On December 11, 2018, Radio-Canada broadcasted a short documentary on Holy Family Academy in Lévis, near Quebec. The establishment has been directed by the priests of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X since 1990.
In the video, the priests and Sisters are happy to present their beautiful apostolate in this school where 88 children from ages 6 to 18 are enrolled. The delighted and radiant faces of the children and young adults in the midst of their priests speak louder than words. Even if some of the reporter’s explanations are inexact, the video does present a beautiful image of the Society’s apostolate in Quebec.
Holy Family Academy is a French-speaking school founded by the Society of Saint Pius X in Lévis, Quebec. A majestic building—the former Monsignor Guay Institute—situated on a large property on the St. Lawrence River, the school welcomed its first students in the fall of 1990.
Charles Guay was born in Saint-Joseph de Lévis on January 23, 1845. After studying at the elementary, middle and high schools of Lévis and La Pocatière, he entered the Major Seminary of Quebec, where he was ordained a priest on June 12, 1870. In 1878, he was promoted to the dignity of an Apostolic Protonotary by Pope Leo XIII as a reward for his work at the service of the Seminary of Rimouski. Monsignor Guay thus became the first Canadian to be raised to this great dignity of the Church.
He zealously developed the apostolate of the Catholic Church in the eastern provinces of Canada, even learning the Miꞌkmaq language so he could preach to the natives and hear their confessions.
He gave all his belongings to the Institute of the Sisters of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Chicoutimi for the foundation of a hospital in his native parish, which was solemnly blessed on May 13, 1902. On September 17, 1916, the hospital was destroyed by a fire and had to be rebuilt. Monsignor Guay fell ill and died on December 2, 1922. His work lived on; it became an orphanage for boys and was enlarged multiple times, taking the name of the Monsignor Guay Institute in 1951. On December 8, 1989, the Society of Saint Pius X purchased the property from the Sisters of Good Counsel and resumed the work of education desired by Monsignor. Guay under the name of Holy Family Academy.
On the school’s website, its principal, Fr. Olivier Berteaux, invites Canadian parents to come discover the beauty of the site, “the originality of our education, and get a glimpse of the spirit of this institution.” Perched high on the cliffs above the St. Lawrence River looking down on Quebec, in a verdant setting, the academy “seeks to welcome its students in a human-size environment, in order to provide full attention to each person,” and can accept up to 150 students. “If I were to define our ambition,” explains Fr. Berteaux, “I would present it like this: to transmit the demand for excellence in an atmosphere of friendship that will leave students with the memory of a formation period during which they were happy. In an atmosphere of faith and love of God expressed through fidelity to Catholic Tradition and its age-old liturgy, we wish each to be able to give his best, as our motto says: Duc in altum.”