The contribution of members of the Catholic clergy in Acadian history is significant. It was the priests who took command of this small group of people who were devoid of resources following the Deportation. Mostly of Quebec and of French origin, and sometimes Irish, the priests travelled the vast territories of this new Acadia as early as the 18th century. Sometimes priests and spiritual guides, sometimes teachers and agricultural advisors, they were conscious of the importance of their presence and the encouragement they represented. Among their priorities, the chapel, the chancery and the school created under their direction were often the only public buildings in Acadian communities.

Fromt his mid-19th century, Acadians built vast churches. While traditional history views this as an eloquent testimony to their faith and rivalry between parishes, it can no doubt be interpreted also as a demonstration of the sometimes rather bloated expectations of this clergy towards the Acadians. Indeed, many priests met with difficulty trying to persuade parishioners sitting on the fabric to support them in their ambitious projects, more so from the time when churches began being built of stone. The construction of such structures required a major effort, forcing the parishioners to supply materials and days of labour. In some cases, the work could be spread over more than a year, even more then a decade.

Before those majestic wood or stone buildings could take shape however, more simple structures were erected by the faithful to answer to the needs of their religious life. Humble chapels, most of which were later deserted to give way to more imposing temples, pointed their modest steeples to the sky in the midst of small isolated communities. But, destined as they were to become the nerve centre of this new emerging community, the determination of church location sometimes gave rise to bitter quarrels.
Village Historique Acadien

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