The astonishing story of a tiny chapel plaque

Oratory of St Joseph
Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Father Rocky, Executive Director of Relevant Radio®, visits Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal every year in thanksgiving for answered prayers. He shared a brief reflection from his visit this year in a Teaching Minute that airs on the Relevant Radio network.

“There’s a little chapel on the highest hill in Montreal and it’s dedicated to Saint Joseph. On the inside walls there’s some plaques in French and others in English. The chapel was built by St. Andre Bessette about a hundred years ago and I’ve gone there on pilgrimage every year for the past ten years because St. Joseph and St. Andre have really helped Relevant Radio,” says Fr. Rocky.

Plaques on wall at Oratory of St JosephHe continued, “The walls of that chapel are covered with commemorative marble plaques as tokens of thanksgiving for favors or miracles people have received. I couldn’t read the plaques in French, but this one in English really stuck out. It reads: ‘In gratitude for the safe return of my two sons – Mrs. Tartaro, Syracuse, New York; March 12, 1946.’ She must have prayed every day for her two sons who were soldiers in World War II, and they came home safe and sound. Thank you, St. Joseph!”

A Relevant Radio listener in Philadelphia almost drove off the road when she heard what Fr. Rocky had said. Monica sent an email to Relevant Radio to share how his words stunned her and meant so much to her family.

She wrote:

Josephine Tartaro and two granddaughters
Josephine Tartaro and granddaughters Annette and Michele in July 1965. Photo courtesy of Monica Speach.

“I was listening to Relevant Radio this morning, July 12th at approximately 8:35 and Father Rocky was telling a story about the Oratory in Montreal. He mentioned a plaque that he has read which is located in the small chapel on the grounds of the Oratory; the plaque is my grandmother’s, Josephine Tartaro. (I almost drove off the road) My grandmother led a yearly pilgrimage to St. Anne de Beaupre from Syracuse, NY with the first stop being St. Joseph’s where she and the other pilgrims on the bus spent the night and participated in a candlelit procession. She began doing this in 1937 and continued until her death in 1982 at which time my aunt continued the tradition until illness prevented her going. During the 60’s and 70s my grandmother, who had over 30 grandchildren, took groups of us with her on the July trip. The fact that Father Rocky mentioned her plaque, which story is legend in our family, was astounding. I am using this opportunity to reach out to all my cousins – men and women in our 60s and early 70s – to remind them of the strong faith our grandmother had and also perhaps interest them in Relevant Radio. Please convey my thanks to Father Rocky and let him know how much this means to all of us, particularly my mother who is 92 and her older sister.”

Listen to the full Teaching Minute here:

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.