Montreal oratory sculpture pays tribute to country’s newcomers

Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal in Montreal recently unveiled a sculpture dedicated to Canada’s past and present migrants and refugees. Photo courtesy Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal

Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal in Montreal recently unveiled a sculpture dedicated to Canada’s past and present migrants and refugees. Photo courtesy Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal

Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal in Montreal recently unveiled a sculpture dedicated to Canada’s past and present migrants and refugees.

Designed by artist Timothy Schmalz, the sculpture—titled Angels Unawares—depicts a group of newcomers huddled on a boat, all from different origins and times. A pair of angel’s wings rises above the centre of the huddle, indicating the presence of the sacred among them.

According to Schmalz, the inspiration for the sculpture came from the New Testament—more specifically, from Letter to the Hebrews 13:2. It reads, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

The presence of the sculpture solidifies the oratory as a place of welcome for people when they first arrive in Canada. It is currently on loan from Schmalz and will remain on the property’s terrace for one year.

“We are honoured to welcome this beautiful sculpture which reminds us of the duty of hospitality and solidarity with every human being,” says Father Michael DeLaney, CSC, rector of the oratory. “With this sculpture reflecting the situation of thousands across our world, we will be reminded each day of all those who leave their homeland in search of a better life.”

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