In its early development, the Monument Lefebvre site based its activities around the following statement of commemorative intent: To commemorate the survival of the Acadians from 1755 to the present in the Maritimes.
As the site's development has evolved, and in response to the ongoing input of interested and committed partners, the site's mandate is changing. The following statements represent an evolving direction as the management strategy currently being created recognizes three elements:
- To commemorate the Monument Lefebvre as a memorial to Father Lefebvre c.s.c., founder, in 1864, of the first French language, degree-granting college in Atlantic Canada.
- To commemorate the Monument Lefebvre as a symbol of the renaissance of Acadian culture that began in the 19th century.
- To conserve and protect the Monument Lefebvre as host venue to the Acadian Odyssey Exhibit which explores the history of the Acadians of Atlantic Canada from 1755 to the present.
At Monument Lefebvre National Historic Site and the Acadian Odyssey Exhibit, visitors can live a unique experience - visiting a historic site that continues to spark the same feelings of pride among Acadians as when initially built.
Saint Joseph's College
Father Camille Lefebvre was a member of the Holy Cross Fathers Congregation. He founded Saint Joseph's College in Memramcook, the first French language, degree-granting institution in Atlantic Canada. From 1864, through the next thirty years, the College, under his guidance, helped to educate many of the leaders of the Acadian Renaissance.
In 1881, the College served as the site of the first Acadian National Convention, where the framework of ensuring the survival, strengthening and growth of Acadian culture began.
Father Lefebvre died in January 1895 and, one month later, a campaign began among alumni and friends of Saint Joseph's College to recognize the institution's founder through the construction of a new building in his honour. The Monument Lefebvre building was inaugurated in ceremonies on June 16-17, 1897.
For many years, the building housed the institution's science labs and its theatre. The theatre hosted events of importance to the Acadian community for a long time. From concerts by the famous and not so famous, to lectures, oratory contests, conferences, college graduation ceremonies and more, the theatre, with its near-perfect acoustics, was a focus of Acadian pride.
From a questionable future in the late 1970s, and a decade or more of heroic struggle by interested citizens, Monument Lefebvre has emerged restored to its former glory with a bright future. The building is destined to become a cultural centre of great importance fuelled by a strong community-based enthusiasm and dedication.
National Historic Site
The Monument Lefebvre was named a National Historic Site in 1994 at a special event integral to the World Acadian Congress.