The Musée archives special connection to the recently canonized Pope John Paul II

On April 27, 2014 at St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Pope Francis declared Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II saints during a historic canonization ceremony. It was an unprecedented ceremony since it was “the first time a current and a retired pope [Pope Benedict XVI] have celebrated Mass together in public in the 2,000-year history of the church” (National Post: The day of four popes).

The Musée Héritage Museum has information to share about one of these popes. In our archival holdings are photographs from the Edmonton, Alberta portion of Pope John Paul II’s papal visit to Canada in September of 1984, including the Papal Mass.

Some people may wonder how a museum in St. Albert, Alberta ended up with photos from this significant event. The answer to that question has to do with a local photographer, Victor Post.

Victor Post with his camera, [ca. 197-]. Victor Post fonds, 2012.02

Victor Post was a prominent photographer based out of St. Albert. He was also an official photographer for the province of Alberta. His photographs and records were donated to the Musée by his wife Kathy Post in 2012. These records are found under the Victor Post fonds. Among these photographs are his commissioned works for Alberta, which includes the papal visit in 1984.

The portion relating to the Pope’s visit includes photos of many events attended by Pope John Paul II, Victor Post’s press badge, and itineraries for the papal visit to Alberta and Canada. There are also photos from a not so well known stopover by the Pope in September 1987. In his first tour, Pope John Paul II was unable to visit Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories due to bad weather. He promised to return, so on his American Tour in 1987, he found time to visit Fort Simpson. The photos in our archives show his arrival and departure from Edmonton, where he stayed one night. He was greeted by Premier Don Getty and other dignitaries.

The Victor Post fonds consists of a variety of photographs and includes royal visits, mountain landscapes, the Calgary Olympics, the oil industry, Alberta and local St. Albert history, and much more. Please contact the archivist at the Musée Héritage Museum to learn more about this extraordinary photographer or to view the photos Victor Post took throughout Alberta, including those from the papal visit.