Saturday, October 1st 2005, was beautiful, bright and sunny day when 17 descendants and /or researchers of St. Columban met in the parking lot of the Church at St. Columban, Quebec.
In the picture (on the left) we have at the far left, Allison Connolly in the pink sweater, directly behind her (and not too visible is Joe Green. Beside Allison to her right, in the black t-shirt is Claude Bourguignon. Beside Claude in the white jacket is Joyce Green’s daughter – Kelly. Behind Kelly is Bill Weiler (easier to see in the 2nd picture). In the front with the red jacket is Anne McLaughlin. Directly behind her is Joyce (Walsh) Green. Beside her, is Kelley O’Rourke’s aunt, with the sun glasses, Audrey (O’Rourke) Gossage and behind Audrey is Kelley O’Rourke’s dad, Michael O’Rourke. Next, with the white sweater is Maureen McDonald. Behind Maureen is her father Lawrence. At the far back is Sean Delaney and beside him, holding the jacket is Fergus Keyes. Next to Fergus on the right is Ken Neil. Beside Ken is Linda Phelan and then on the far right is her husband Christopher Phelan.
The second picture is the same except on the far right Christopher Phelan has been replaced by Kelley O’Rourke Thomassin.
Many of us had communicated by e-mail for years, as we searched our family trees, but few of us had met in person. So, one of our objectives was simply to meet each other.
Everyone on the St. Columban e-mail list, within driving distance of St. Columban arrived by the 10am start time, and after introductions, Claude Bourguignon took over as unofficial tour guide. Although Claude was one of the few people not directly or indirectly, related to the original Irish settlers, he immediately became “one of the family”. Claude has been collecting information on the original settlers of St. Columban for more than 20 years.
Our first stop on the Tour was to visit the area in the “bush” behind the Church where a number of original tombstones had been discarded and forgotten. This was a rather sad experience and we immediately made an effort to take as many pictures as possible of the stones. We also believed that some immediate action should be taken. For more information on the Restoration Project, please see the main page on this site.
Next, we were off to the actual Cemetery directly across the street from the Church. Here we found more tombstones that had been broken, however there were also a number of original stones still standing.
We then went off to a local St. Columban restaurant where we could enjoy a little eating, drinking, laughing and discussions about our ancestors and St. Columban in general.
After this very enjoyable lunch and conversation, we were invited by Claude to visit his documentation and achieves centre on St. Columban that he keeps at his home. Claude and his wife provided us with the very best of hospitality, providing both information and refreshments.
The “Descendants review various St. Columban Documentation at Claude’s home.
We were all aware that Claude had many records pertaining to St. Columban and particularly the early Irish settlers. But I think that we were all amazed on how Claude’s files and records were meticulously arranged. Above photos show the descendants viewing various documents that Claude made available to all of us.
Alas, like all good things, our little trip had to come to an end and around 4 o’clock on the beautiful sunny day of 1st of October 2005, we had to say our good-byes and depart.
We all had a good time and agreed to try to arrange another similar trip for sometime in 2006.