Bromptonville’s Sainte-Praxède Parish
Starting in the 1830s, Protestant missionaries travelled across the Brompton area. In 1854, with the arrival of the St. Francis Mills in Brompton Falls, the Catholic population increased. The first Catholic school opened at the corner of Du Curé-Larocque and De la Croix streets beside the Welsh brothers’ wheelwright workshop.
This same year saw the arrival of missionary Abbott Alfred-Elie Dufresne in Brompton Falls. He came to give last rites to a St. Francis Mills employee who was infected with dysentery. He took the opportunity to celebrate the village’s first Catholic mass. Upon his return to Saint-Hyacinthe’s archbishopric, he requested that Brompton Falls become a Catholic mission. His request was immediately accepted. Thus, missionaries continued to make regular visits to the residents of Brompton Falls. At this time, they were lodged by the townspeople and said mass with them. In 1863, the mission became a chapelry, a chapel was built in 1869 and a cemetery was set up nearby. A presbytery followed in 1872.
In 1885, the chapelry became the Brompton Falls parish of Saint Praxède and was assigned its first resident priest, Jean-Baptiste Ponton. In 1903, the parish included the village’s first school, the Marie-Immaculée convent for young girls, on Du Curé-Larocque Street. In 1904, Bromptonville’s new church was built where the Brompton Falls chapel had stood earlier. In the same year, another school, the Académie du Sacré-Coeur (for boys), was opened by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart on De la Croix Street. In 1907, it was the presbytery’s turn to be replaced by a larger structure.
In 1953, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart opened a seminary on Du Frère Théode Street, where Noé Ponton’s land was located long ago. The establishment’s current name is École secondaire de Bromptonville. In 1959, the Académie du Sacré-Coeur moved into a new building on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Street.
Thus, the growth of the Bromptonville’s parish of Sainte-Praxède was directly linked to the development of the town, as was more or less the case all over Quebec.