Tag Archives: Terra Nova

The Portuguese in Newfoundland

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

May 27, 1955

 

It is estimated that four to five thousand Portuguese Fishermen carried the Fatima statues through the streets of St. John's .

It is estimated that four to five thousand Portuguese Fishermen carried the Fatima statues through the streets of St. John’s .

One of the highlights of the 100th Anniversary celebrations of the Basilica – Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in St. John’s in 1955 was a parade of four – five thousand Portuguese fishermen from the “White Fleet” who marched through the city of St. John’s on  May 27, 1955.

The fishermen walked in procession from the waterfront to the Basilica –Cathedral and presented a gift in the form of Our Lady of Fatima, comprising a group of nine statues, of poly chromed and gilt plaster.

The statues were presented to Archbishop Patrick J. Skinner of St. John’s, by Reverend Father J. A. Rosa, chaplain of the Portuguese fleet, on behalf of the officers and crews of the fleet, and the people of Portugal.   The grotto  where the statues were placed is located under the west gallery in the Basilica Cathedral.

Only two other pieces of public art celebrate the presence of the Portuguese in Newfoundlandand  and Labrador.

MiguelCorte Real Andrade visted the site of his ancestor last week.

MiguelCorte Real Andrade visted the site of his ancestor 2015.

The statue of  Gaspar Corte-Real Portuguese navigator – he reached Terra Nova (Newfoundland)  in the 15th century. This statue was unveiled on May 1965 in front of Confederation Building in St. John’s.  It was a gift from from the Portuguese Fisheries Organization as an expression of gratitude on behalf of the Portuguese Grand Banks fishermen for the friendly hospitality always extended to them by the people of Terra Nova.

Another installation of public art to celebrate the history of the Portuguese in Newfoundlandare the series of murals located on Duckworth Street.  (near the site of the  Sheraton Hotel) The murals depict scenes from towns in Portugal.

 

Portuguese Memorial, Mount Carmel Cemetery, St. John's.

Portuguese Memorial, Mount Carmel Cemetery, St. John’s.

The most recent memorial to the Portuguese fishermen is the unmarked grave of White Fleet Fisherman, Dionisio Esteves. He died during the 1966 fishing campaign while unloading his daily catch of codfish. He was crushed between his swamped dory and the steel hull of the fishing vessel. His grave site has come to symbolize all those Portuguese fishermen who lost their lives fishing in Newfoundland waters. The memorial is located in Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Cemetery, St. John’s.

Recommended Archival Collection: What do we have in the ‘Rooms Archives’  on the Portuguese in Newfoundland. Type Portuguese in the search bar here: http://gencat1.eloquent-systems.com/webcat/request/DoMenuRequest?SystemName=The+Rooms+Public&UserName=wa+public&Password=&TemplateProcessID=6000_3355&bCachable=1&MenuName=The+Rooms+Archives

Recommended Reading: Port O’ Call, Memories of the Portuguese White Fleet in St. John’s, Newfoundland, by Priscilla Doel (Institute of Social and Economic Research, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, 1992).

Recommended Website:  Watch and listen as  the Portuguese carry the Fatima Statues to the Basilica Cathedral, on May 27, 1955.    http://www.museevirtuel-virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/expositions-exhibitions/basilique-basilica/assets/year_of_joy.html

Old Home Week, 1904

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

October 5, 1903

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives Division 1.502.050 A Regatta crowd on the north side slopes of Quidi Vidi Lake. One of the events held during Old Home Week, 1904

On  October 5, 1903 James J McAuliffe of Everett, Mass. U.S.A. wrote the Catholic bishop of St. John’s, Michael Francis Howley.

McAuliffe was born in St. John’s in 1848 and emigrated to Boston in 1866 to study at the Boston Art School.  As a young artist he established a reputation as a “marine water color artist” but also did some “fine religious pictures”.

In his letter he reminded the bishop that he had made a substantial contribution to the Cathedral (now Basilica) with his painting of ‘Ecce Homo” (Behold the Man) that he presented to the Cathedral and the people of St. John’sin 1899.  The large painting contained 75 life size figures showing Christ before Pilate and hung on the west aisle of the Cathedral.

TOURISM

McAuliffe who had never forgotten his Newfoundland roots was passionate about promoting the colony. He lectured on a regular basis in the “Boston States” at clubs frequented by Newfoundlanders.

During this time (1903-1905) it is estimated that there were 11,000 Newfoundlanders in the Boston States. Many frequented the Newfoundland social clubs in theBoston area that were founded for and by Newfoundlanders including:  the Cabot Club (1899),  the Boston Terra Novian Association  (1865),  Newfoundlanders Mutual Benefit Association  (NMBA) (1891), the United Sons of Terra Nova (1904) and the Avalon Society (1905).

In October 1903 McAuliffe was very active in promoting “Old Home Week” that was to take place the following year. He suggested that the Old Home Week would not only provide “a great source of revenue” for Newfoundland, but it would also promote a “spirit of patriotism” and be a means of “rolling back the clouds of misrepresentation and calumny indulged in by some of the representatives of the foreign press”. It would also, he argued, be a means of spreading tourist information about the country.

Old Home Week took place from  3-10 August 1904 and attracted some 600 ex-Newfoundland residents from the United States.

A VISIT TO THE CATHEDRAL

McAuliffe would have visited the Cathedral (now Basilica) with his friends from the “Boston States” to see his painting (Ecce Homo) that hung in the west aisle of the Cathedral. Today he would be most disappointed!!  His large painting is missing, likely removed for the renovations to the Basilica in 1954.

Only one of his paintings remains in the province described as a “fine painting”  it depicts  John Cabot’s entry in to the harbor of St. John’s. It was regarded as one of his masterpieces.” This painting is  now in a private collection in St. John’s.

James J. McAuliffe, the great promoter of Newfoundland died in his adopted Boston States in August 1921.

Recommended Tour: Immerse yourself in our culture at Newfoundland  and Labrador’s largest public cultural space.  It’s the place where it all comes together – our history, heritage and artistic  expression. The Rooms unites the Provincial Archives,  Art Gallery and Museum. A place for people,  The Rooms is a portal to the many stories our province has to tell.

Recommended Reading: Newfoundlanders in the Boston States:  Newfoundland Studies 6, 1 (1990)  see  http://journals.hil.unb.ca/index.php/NFLDS/article/view/894