Cathedral of St Joseph, Burlington, Vermont
The original St Joseph School built in 1863
See the 1850 church at the right side.
The St Joseph School and Church before 1900
See the 1863 building in the center
Now they have added porches.
The original St Joseph Church was burglarized and this article was in the 11 March 1864 Burlington Free Press.
Our Rooster is temporarily down, as the steeple is being repaired.
This gives an idea of how large it is and how it is made.
Front and Back covers of our 2010 parish directory
Photo's by Joan Richer and overall design by Steve Richer.
A Solemn High Mass on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, celebrated on July 16, 1950
From Father Bernard Depeaux
A Great Photo of St Joseph Co-Cathedral Has Reappeared!
Isn’t this an amazing 120-year-old photograph of St Joseph Church
in Burlington? It is certainly the only photo I have seen of the interior
during the construction of the church; and it’s such a high quality photo.
The only other early photo of the completed church is a bad reproduction,
probably from a newspaper. I do not believe that the writers of our St
Joseph History had ever seen this photo, or it surely would have appeared
in their excellent book. Father Steve Hornat was very pleased to receive
it and he will have the photo framed and hung in a prominent spot in the
The photo was owned by Sandra (Beliveau) Devoid, who has since
agreed to donate it to the parish. It is a good possibility that this
photo came down through the generations from the Charron and Gutchell
Families. Joseph Gutchell and Marie Vincent were married in the original
St Joseph Church on Gogh Street, now North Prospect Street, on 5 Sep 1881.
He was a painter and lived at 249 Elmwood Avenue in Burlington. Is Joseph
Gutchell actually a carpenter in the photo?
photographer was Francois Xavier Thibault who had a shop called the "Star
Gallery" in 1888 on the corner of North Union Street and North Winooski
Avenue, opposite from Decatur Street. He lived at 188 North Street, which
is just opposite the present St Joseph School playground, to the right
of the old Gelineau Bakery. Francois Xavier had a great view of the new
St Joseph Church as it was being built. I find it hard to believe that
a photographer, who lived so close to the church, has taken only 1 photo
of the church, which was being constructed from 1883 to 1887. Have you
seen another photo of St Joseph’s Church that was taken by Francois Xavier
Take a good look at this photo. There were no pews installed at
this time. According to our St Joseph History book, “On Easter Sunday,
April 10 1887, the new church was inaugurated …. A week later .… a two
week mission was preached, during which the placement of the pews in the
church continued”. I assume that this picture was taken either in late
1886 or early 1887. The plastering, columns and painting appear to be
completed. All the medallions have been installed on the ceiling. The
Communion Rail, and steps and the platforms for the altars are completed
but the altar itself has not been installed yet. There is a beam attached
to the 2nd column on the left and they may have been working
on the construction of the pulpit. Note also the statue of St Joseph perched
high atop the sanctuary.
The twelve carpenters each are carrying a Square, or T-Square,
or a Plane or Saw that signifies his profession. It must have been cold
because all the carpenters were wearing about 3 layers of clothing, and
their hats. These hats were called “German Hats” in those days. One of
the carpenters appears to be either German or Italian. Notice the impressive
mustache! Is the older carpenter at the railing the supervisor (with the
bow-tie) and is that his son beside him?
Could it be George Cross and his son Rene George Cross (Lacroix).
Other carpenters mentioned in the history book are Narcisse Desrochers,
Edward Hatin, Joseph Gratton, and Francois Guimond (Gilmond).
The photo is 120 years old, but maybe we can still identify some of these men who constructed this beautiful church, which is the largest church in Vermont. If you know anything about them, or if you have pictures confirming their identity please contact me: John Fisher
12 Carpenters at St Joseph Church
Joseph Church Events about 1887 using the 1877 Burlington map
The “Star Gallery” owned by Francois X. Thibault
The 9 am Folk Choir - Photo by John Cartier
"Burlington Free Press September 5, 1923. Sinai Richer, a French artist who studied for five years with noted masters in France, Germany and Italy, has painted a large picture of the Last Supper ( a copy of da Vinci's Last Supper ) which has been set high over the main altar of the church. The picture, which is done on a canvas, 21 feet long and 10 feet wide, is an oil painting, well worthy of inspection. Mr. Richer painted the picture here in 25 days. The canvas has been fixed to the wall with a mixture of flour and honey. Mr. Richer also repainted all the statues of the church. Mr. Richer has done some work in the State before, having painted at the home of Dr. Webb at Shelburne. He has done work in some of the largest churches in the country and said that St. Joseph's is equal in beauty to any that he has seen." This painting was retouched later by Pierre Zwick. It was assumed that the painting was painted over during the 1969 church restoration by Monsignor Charles Marcoux, however it was located later and restored and remounted during the 2001 restoration by Father Steve Hornat, which pleased all parishioners very much.
Replacing and Restoring the Last Supper in 2001
Sini Richer was born in 1865 at Saint-Hyacinthe. He died in 1946. He was the pupil of Chabert in Montreal. He left for Paris in 1887 and was the student of Bourguereau, a very-well known painter from the end of the century. He left religious paintings in the church of Richelieu near Chambly, in St Joseph de Chambly and also in the sanctuary of Brownsburg, Saint-Augustin (des Deux Montagnes) and Saint-Aimé (Richelieu region). He did several portraits; most of the known surviving ones are of priests and monsignori. Most of his works are copies of famous European paintings or renditions of pious lithographs of the kind sold by the international house of Turgis. (They are the one who furnished the Way of the Cross in the downstairs Mount-Carmel chapel). Research by Andre Senecal
Richer's Works in Bennington, VT
Taken from "Sacred Heart Parish, The First Hundred Years 1880-1980"
"In September, 1892, the Reverend Philias E. Lachance succeeded Father Prevost. Under Father Lachance, Sacred Heart remained a mission for the next ten years. The undertaking directed by Father Lachance took place in 1898 when the church was enlarged to accept its growth. By that time, the population of the congregation consisted of 118 families, 107 more than in 1885. The number of worshippers attending Sunday Mass had certainly outgrown the original church structure. It was decided to extend the church by another 30 feet to the east. This construction would provide the space for two vestry rooms and twenty pews to accommodate 100 additional sittings. Two new altars were built, four statues added, new Stations of the Cross acquired, and a new organ installed. The interior of the church was completely redecorated by Sinai Richer of Whitehall, N.Y., a graduate of the School of Fine Arts in Paris. The new murals and paintings that enhanced the walls and ceiling made the church unique. While Mr. Richer was engaged in the project, he lived with Mr. and Mrs. Alexis LaMarre at 333 School Street. He is well remembered by Mr. LaMarre's two daughters, May LaMarre and Julia LaMarre Ryan, present members of Sacred Heart."
Photo's of St Joseph Church about 1950, taken for Insurance Inventory
The Great Restoration Crew
Some Statistics on St Joseph and Nazareth Schools
data was extracted from 2 enrollment ledgers found at the school in 2010.
Sometimes there were total enrollment numbers for St Joseph school but no names.
Joseph School opened in 1863 at the corner of Prospect and Archibald Streets;