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Couvent des Ursulines (Ursuline Convent)
Couvent des Ursulines (Ursuline Convent) Review
Founded in 1639, this is the oldest institution of learning for women in North America. Adolescent girls still study academics with the Ursulines, who are famous for their handmade lace. Today, there are two satellite schools, one in another part of Québec City for girls ages five to 12, and a co-ed campus in nearby Lorettville. The convent has many of its original walls intact and houses a little chapel and a museum.
Chapelle des Ursulines. The Chapelle des Ursulines is where French general Louis-Joseph Montcalm was buried after he died in the 1759 battle that decided the fate of New France. The chapel houses the finest examples of woodcarving anywhere in Québec, gilded by the nuns themselves. In September 2001 Montcalm's remains were transferred to rest with those of his soldiers at the Hôpital Général de Québec's cemetery, at 260 boulevard Langelier. The exterior of the Ursuline Chapel was rebuilt in 1902, but the interior contains the original chapel, which took sculptor Pierre-Noël Levasseur from 1726 to 1736 to complete. 2 rue du Parloir, Upper Town, G1R 4M5. 418/694-0694. Free. Chapel May-Oct., Tues.-Sat. 10-11:30 and 1:30-4:30, Sun. 1:30-4:30.
Musée des Ursulines. Once the residence of Madame de la Peltrie, the laywoman who helped found the convent, the museum provides an informative perspective on the Ursuline nuns, and includes an exhibition on their work in education during the 19th and 20th centuries. It took an Ursuline nun nine years of training to attain the level of a professional lace embroiderer, and the museum contains magnificent examples of their ornate work, such as altar frontals with gold and silver threads intertwined with semiprecious jewels. 12 rue Donnacona, Upper Town, G1R 3Y7. 418/694-0694. C$8. May-Sept., Tues.-Sat. 10-5; Oct.-Apr., Tues.-Sun. 1-5.
Centre Marie-de-l'Incarnation. In the lobby of the museum is the Centre Marie-de-l'Incarnation, a center with an exhibit and books for sale on the life of the Ursulines' first superior, who came from France and cofounded the convent. 10 rue Donnacona, Upper Town, G1R 3Y7. 418/692-2523. Feb.-Nov., Mon. 10-11:30, Tues.-Sat. 10-11:30 and 1:30-4:30, Sun. 1:30-4:30; closed Dec.; open by request only Jan.
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