Description of Historic Place
Ste. Therese Roman Catholic Church, also known as the Cardinal Church, is a tall wood-frame structure erected in stages between 1927 and 1939 in Cardinal. The municipal designation applies to the church and the grounds it occupies.
Ste. Therese Roman Catholic Church, a landmark in the Cardinal area, is a quality example of ecclesiastical architecture in the French and Quebecois classical tradition, as characterized by its symmetry, large nave and formal tower soaring above its surroundings. The wooden structure also symbolizes the fierce pride and commitment of parishioners, who, desiring to establish their own identity and confident in their community's prospects, persevered with the challenges of fundraising and church construction even though this broke with their tradition of attending mass in nearby Notre Dame de Lourdes. Their 1927-29 chapel, expanded a decade later to include a sacristy and tower, was dedicated to Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and featured a wooden altar crafted by Francois Blain. Closed in 1960 at a time of Cardinal's decline, the church found new life in the early 1990s when descendants of the area's early residents mobilized to save it with a complete restoration.
Source: Rural Municipality of Lorne By-law No. 1497, December 11, 1989
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Ste. Therese Roman Catholic Church site include:
- its location on the edge of the village of Cardinal, amid mature trees, grassed grounds and rolling agricultural fields
Key elements that define the church's unpretentious, classically inspired architecture include:
- the symmetrical main mass consisting of a square tower, a high, elongated nave under a gable roof and a pentagonal apse, with a perpendicularly appended, gable-roofed sacristy
- the dramatic tower featuring second-level eyelet windows, a central stained-glass bull's eye, a pyramidal roof interrupted by a belfry with pointed arched openings, an octagonal steeple with metal sheathing, finial and ornamented Latin cross, etc.
- the mostly pointed arched openings in simple wood surrounds, including the clear multi-paned windows with basic wooden tracery, the coloured-glass entrance transom, etc.
- the modest materials and details, including the horizontal wood siding, cedar-shingled roofs, trim and corner boards painted to contrast with the facades, double entrance doors, decorative return eaves, etc.
Key elements that define the church's interior layout, finishes and details include:
- the intact formal plan organized by the vestibule, centre-aisle nave, sanctuary, etc.
- the altar set behind a large pointed arch inscribed with a banner and featuring a lowered ceiling converging above a large statue of St. Therese, intact wooden communion rails, etc.
- the plank floors, walls and arched ceilings throughout
- the details and finishes, including the historically accurate colour palette, simple mouldings and trim, wooden pews, L-shaped choir loft stairs, the plank confessionals and closets, etc.