Located in Place-Royale in Old Québec, Notre-Dame-des-Victoires (Our Lady of Victories) church is considered to be the oldest church built in stone and which still has its same walls in Canada.
As there were difficulties for downtown parishioners to attend mass uptown during winter and the same difficulties for priests to go downtown to help dying people during the cold season, Msgr François de Laval obtained from the King of France a land to build a second church in the parish. Therefore, they began building Notre-Dame-des-Victoires church in Lower Québec in 1688, and enlarged it to its final size in 1723.
Its ornamentation and ex-votos (pieces of art as thanksgiving for favours or miracles) are reminders that the Virgin Mary often helped people from Québec. The church has been designated as a Marian sanctuary in 1855.
It is located in the very same place as the two “Habitations” of Samuel de Champlain, founder of Québec City. Stones from the walls of the second “Habitation” are still inside the walls of the church.
Here, we continue an old tradition to cook little balls of bread in memory of St. Genevieve. A special Mass on January 3, feast day of the Saint, is celebrated every year. During this Mass, the priest blesses these “ little breads of St. Genevieve,” to be given to the people who will come during the year. These breads symbolise trust in God and sharing with the poor.