13. St. Charles Mission paintings

13 - mission paintins


Historic Dunvegan Provincial Park

The vibrant paintings that decorate the St. Charles Catholic Church were completed in 1887 by Father Emile Grouard. Such sumptuous decorations seem out of place in a rural mission, especially considering the constraints of isolation, time, and materials that Oblate missionaries had to contend with. Grouard and other Oblate priests believed, however, that such pictures were essential in bridging language barriers and to connect with First Nations people. Grouard decorated using the limited resources available to him, even using moose hide as canvas. As the paintings neared completion Father La Treste reported, that while St. Charles may not be the largest church in the Vicariate, it would be one of the most beautiful. Today, sections of the wall still bear the original paint placed there in 1887.