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St. Hyacinth's Church

St. Hyacinth's Church, D'Escousse; 1870 - 1954.

July 20, 1954; A wind-whipped fire which was reported to have broken out in the Vestry of the Church Tuesday afternoon completely destroyed St. Hyacinth's Roman Catholic Church, one of the oldest Churches on Cape Breton. The fire also destroyed the house and barn of Alex Samson. The nearby Convent and residences of Dr. Gardiner and Andrew Poirier were saved.


St. Hyacinth's Parish was created September 22, 1844 by Pope Gregory XVI and this decree became effective on July 20, 1845. Named after Fr. Hyacinthe Hudson who served in D'Escousse from 1812 - 1826. Both were named after St. Hyacinth 1185 - 1257 of Cracow, Poland; a Dominican Friar.

The first Pastor was Rev. Denis Geary, an Irishman who served the Parish from 1845 - 1849. There is no record of when the first Church was built or it's location.

The Church in the above photo, the second Church was completed around 1870. It was a mix of Gothic and Classical styles, The interior a basic basilica design with a large balcony area on each side,the choir area was part of the balcony on the front above the main entrance. The Church was decorated with stained glass windows, religous statues and carved woodwork.

The present Church built in 1955 has a brick edifice and the interior is a tradition modern design.

For most of it's life the members followed a more Europian style of worship and practise. Most only went to confession and Communion twice a year, at Christmas and Easter, a European custom.

Individual pews were family owned and passed down within families and were paid for by the year. Our Langlois family had a pew in the balcony about half way along on the west side.

But like most village Churches it was the centre of the community and life evolved around it's Liturgical year.

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St. Hyacinth's D'Escousse, Nova Scotia; Church Records

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Church Marriage Dispensations for Consanguinity

Official Church permission is required to marry a blood relative. 
This permission was given in the form of granting dispensations by the 
local Bishop for varying degrees of consanguinity of blood relationship. 
No distinction was made between half-siblings and those who shared 
both parents. 

There are four basic degrees of consanguinity:
First degree: siblings, who share the same parents
Second degree: first cousins, who share the same grandparents
Third degree: second cousins, who share the same great grandparents
Fourth degree: third cousins, who share the same great, great grandparents

Therefore, if second cousins wished to marry one another, they would need to 
be granted a dispensation for a third (or third to third - 3/3) degree 
of consanguinity from the Church before the marriage could be solemnized.
Among the Acadians, dispensations were not always that simple. A couple could 
be third cousins through their mothers, as well as their fathers, requiring 
a dispensation for a double, fourth degree of consanguinity. A 
relationship could also be uneven where as the groom's grandfather was 
the brother of the bride's great grandfather requiring a dispensation for 
a third to  fourth degree of consanguinity, because they were second 
cousins, once removed.

Dispensations were not limited to blood relationships. There were also 
spiritual relationships. When a person married, that person became a 
spiritual member of the new spouse's family. A sister-in-law was, in a 
spiritual sense, a sister. This applied to brothers, cousins, etc. If a 
man wished to marry his late wife's first cousin, spiritually he would 
be marrying his own first cousin. This would require a dispensation for a 
second degree of affinity. Dispensations for affinity relationships wee 
governed by the same guidelines as blood relationships or consanguinity.

Dispensation play a major role in genealogy. With a lack of surviving, 
original records of the late eighteenth-century and a number of 
nineteenth-century marriage records in which the parents of the couple were 
not noted, dispensations are a valuable tool in the confirmation of ancestry 
and relationships. Dispensations are used by professional researchers in 
determining if indeed such and such ancestors were related to one another 
because of the dispensations being granted their children, etc.


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Last update January 01, 2001

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