POINT 22 | La ligne bleue | #HamiltonVilleAccueillante
OUR LADY OF ALL SOULS | 21 Barton St W, Hamiltonu
Where Italian, Spanish and English meet.
"Where Italian, Spanish and English live together, in front of the church altar, and in their parish bulletin. That's a great example of Hamilton's cultural diversity!"
Our Lady of All Souls opened its doors in 1923 to serve a majority of Italians from Racalmuto. The beautiful frescoes that decorate the church were later added by the Racalmuto artist who immigrated to Hamilton in the late 1940s.
The Madonna who is part of the procession through the streets during the Festa Maria SS del Monte is prominently displayed to the right of the altar.
Between 1960 and 2000, nearly 70% of Racalmuto's original community moved up the escarpment, gradually replaced by Portuguese and then Latin American immigrants. This explains the offer of masses in English, Italian and Spanish in this welcoming church!
BEHIND THE SCENES
Following the official establishment in 1986 of the annual Festa Maria SS del Monte celebration (which further strengthened Hamilton's ties to Racalmuto), the organizing committees wanted to fund a replica of Racalmuto's statue of the Madonna del Monte.
With the financial support of Our Lady of All Souls and many members of the community, the committee was able to commission the new statue. It arrived in June 1995 from Ortisei, Italy.
The statue covered with white sheets was unveiled in the church in front of the congregation. One can imagine the emotion... It is said that the church shook with applause! Today, the small original statue is used for the Friday night Festa ceremony, while the new statue is used for the main Sunday procession.
FOR THE CURIOUS
For history buffs, a fascinating article by Sam Migliore details the shared history of Hamilton and its sister city Racalmuto.
Entitled Hamilton's Racalmuto: Immigration, Cultural Identity and the Festa del Monte, and published in 2006, it can be found at https://core.ac.uk/download/80295691.pdf
The ambitious article reflects on the impact of twinning between two cities on the cultural identity of diasporas. The consolidation of emotional and cultural ties is undeniable in the case of Hamilton and Racalmuto.
It's not as well known, but Hamilton is also twinned with cities in countries other than Italy: Monterrey, Mexico; Ma'anshan, China; Mangalore, India; Fukuyama, Japan; Flint, United States ... and Shawinigan, Quebec (for the French-speaking section!).
TO POINT 23...
(Distance = 440 metres)
Return to Barton St W. Turn left on Macnab, right on Colbourne St, left on Park St N to St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral, corner of Park St N and Sheaffe St.