The mission of the Research Centre for the Religious History of Canada (RCRHC) is to promote and facilitate research in the field of Canadian religious history, among other things by collecting documents and creating useful search tools for researchers specializing in this discipline.
As a research and documentation centre, the Research Centre for the Religious History of Canada (RCRHC) is dedicated to:
- promoting, coordinating and, as required, supporting research projects in the field of Canadian religious history, and
- creating finding aids that are likely to be of use to researchers in this particular field, and increasing the awareness of Canada’s religious past and the appreciation of its value.
The Centre comes under the authority of the Vice-Rector, Academic and Research, Saint Paul University. Its administrative structure includes a Director, a Board of Direction, and an Advisory Board.
Director: Fr. Pierre Hurtubise, O.M.I.
Secretary: Denis Castonguay
Board of Directors:
Prof. (emeritus) Pierre Hurtubise, O.M.I., President, Saint Paul University
Prof. (emeritus) Cornelius J. Jaenen, University of Ottawa
Mr. Victorin Chabot, Library and Archives Canada
Prof. Stephen Wojcichowsky, Saint Paul University
Prof. Jean-Guy Goulet, Saint Paul University
Prof. Brigitte Caulier, Laval University
Prof. (emeritus) Jean-Claude Dubé, University of Ottawa
Ms. Claudette Lacelle, Historian, Gatineau
Prof. Guy Laperrière, University of Sherbrooke
Prof. Mark G. McGowan, St. Michael’s College, Toronto
Prof. Louis Rousseau, Université du Québec à Montréal
The Centre’s main activities are currently focused on the fields of bibliography and archives.
In the first of these two fields, the Centre has been working for a number of years on the creation of a bibliography on Canadian religious history. The bibliography, which will be as exhaustive as possible, currently includes some 40,000 titles and is in the process of being computerized. It may be consulted at the following link: http://www.ustpaul.ca/en/jean-leon-allie-omi-library-home_369_129.htm . In addition, for the past ten years, the Centre has prepared the annual bibliography featured in Historical Studies, a publication of the Canadian Catholic Historical Association.
In the archival field, in 1974, the Centre published an Abridged Guide to the Archives of Religious Communities in Canada, and in 1981, an Abridged Guide to the Archives of Catholic Dioceses in Canada. An update is planned for these two guides. In addition, since 1977, the Centre has been compiling an inventory of archival sources of interest for Canada in Rome’s archives and libraries. This inventory, which is nearing completion, covers the years from 1622 to 1922. In a related project, the Centre was the main artisan of a research guide published in 1999 by Éditions de l’IQRC entitled L’Amérique du Nord française dans les archives religieuses de Rome, 1600–1922.
Concurrently, the Centre is continuing to collect archival or other material relating to the field of Canadian religious history. Over the years, this material has multiplied with the acquisition of important collections of copies of documents of European origin (collection of the Propagation de la Foi, Paris, the Varlet collection, Propaganda collection, etc.) or through donations made to the Centre (Vatican II, Jean-Louis Dion and Christian Festival 1982 collections), and, especially in recent years, as a result of the decision by certain ecclesial organizations (the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Canadian Religious Conference) to store all or part of their archives at the Centre. All of this important documentation has been organized and is stored in archival premises under the responsibility of the University Library.
Finally, the Centre also occasionally organizes seminars or colloquia on Canadian religious history. The colloquium organized in 1992 to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Centre resulted in Status Quaestionis, which was published in Ottawa in 1994. To mark the 40th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, the Centre organized a symposium on the reception of this ecumenical council in Canada, from November 13 to 15, 2002, at Saint Paul University. The Acts of this symposium have been published in one of the journals of the University, Mission (volume X, no. 2, 2003).
Research Centre for the Religious History of Canada
Saint Paul University
223 Main Street
Pierre Hurtubise, Director
613-236-1393, ext. 2270
Denis Castonguay, Secretary
613-236-1393, ext. 2225