Pembroke –Pembroke council is reviewing one of the heritage murals in the city after receiving concerns from some residents and groups.
A press release from the city states council is currently reviewing the mural entitled, “Marguerite d’Youville and Her Mission” located at the corner of Church Street and Pembroke Street West.
“After concerns were raised by residents and groups, city council has determined the mural should be reviewed due to the objectionable historical nature of the Indigenous imagery shown,” the release stated. “As such, city council will be engaging in conversations to seek feedback and recommendations from local stakeholders, including leaders from the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation (at Golden Lake), the Pembroke Heritage Murals Committee, and the Pembroke Diversity Committee to make a decision and determine next steps.
Mayor Mike LeMay said it is crucial for the city to be respectful of the concerns raised regarding this particular mural and the symbols it represents in efforts towards reconciliation.
The city’s website states the mural was painted in 1992 by Pierre Hardy and celebrates the life and contribution of Marguerite d’Youville and her mission.
It describes her as Canada’s “first-born native saint” who founded the Grey Nuns community, including the Pembroke order.
“For her many good deeds and two miracles she was beatified in 1959 and canonized in 1990,” the website states.
Ms. d’Youville is pictured on the right of the mural with some of the people she cared for, including the elderly, sick children and wounded soldiers from the war between the French and the English that was going on when she first opened her mission in Montreal.
The mural includes a basket outside the mission wall that d’Youville placed there where many children born into families in the 1700s who could not care for them or to single mothers, were left for d’Youville to care for.
The left side of the mural shows the Grey Nuns of today going off to missions around the world.
Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader