Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A visit to St. Marie Among the Hurons

How to best describe Sainte Marie Among the Hurons? A recreated historic site and a sacred place of Christian pilgrimage, it attracts visitors from around the world. During his 24 years here as missionary to the Huron, in 1643 Father Jean de Brebeuf created The Huron Carol , part of his remarkable effort to establish a bridge between two cultures. The museum at Sainte Marie records their brief but significant shared history. 
 I  first visited Ste. Marie in preparation to illustrate The Huron Carol book, published in 1990.  In 2007 those same illustrations became part of an ongoing Huron Carol exhibit at the museum at St. Marie.  At summer's end this year I  retraced my steps through this beautiful and moving historic site.
The Huron Carol installation begins here, with the original Huron language verses and the later French and English versions.
Here are some of the pictures in the installation, enlarged pages from the book with the text in French and English. 
The scene above, the Chiefs from Far coming around the longhouse, was inspired by this very spot between the longhouses and the paling:
Another view from the lookout, looking down on the kitchen garden.

Three of the Huron Carol illustrations are available as cards, which can be ordered from the website or from my Etsy shop. The Knights of Columbus Museum  in New Haven, Connecticut, have prepared a "Christmas in Canada" exhibit this year, with the cards featured in their on-site gift shop.  
It is hard to believe that Advent (and beautiful First Light at Sainte Marie) begins in scarcely a week.  I have been busy with new work and teaching, and will be posting again soon. 


  1. Frances, when I see a new post from you, I know that my eyes are in for a delight. Your paintings devoted to The Huron Carol are exquisite.

    I keep thinking how fortunate your students are to learn from such a fine artist and teacher!

    Thank you also for your recent comment over at my place.


  2. Thank you so much Frances! I feel so privileged to have shared in the ongoing history of the Huron Carol. It was the most moving thing to work on.
    I did wonder how you were faring when Sandy hit, and then the power failures and freezing weather. Will now have a proper look at your latest post - looks as though things are better, at least in your neighborhood.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. I was there on the weekend and saw the exhibition of your illustrations. Fantastic addition to the site!

    1. Thank you very much! Ste. Marie is an amazing place. It is quite something to have a part in it.