St. Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

St. Joseph’s Oratory is the largest church in Canada, located on the northwest flank of Mount Royal in Montreal. The secondary element of the site is the Catholic basilica whose dimensions, its cross and the dome (60 m high and 39 m in diameter) are remarkable. The place has gardens where you can take a holy path with several sculptures that represent the Passion of Christ. Brother André took the initiative for its construction which started through donations and in 1904 a small modest chapel dedicated to St. Joseph, was inaugurated but it could not contain all the faithful while its doors were open and the faithful were praying outside so they decided to expand the place and the same was extended twice for the present appearance that can accommodate 1,000 people. The walls are covered with silver granite and the dome is covered with copper. There are several sculptures, paintings, stained glass windows, a chime and a large important organ. There are 283 steps to climb to the oratory and nearly a hundred are in wood for pilgrims who want to get it on his knees. Outside the church there is the Chapel of Brother André that is also his grave. He was beatified in 1982 by Pope John Paul II. Father André was known to receive sick people and heal them through his prayers to St. Joseph so there is a chapel where you’ll see the canes, prostheses, corsets, etc., which left the sick who felt healed.

Tips

At Christmas time, you can visit a part of a collection of more than 900 nativity scenes in the Oratory Museum.
The heart of Brother André is exposed behind a wrought iron gate in the exhibit room dedicated to his life and his work.

The Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral, Tallinn, Estonia

The Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral is located in the historic center of Tallinn, Estonia. It was built between 1895 and 1900 at the time when the Russian presence was in the country. This is the work of the architect Michael Préobrajensky. Dedicated to St. Alexander Nevsky, the interior can hold 1500 faithful and there is an iconostasis, several icons and many stained glass windows. On the outside there are Frolov mosaic panels and there are eleven bells, the largest of which weighs 15 tons. It was almost demolished at the end of the First World War when Estonia gained its independence but since there were many Russian refugees in the country, they decided to leave the building for their cult. In 1941, it was closed by the German authorities who invaded Estonia and was reopened at the end of the war.

Tips

The entrance to visit the cathedral is free but you can not take pictures or make videos inside.

On Sundays, there is a mass that lasts all day and tourists are admitted. You can enter and go out at any time of the mass.

Carmen Convent, Padron, La Coruna, Spain

The Carmen Convent is located in Padron, La Coruna, Spain, on the way to Santiago de Compostela, 22 km from the city of Santiago. The building was built between 1717 and 1752 with a neoclassical style on a promontory next to the river Sar, under the leadership of the Discalced Carmelites Brother Peter of the Mother of God. Alonso de la Peña y Montenegro, Bishop of Quito, had donated a sum of money for its construction. The convent was opened in 1752, belonging to the religious community of the Discalced Carmelites, but in the twentieth century, the building was taken over by the Dominicans who occupied it until the early 80s of this century, but as the building was in very poor condition and the community did not have enough resources to repair it, they had to move. Only a Dominican remains on site to direct and supervise the restoration work carried out by trade schools, with the provision of various public institutions, the students here found their center of learning and work. Carpenters, masons, locksmiths, in fact, young people around the city who are learning a trade, are part of this great work.

Tips

You can reach the monastery by bus, train, car or simply on foot.
The only Dominican who lives in the monastery continues to give the mass in the usual schedule.
On the convent site, you can get great photos of the place.