WATCH: Quebec’s very first monastery-hospital has been converted into a “healing hotel.” As Global’s Caroline Plante explains, starting August 1st, the restored building will open its doors to tourists in need of some relaxation and renewal.
QUEBEC CITY – Nearly 400 years ago, they came to New France to care for the sick.
The Augustine Sisters founded North America’s first hospital in Quebec City, then about a dozen others across Quebec.
They worked as managers, nurses and pharmacists and then they grew old.
“Their numbers were dwindling, the average age was increasing quite significantly so they knew they had no future continuing on in the vocation that they had,” said Augustine Monastery Chair Evan Price.
The Quebec City monastery is now being converted into a unique type of hotel.
“There’s a lot of history about medicine and health. And today what we want to do is open to the general public a place of culture and wellness, meaning we’ll have rooms, 65 rooms, we have contemporary rooms, we have authentic rooms with a monastic atmosphere,” explained the hotel’s executive director, Isabelle Duchesneau.
No television, no computers, no wi-fi.
“We want to disconnect from our active lives and we just want to be in a place where there’s calm and quietness,” Duchesneau added.
The hotel’s “Discovery & Balance” package for example includes one night, three healthy meals, access to the museum and daily activities for about $200.
There’s also yoga, meditation, art, herbalism, massage therapy and sleep enhancement workshops.
The goal: to pursue the nuns’ mission and help people recharge their batteries, both physically and mentally.
“There’s a very strong demand for this type of product,” said Price. “Also it’s in Old Quebec, that’s also very rare to have it in an urban setting.”
The Sisters point out this will be a secular hotel; they won’t be involved in activities, but will continue to live in a neighboring wing.
Sister Lise Tanguay said guests will contribute to the hotel’s social mission, which is to also offer low-price accommodations to professional and natural caregivers.