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Event launches effort to display bells of St. Louis Church

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One of the four bells, cast in 1916 at the world-famous Paccard Bell Foundry of Annecy, France, is removed from the church’s tower last year following its shuttering by the Diocese of Portland.

Community members are invited to join Mayor Jonathan LaBonte, members of the Auburn City Council, and members of the original 1915 donor families for an “Exhibition of the Bells” of St. Louis Church on Saturday, September 20 at 11 a.m. The event will take place at Cote Crane Company, located at 2980 Hotel Road in Auburn.

The program will kick off a community campaign to raise $12,000 to purchase the bells and house them as part of a local heritage monument in the New Auburn neighborhood where they have touched the lives of so many for the past 100 years.

In October of 1916, the four bells, cast in the world-famous Paccard Bell Foundry of Annecy, France, were blessed and raised into the gothic tower of St. Louis Church. The two largest bells were donated by the Provost family, the third was donated by the Dupont family, and the fourth was donated by Rev. Henri Gory, all of New Auburn. The bells were removed last year after the Diocese of Portland closed the church.

“Having been born and raised in this neighborhood, I’m excited about this effort,” said LaBonte. “The raising of these bells was a major milestone in the development of the New Auburn neighborhood. It brought together our Catholic community, local business leaders, and families. While these bells will no longer call people to worship, they can still play a role in drawing the neighborhood, its families and businesses, closer together.”

To help mark the occasion, women’s vocal group “Les Troubadours” will sing a selection of inspiring French-Canadian songs, including “Les Cloches du Hameau” (“The Bells of the Village”).


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