Saint Joseph's Oratory

Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal
Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal
Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal - Montreal.jpg
Basic information
Location3800, chemin Queen Mary
Montreal, Quebec
H3V 1H6
Geographic coordinates45°29′30″N 73°37′00″W / 45°29′30″N 73°37′00″W / 45.491667; -73.616667
AffiliationRoman Catholic
DistrictArchdiocese of Montreal
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusMinor basilica
Architectural description
Architect(s)Dalbé Viau, Alphonse Venne, Lucien Parent, Emilien Bujold and Dom Paul Bellot
Architectural typeOratory, domed basilica
Architectural styleItalian renaissance
Construction cost$2.3 Million (CAD)
Direction of façadeNNW
Capacity10,000 / 2,400 sitting
Length105 metres (344 ft)
Width65 metres (213 ft)
Width (nave)37 metres (121 ft)
Height (max)129 metres (423 ft)
Dome(s)one (1)
Dome height (outer)97 metres (318 ft) (from nave floor)
Dome height (inner)60 metres (200 ft) (from nave floor)
Dome dia. (outer)39 metres (128 ft)
Dome dia. (inner)26 metres (85 ft)
MaterialsCanadian granite, copper
Official name: Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal National Historic Site of Canada

Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal (French: Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal) is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and national shrine on Mount Royal's Westmount Summit in Montreal, Quebec. It is Canada's largest church and claims to have one of the largest domes in the world[1].

The basilica enshrines a statue of Saint Joseph, which was authorised a Canonical coronation by Pope Pius X on 19 March 1910 via Cardinal Vincenzo Vannutelli (extinct) and another from an Apostolic brief dated 9 July 1955 by Pope Pius XII who crowned the new statue on 9 August 1955 via Cardinal Paul-Émile Léger now located within its crypt department. The shrine is also famous due to its association with Brother Andre Bessette who was believed to possess healing powers through his Josephian devotion with its notable oil ointment given freely to its believers.


In 1904, Saint André Bessette, C.S.C., began the construction of St. Joseph, a small chapel on the slopes of Mont Royal near Notre Dame College.[2] Soon the growing number of the congregation made it too small. In 1917 a larger church was completed that had a seating capacity of 1,000. In 1924, the construction of the basilica of Saint Joseph's Oratory was commenced; it was finally completed in 1967.[2]

View of the dome under construction in 1937.

Father Paul Bellot, an architect, completed the dome of Saint Joseph's Oratory between 1937 and 1939.

In 1949–1951, architect Gilbert Moreau carried out alterations and improvements to the interior of Saint Joseph's Oratory, as well as to the adjacent monastery, and rearranged the sacristy in the basilica.[3]

André Bessette is at the origin of the oratory.

The basilica is dedicated to Saint Joseph, to whom Brother André credited all his reported miracles. These were mostly related to some kind of healing power, and many pilgrims (handicapped, blind, ill, etc.) poured into his Basilica, including numerous non-Catholics. On display in the basilica is a wall covered with thousands of crutches from those who came to the basilica and were purportedly healed. Pope John Paul II deemed the miracles to be authentic and beatified Brother André in 1982. In October 2010 Pope Benedict XVI canonized the saint.

A reliquary in the church museum contains Brother André's heart, which he requested as a protection for the basilica. More than 2 million visitors and pilgrims visit the Oratory every year. It is located at 3800 Queen Mary Road, at Côte-des-Neiges (between the Côte-des-Neiges metro station and the Snowdon metro station).

Composer Émilien Allard notably served as the church's carillonneur from 1955 to 1975. For RCA Victor he released the LP album Carols at the Carillon of Saint Joseph's Oratory for which he wrote the arrangements.[4]