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A Paperole Reliquary

Created in 1727, this reliquary is made of paper, string, gold and silver leaf, Limoges enamel and painted wood.
Reliquary of the Annunciation
Sister Marie-Anne Guenet-Varin, rhsj. Collection RHSJM
Photo: Gilbert Langlois

The art of paperole consists of creating ornamental filigree using thin strips of paper with gilded edges that are rolled, folded and glued. The paper filigree designs were framed as decorations to set off one or more relics. These works are called rolled paper or paperole reliquaries.

Visit the Montréal Hôtel-Dieu Hospitalières Museum

William Hales Hingston
The Visionary Physician of Hôtel Dieu

Dr. Hingston, Operating room
Oil on canvas, 1905
Jacques-Joseph Franchère, RHSJM collection

A talented surgeon, Dr. W.H. Hingston is an outstanding figure in the history of Hôtel Dieu hospital in the Montréal of the nineteenth century. Elected mayor of Montréal in 1875, he worked to improve the lives of citizens by establishing a new municipal sanitation policy and was among those who promoted the idea of a park on Mount Royal.

Did you know?

The first use of ether in Boston in 1846 and the discovery of the anaesthetic properties of chloroform radically transformed operating practices at Montréal’s Hôtel Dieu.

To learn more




Questions :

(1) Hotel-Dieu was Montreal first hospital.

Answer True

(2) The staircase of Laflèche was built in Montreal in 1654.

Answer False

Musée des Hospitalières de l'Hôtel-Dieu
Photographe: Jean-Michel Villanove
© Les amis de la montagne Collection


Exhibition hall at the Musée des Hospitalières de l'Hôtel-Dieu
© Musée des Hospitalières de l'Hôtel-Dieu


La salle des femmes, oil on canvas
Anonymous, Environ 1710
© Musée des Hospitalières de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal



Musée des Hospitalières de l'Hôtel-Dieu Artefact's Collection
© Musée des Hospitalières de l'Hôtel-Dieu



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The unusual history of the La Flèche staircase

This is the staircase from the Hôtel-Dieu in the town of La Flèche, in France, used in the seventeenth century by the Daughters of Saint-Joseph as they compassionately carried out their work of relieving human suffering.

It was in this hospital, called “Maison Dieu,” or House of God, that Jérôme Le Royer de La Dauversière installed the first religious hospitallers, in 1636. In 1641, he entrusted Jeanne Mance with the task of building a Hôtel-Dieu in Ville-Marie, New France.
When she returned to France in 1658, she would have used this staircase.

The following year, Jeanne Mance returned to New France, bringing with her the first three nursing sisters to Hôtel-Dieu in Ville-Marie: Judith Moreau de Brésoles, Catherine Macé and Marie Maillet.

One and a half centuries later, in la Flèche, in the midst of the French Revolution, the sisters were driven out of Hôtel-Dieu. The monastery was then transformed into barracks, a court of justice and a prison.

The staircase was walled up… and forgotten.

When part of the old prison was demolished in 1953, the oak staircase was rediscovered. The municipality of La Flèche offered it to Montréal as a symbol of the long alliance uniting the two cities.

Almost three hundred years after the arrival of the three hospitallers, the staircase took on a new life in Montréal under the talented hands of the Compagnons du Devoir du Tour de France.

Visible day and night to visitors and passers-by, it testifies to the solid relationship between the Hôtel-Dieu of La Flèche and the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal.