- Numerous relics have been stolen from the Basilica-Cathedral Notre-Dame de Québec.
- The relics include bone fragments and other items kept in the church to remember religious and historical figures who founded our province.
- Details about the theft and the historical figures implicated below.
Some 20 relics have been stolen from the Basilica-Cathedral Notre-Dame-de-Québec, including several remains of numerous saints and blesseds and other religious figures that were part of the confederation of the province.
The remains were mostly what are considered "first-class relics," according to the Catholic News Agency, meaning they are objects from the saints themselves, namely bone fragments.
The thief actually made off with an entire reliquary, which is the small box "in which relics are enclosed." According to the Journal de Québec, the reliquary was as small as a one-inch nail and plated in gold.
Which, apparently, could be the most commercially valuable part of the theft. The relics themselves offer little commercial value, as Bishop Denis Bélanger explained. This is likely because these saints and other historical figures lack any importance outside of Canada, or even Québec, in some cases.
However, valuable or not, the theft is certainly sacrilegious and shows a blatant disrespect for the revered relics. All we can hope is that this whole thing ends up like the stolen totem pole hand fiasco.
Included in the stolen relics are fragments from Saint André of Montréal, Saint François of Laval, Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the first-ever Indigenous Canadian to be venerated in the Catholic Church and then canonized as a saint.
The reliquary also contained relics from "three of the eight North American martyrs," CNA explains, which include more names you may be familiar with: Jean de Brébeuf, Charles Garnier, and Gabriel Lalemant. There were also relics from Émilie Tavernier-Gamelin and St. Mary of the Incarnation.
While it may seem silly or frivolous to some, the Basilica has maintained the bones of these saints, martyrs and beatified Catholics, these individuals are more than just their religion, and their impact can be seen in the names of our streets, parks schools, and metro stations.
The reality is that Jesuits represent some of the first inhabitants of "New France," meaning that they laid much of the foundation of our province and eventually the entire country.
So, while they are "religious relics," that were stolen from a church, they are also historical relics that were stolen from one of the most longstanding bastions of Québec history.
The thief was able to escape the church on foot, even after they were heard by the church's security guard as they attempted to force open a door.
The church was unable to capture any of the theft on video, as they learned after the incident that there was an issue with the hard drive of their security system. This leaves police with little to work with in terms of a suspect.
Luckily, the Basilica is working hard to replace the relics, as many of the aforementioned historic figures are kept with other religious orders, such as the Fathers of St. Croix or the Ursulines of Québec.
The church was also able to keep their donations safe, as the collection boxes had already been collected.
All we can hope now is that the thief sees the error of their ways, maybe decides to go to do a little confession and leaves the reliquary in the confessional.
We'll forgive them. It's the Christian thing to do.