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Chapelle & Musée de Ursulines

Located in Old Quebec City, the Chapelle & Musée de Ursulines (Ursuline Chapel & Museum) showcases the work of the Ursuline nuns in Quebec, who arrived in New France in 1639 and founded the first North American school for girls. The museum contains an incredible collection of religious art and embroideries, and the chapel next door houses magnificent French and Italian paintings as well as the tomb of the blessed Marie de l’Incarnation, the spiritual founder of the Ursuline community.

The Community

Founded in Italy in 1535, the Ursuline order was once known as the La Compagnie de Saint-Ursule.  In 1639, three Ursulines arrived in Québec City at the request of the Jesuits, including the 40-year-old widowed Marie de l’Incarnation, born Marie Guyart. Together in 1642, they founded the first school in North America devoted entirely to the education of young Amerindian and French girls. Their educational mission led them to become the first female Order of teachers within the Canadian Church.

The Chapel

The Ursuline chapel was constructed in 1902, but the beautiful and treasured art and objects within it date back two centuries. The rich interior is adorned with 17 th and 18 th century paintings, a stunning collection of wood sculptures, and lavishly decorated altarpieces. Located just off the chapel’s entrance is the tomb of Marie de l'Incarnation, who was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980. This small oratory was erected for the founder of the community in 1972, on the 300 year anniversary of her death. Also located within the Ursuline complex is an Information Centre on the life of the Marie de l'Incarnation, which displays portraits, documents and memoirs.

The Museum

Located next door to the chapel is the Ursuline museum, which chronicles the arrival of the nuns in New France in 1639. The exhibits give visitors a glimpse into the daily life in the 17th and 18th centuries of these women who sought to pioneer education for girls and spread their spiritual message. On display are personal objects, furniture and teaching materials used by the nuns, which help tell the story of their journey and lifestyle. In addition to being educators, they were also artists and master embroiderers. Visitors will be amazed by the incredible displays of vestments intricately woven with gold, silver and silk threads. Some of the museum’s docents are nuns of the Ursuline order, which is still active. The Ursuline convent, housed within a building created originally as a girls' school in 1642, is the oldest in North America.

The Artifacts

Some highlights of the treasures on display in the Ursuline complex include several Amerindian crafts and musical instruments, and a cape woven from the drapes of Anne of Austria’s bedroom, given to Marie de l'Incarnation in 1639 when she embarked on her journey to New France. A pair of Marie de l'Incarnation’s rosary beads can be viewed in the Information Centre. The objects created by Pierre-Noël Levasseur between 1723 and 1739 on display in the chapel are said to be the most beautiful wooden sculptures in Quebec, and were gilded by the Ursulines themselves. The L’ange à la trompette and the retable are noted as the two most important pieces within the chapel.

Visiting Chapelle & Musée de Ursulines in Old Quebec City

The Chapelle des Ursulines is located at 2 rue du Parloir. Chapel visiting hours from May to October are Tuesday - Saturday from 10:00am - 11:30am, and 1:30pm - 4:30pm. Reservations are required at all other times. For more information call 1 - (418) - 694-0413. Admission to the chapel is free.

The Musée de Ursulines is located at 12 rue Donnacona (des Jardins). Museum visiting hours from May to September are Tuesday - Saturday from 10:00am - noon and 1:00pm - 5:00pm, and Sunday from 1:00pm - 5:00pm. Hours from October to April are Tuesday - Sunday from 1:00pm - 5:00pm. The museum is open for groups upon reservation only from December and January.

Admission fees to the museum are $6.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors, $4.00 for students 17 years and over, $3.00 for children 12 - 16 years, and free for children under 12.

For more information call (418) 694-0694 or click here to visit Chapelle & Musée de Ursulines official website visit

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