The three crosses of promise


In the summer of 1917, the church and community of the village of Mattawa, Ontario decided to place three crosses on top of the high hill that crosses the Ottawa River from the tip on the Quebec side. Three local priests erected the crosses. This was during the First World War and the three priests wanted to do something to show their support.

Some say that these crosses were also meant to commemorate other crosses that were originally placed in the same place by Father Nelson Duquette, following a promise. Clermont explains: “It seems that one evening, a movie patron went to use the outhouse at the back of the town hall. He accidentally threw a still burning match on the dry floor of the building on his way out. Soon, the whole building was in flames. The steam water pump, located at the town hall, also burned. Sparks falling from the sky threatened to set fire to other buildings. The entire main street was in danger of being destroyed. Some parishioners ran to Father Duquette for help. Father Duquette stood in the middle of Main Street and prayed. He promised that if the city was spared this disaster, he would erect three crosses on the top of the mountain, across the Ottawa River, away from the city”.

The city was spared and three crosses were erected in memory of this miracle.