Beth-El,in Hebrew, means ‘house of God’. Such is the name Jacob gave the place where he had a mystic experience, a revelation of the divine presence. It became a national shrine in ancient Israel.
The Bethel Center is a place for spiritual growth and healing in the archdiocese of Gatineau. Located in a former rectory in the Masson sector, it is a place of prayer, reflection and encounter where everyone can be open to God’s presence.
Offer a welcoming presence to all groups who want to come here and pray or renew themselves spiritually; welcome anyone who’s lonely and who seeks a favourable environment to deepen his spiritual existence and his faith in Jesus-Christ.
With this perspective in mind, the center favours:
- Silence and prayer;
- Fraternity and participation;
- For spirituality groups;
- Bible groupes;
- Sharing groups;
- Prayer groups;
- Groups for spiritual growth; and
- All manners of pastoral groups.
History of the Bethel centre
The history of Bethel is a sacred history from its birth to the present, considering the evangelical spirit that animated its artisans throughout all these years.
The ‘’Bethel’’ Center was born from a prophetic inspiration during a prayer meeting in 1974. After having heard this call, a group of people went searching, in the region of Hull-Gatineau, for a house where they could answer to the invitation of the Lord.
After numerous difficulties in securing the funds to buy the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Parish manse, (that had been put up for sale), Bishop Adolphe Proulx got personally involved in the case, and proposed that the Diocese of Hull acquire the house and the adjoining terrain. And now that the diocese owned the house, all that was left to do was put together the administrative structures that would ensure the material and spiritual functioning of the future house of prayer.
Setting up a non-profit organization seemed to be the most suitable way to meet the objectives of the house; and in August 1975, the first provisional administrative council was created.
But how to ensure the survival of this project? It was understood that all operating and maintenance costs would be covered by the new corporation: creative ideas, activities, donations,… diverse sources of financing.
Two important names are often mentioned when it comes to the first years of implementation of the proper functioning of the house: Mrs. Lisa Archambault and Mrs. Gisèle-A- Chartrand. With the help of volunteers, these two faithful animators held the fort and the administrative council until 1985.
The house is first and foremost a place where you can come and communicate with the Lord through prayer and silence, on a lone pilgrimage or in a group.
In 1978, work was done to expand the house to the size and look that it has today.
In 1985, the desire to have a permanent presence in the house resurfaced, and the Franciscan Sisters of M.I.C. took on that responsibility until 1993. The Ottawa Sisters of Charity then took over the Center, managing it until 2013.
In 2013, and with regret, the Sisters of Charity left Bethel Center for reasons of personnel, and maybe also to discern and to question themselves on the needs of the diocese and the means (who knows?) to meet these new needs.
The Center was closed for two years; and then, in 2015, a new team from the Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux (Sisters from Sri Lanka and India) opened its doors again, in the name of the Diocese of Gatineau-Hull, with the same objectives of spiritual healing, silence and prayer.