In addition to current news such as the article about the career of Ms. Céline Widmer, Director of Conservation and Processing, there is also a short article on a historical feature entitled “Photography or Painting?” 

Enhanced by the historical elements preserved by the SNJM’s, this vignette allows us to discover some of the pearls of history that will surely be reported in the future; relying on the richness and great diversity of the archival material accumulated by each religious Congregation. 

It is a reference to be kept and consulted on a more regular basis once the Archives Center is operational. (French only)