Starting December 5, 2018, "Universal Jerusalem – Gerusalemme universale", the new temporary exhibition at the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum, will explore the historic and cultural importance and the universal nature of the city of Jerusalem, long considered the centre of the world.

Holy city, centre of the world… just two of the names given to Jerusalem over the centuries. Stéphan Martel, historian at the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum, says that “Jerusalem’s shared spiritual value has made it a universal human heritage that we could have examined from the perspective of any of the three great religions of the Book.”

Exhibition curator Alessio Marziali Peretti adds, “We have chosen the Franciscan viewpoint because an exceptional photographic collection, recently found in the Order’s historical archives at the Aracoeli basilica in Rome, offers a unique look at the Franciscans’ work in the Holy Land and Jerusalem’s enduring and central spiritual role.”

The photographs are being displayed for the first time outside of Italy, thanks to an initiative by the Italian Cultural Institute of Montréal. They were taken in the late 19th century by the famous Luigi Fiorillo studio, and depict the tireless work of the Franciscans and their efforts to illustrate the holy places in Palestine and Egypt for those unable to see them first-hand.

Now you, too, can stroll through the streets of Jerusalem, filled with silent prayers and bustling shops, as you contemplate the sacred sites of this timeless land.

This coproduction by the Museum and the Italian Cultural Institute of Montréal (Istituto Italiano  di Cultura di Montréal) was mounted with the collaboration of researchers and experts from the Université de Montréal, McGill University, Concordia University, the Province St-Joseph de  l’Est du Canada (Franciscans), Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, in Jerusalem, and the Pontificia Università Antonianum, in Rome.

A photo essay also on display offers viewers an intimate look at Montréal’s Italian Roman Catholic community. The photographs pay tribute to its rich past, its ideals and the sense of belonging shared by the men and women who have come here from all over Italy.

Photographer and project initiator Andrea Paolella hopes that this valuable religious heritage will not be lost. He says “I think Italian expatriates become sort of like children again, looking for a welcoming place where they can be with others like themselves. Our city’s churches, built by past generations, became a way of coming together and maintaining connections with Italy.”

Information :

December 5, 2018 to May 19, 2019
400, St.Paul Street East
Old Montréal