It turned out to be a blessing. What could have been seen as a catastrophe ultimately became a wonderful and massive renovation project for the Frederic Janssoone Museum in Trois-Rivières. Beneficial and positive. It happened a year ago. A sign from God. Maybe even a sign from Blessed Frederic himself. Who knows?
Without warning, a water pipe from the city of Trois-Rivières burst, causing litres of dirty water to gush throughout the Museum. The Franciscan brothers of the Saint Anthony convent, which adjoins the Museum (they are the guardians of Fr. Frederic’s work) observed the extent of the damage with dismay. Because the damage was considerable, major restoration work was required. After the water was drained, a comprehensive cleanup, including disinfecting from top to bottom, was carried out by the insurance adjusters. Various professionals came to use their expertise to reinforce the building structure. The foundation was totally redone, which meant intensive work for months. The Museum is in the basement of the Saint Anthony chapel, which meant some serious engineering challenges. At no time could they risk weakening the structure of this place of worship, where the body of Fr. Frederic lies.
A new look for the reopening
The interior of the museum was also completely restored. The walls, the floor and the heating system were renovated and upgraded. The gift shop, the washrooms and the office are now modern and functional. As for the décor, brighter and lighter colours were chosen. A new lighting system that is better suited to the museum environment has been installed to enhance the exhibits: artefacts that belonged to Fr. Frederic as well as 52 reproductions recounting in miniature various moments in the life of Blessed Frederic.
This Museum in Trois-Rivières is not new. It opened its doors in 1938. Currently closed to the public in order to carry out the final preparations, it will reopen officially in June 2017. The building will once again welcome many pilgrims and religious tourists from Québec, the United States and Europe to pray to Fr. Frederic.