Skip to main content

Saint-Columban Cemetery Project: Restoration Activity

Session 1: 2022

Leslie Parker and Kelley O’Rourke met at the St-Colomban cemetery this morning to assess the work needed to be done on each headstone. They had the pleasure of meeting Jacques Meunier – responsible for the cemetery maintenance. The wall is a separate item. They selected 4 headstones out of all of them to create a demonstration video.

They are going to meet at the cemetery at a later date to begin the work on 4 headstones, Judith Burke, James Grimes, Mary Purcell & Michael Williams. They need to be cleaned and levelled. Laurie McKeown-Thomassin will videotape Leslie and Stuart as they explain how to properly clean, straighten and repair the 4 headstones we selected today to use in our demonstration videos. Claude Bourguignon has volunteered to talk about the persons buried in the plots of the 4 monuments we selected. Once completed, the videos will be shared with the Fabrique and posted on the CIMPN website. We will create subtitles in French.

Monuments: Burke, Grimes, Purcell & Williams

Work to be done: Correct lean, clean, fix cracks, return cross atop Purcell monument.

Session 2: 2022

Kelley O’Rourke, Claude Bourguignon, Leslie Parker, Stuart Cass and Laurie McKeown-Thomassin met at the Saint-Colomban cemetery to begin the work of cleaning, repairing, and straightening 4 of the monuments in the historic part of the cemetery. Originally, we had estimated we would be there for 6 hours but we were only there for 4. We filmed the process and Claude gave a brief history of the persons buried in each of the lots. We worked on the monuments, Judith Burke, Michael Williams, James Grimes and Mary Purcell. We completed the cleaning and levelling work except for Grimes as we need a bigger jack to level the headstone.

The videos are bilingual, and we will share them with everyone once edited. We are hoping to use the videos to raise awareness and the much-needed funds to complete the entire project of repairing and mapping the historic integrity of the Saint-Colomban cemetery. We are hoping the City of Saint-Colomban as well as the Fabrique, private donations and other levels of government will help defray the costs. In the meantime, we have started small with a few volunteers, and we are hoping to grow on all levels. Let’s get the word out…if you or anyone else would like to donate. 100% of donations specified for the Saint-Colomban project go to the Saint-Colomban project!

Session 3: 2022

Stuart Cass, Leslie Parker and Kelley O’Rourke met at the cemetery. The weather was not overly cooperative, but we didn’t let that stop us! We had to make a few changes to our plans because some of the repairs needed like for instance, the epoxy for the cracked monuments, could not be completed in the rain. Sunny and dry weather is required for the epoxy to set and dry properly. We did not film because of the weather.

Jacques Meunier stopped by with some coffee and snacks which was much appreciated on a wet and cool morning. We used some of Jacques’ D2 cleaner and 2 bags of the screening he had on hand. Thank you!

We changed a few things on the fly due to the weather. We decided to focus on cleaning and straightening. We added Patrick Odea, Michael Sexton. Albert Williams, Patrick Carroll and John Dwyer.

John Dwyer’s monument ate up a lot of the time. What a surprise we got with John Dwyer when we discovered the bottom half of the monument was buried. Leslie and Stuart raised it quite a bit and found an inscription that had been buried – “and two of their infant children” under his wife’s name, Bridget Couliton.

We prepped Timothy Kelly’s monument – which is in two separate pieces – for a form to be made on Monday (weather permitting) when we meet.

We had another 2 surprises. We realized the John and Mary Phelan stone was about to topple over so we need to build a temporary support for it until we can rent a backhoe. We’ll level it at the same time we address other monuments which require a backhoe to move them back into place. We’ll do this all the same day to reduce cost.

We also found the bottom half of a stone that we are not sure where it goes at this point. We found it two rows behind Catherine Laughran’s monument. It appears to read,”erected by her father J MAGERR? J MAGERR?”  and “Cote-Des-Neiges Outremont?”

We will meet again to begin the work on 2 monuments, Timothy Kelly and construct a brace for John and Mary Phelan. We will also finish up the ones we did not get to last week, which require some extra prep work. Timothy Kelly and John/Mary Phelan.

Session 4: 2022

We had a very big day today. We produced 2 videos explaining how to epoxy a crack in a monument, how to set two broken pieces together and how to prepare a wooden concrete form for a monument foundation.

The broken monument in question belongs to Timothy Kelly (Figures 35-36). The foundation this monument was partially missing and broken so a wooden concrete form was constructed.

We also received a donation of wood from GSM Construction to build the brace for the John & Mary Phelan monument.

We produced another video explaining how to mix and pour concrete for a monument foundation.

Cemetery Restoration Videos

How to Clean Headstones

How to Straighten a Headstone

How to Fix Cracked or Broken Headstones

How to Build a Base for a Headstone

Category Tags