Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire, First Mission, First Parish

The first Catholic mission in the Valley East area was the Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire mission, which opened in 1895 in Blezard.  A Jesuit, Father Louis Lafortune celebrated the first mass in the home of Noé Leduc.  Until the construction of the school in 1899, it was to this house that the Jesuit fathers from Sainte-Anne-des-Pins would come once a month to celebrate mass, hear confessions, and baptize children.   At this time, the mission was part of the Saint-Joseph parish in Chelmsford.

In 1902, the mission separated from the Chelmsford parish and became an independent parish.  Mr. William Belcourt donated land for the construction of the Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire church and the Jesuit priest, Father Hormidas Caron, served as the first resident priest.  The village of Val Caron, which was then part of the parish and municipality of Blezard, was named in his honour.

When the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie was formed in 1903, Mgr. Scollard appointed Father Stéphane Côté priest of the parish.

From 1907 to 1914, Father Oscar Racette, who replaced Father Côté when he was appointed to Chelmsford, set up several organizations and parish activities.  Guided by the priests who succeeded him as head of the parish over the years, the Ligue du Sacré-Coeur, Dames de Sainte-Anne, Cercle Lacordaire and Jeunesse agricole catholique brought together almost all of the parishioners.  Parish picnics attracted hundreds of people to Blezard and the funds raised were used for parish works and church renovations in the 1940s and 1950s.

In 2002, rejuvenated by the growing involvement of the laity following Vatican II, the parish celebrated its centennial year.


Material compiled from Blezard Valley, paroisse agricole et Valley East 1850-2002.

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