SEPTEMBER 6, 2023 – Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
The official opening took place this Wednesday, September 6, from 4:30pm to 7pm at the Culture and Faith Center, where the Montmartre bookshop is located. Author Gaétan Baillargeon gave an inaugural talk on his book Marie-Catherine de Saint-Augustin, in conversation with Édouard Shatov, director of the Culture and Faith Center and of the Guilde de l’Assomption at Montmartre. The event was followed by speeches by Father Shatov, Jonathan Guilbault, publisher of Novalis Editions, and Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec. Cardinal Lacroix presided over the rite of blessing, followed by a tour of the bookshop and the Guild. The evening ended with the sharing of appetizers and a glass of friendship.
IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME
Speakers were quick to point out the welcome arrival of the Montmartre bookstore after the departure of Médiaspaul from the Quebec diocese. “We now have a bookstore and a publishing house that will continue to nourish us,” Cardinal Lacroix marveled. “As much to the Assumptionists as to the Guild and Novalis-Bayard press, thank you for embarking on such a wonderful adventure,” he said on behalf of himself and the Diocese of Quebec. “We couldn’t imagine a city like Quebec without a quality bookstore,” he continued. For his part, Mr. Guilbault mentioned the commitment of Novalis Editions to the particular situation of Quebec City, where the presence of religious books is severely compromised. As for Father Shatov, he highlighted the opening moment of this work by thanking first and foremost the team at Médiaspaul bookstore, which has been at Montmartre for several years.
TWO DISTINCT AND SUPPORTED WORKS
Many attendees at the opening event noticed two distinct counters in the bookshop’s premises. People will notice that one serves the bookshop itself and the other the Guide de l’Assomption, two distinct works but two wings or two lungs of the same body, as Father Shatov called them in his speech. From time to time, they will meet guild volunteers at the bookshop counter. Both the volunteers and the bookshop staff have received training from Bayard Press professionals, whom Father Édouard thanked.
The Montmartre bookshop and the Guild of Assumption, which are both works of the Church, rely on a wide range of support for their opening and establishment in the same premises. Thanks were expressed in a variety of speeches, from Assumptionists to readers to volunteers, to the current and former general managers of Bayard Press Canada. “I’m very impressed by the crowd we are,” quipped Jonathan Guilbault of the fifty or so participants at the event, before adding that this poverty is more than compensated by the richness of the body for any initiative that gives fruit to God, lasting fruit. In particular, Cardinal Lacroix recognizes the solid team of Novalis and Bayard Press, who, in his eyes, are well known and recognized. “They will, I’m sure, make judicious choices to offer us works here in Quebec City that will nourish our faith, stimulate our intelligence, help us develop a culture of faith and grow in our pilgrimage of life,” he reassures us.
AN EXPERIENCE FROM THE PAST
The Montmartre bookshop operated from the same premises for eighteen years, Father Shatov recalled in his speech. It closed its doors for various reasons, including a shortage of volunteers. It will once again benefit from the experience of two of them, Chantal Rouette, who was in charge, and Anne Boivin. Cardinal Lacroix has also offered to promote it.
(The Assumptionists run the Shrine of Montmartre and the Culture and Faith Center at Montmartre in Quebec City. To learn more about the shrine, visit their website: https://www.lemontmartre.ca/)