Mural of Father Barrette
186 Beechwood Avenue. Artist: David Yeatman (2001)
This mural depicts a renowned parish priest named François-Xavier Barrette, who served the parishioners of Saint-Charles from 1912 to 1961, and who founded the 39th company of Canadian Papal Zouaves in Eastview in 1955. Also shown in the background is the former parish hall that was used for a variety of activities in the community.
François-Xavier Barrette was a strong advocate in the defence of French Canadian rights. He was a dominant figure in his parishioners’ lives from the moment he was named parish priest at Saint-Charles Church in 1912. Very active in the organization of the parish in the heart of this French Canadian community, he participated in numerous projects between 1912-1961, creating a social circle, a Scouts and Beavers club and the Saint-Charles Library. The mural shows him with a group of Pontifical Zouaves, the Pope’s official guards. He founded this group of Zouaves in 1953 to participate in celebrations in the area.
His strong character had a profound effect on the people he met. In 1926, Father Barrette founded the national secret society of L’Ordre de Jacques-Cartier, dedicated to the preservation of French Canadian culture and the protection of Catholicism. Because of internal dissension among members of the Order established in Quebec and in other parts of Canada, the society was dissolved in 1961. At the time, it was composed of over 4,000 members. The Ordre de Jacques-Cartier laid the foundation of what would later become the Clubs Richelieu, an organization dedicated to promoting Francophone culture and heritage.
Father Barrette passed away in 1962. His work will forever be part of the collective memories of Franco-Ontarians thanks to his remarkable commitment and accomplishments that still mark Ontario’s Francophonie today.
The Zouaves in Eastview
The Zouaves were established in 1868 as a paramilitary organization for the protection of the Papal States during the wars fought over the unification of Italy. The Canadian Papal Zouave Regiment continued its activities after the Italian Unification Wars well into the twentieth century, acting as security escorts during religious celebrations and also as community regimental bands.
The 39th company of Canadian Papal Zouaves was established in Eastview’s Saint-Charles parish in 1955. A national convention of Canadian Zouaves was held in Eastview in July 1958. However, most of the activities of the Zouaves disappeared from Eastview around 1975.