is hard to separate the history of the Church of the Sacred Heart
Petite Martinique, from the history of the island of Petite Martinique,
for the church has always had a great influence on the community.
The recorded date of the establishing of
the first Roman Catholic Church on the island of Petite Martinique
is unknown by this author. The Church of England or Anglican Church
built the first church and school on the island on lands which were
later purchased by Mr. Francis Clement, a senior member of the Roman
Catholic faith. Evidences showed that Mr. Francis Clement died in
1854. The Roman Catholics on the island who out numbered the Anglicans
because of the island's links to the French territories, took over
the buildings which were used by the Anglicans and established their
own church and school, paying a yearly lease to the Clement family. In fact, up until july 1907 the buildings used by the Roman Catholics
as church and school and the lands on which they were located were
all privately owned by the Clement family.
Evidence of this can be seen in the conveyance
paper or deed of gift from Francis Clement Jr. to the Roman Catholic
Liber P7, page 336. Recorded on the
21st day of August 1907, at 2:12 pm.
"I Francis Clement of the government
of Grenada shipwright send greeting. Whereas on the said land is
erected a certain Roman Catholic Church and whereas it is desirable
that the said building should be made over to the said Roman Catholic
Church and the land conveyed to the Roman Church Body for the use
of the Roman Catholic Church... I the said Francis Clement as beneficial
owner do hereby convey unto His Grace Patrick Vincent Flood all
that lot piece or parcel of land part of Good Hope Estate situated
at Petite Martinique a Dependency of the Government of Grenda containing
an acre and two roods English statue measure by the same more or
The first Roman Catholic Church building was a wooden
building situated at the site opposite the post office. If you visit
Petite Martinique, look for a small cistern opposite the post office.
That cistern once formed part of the old church compound. A report
stated that the old church was destroyed by a hurricane in the 1940s.
The only recorded hurricane that struck Petite Martinique in the
1940s was on August 14th 1944. The present Church was built in the
1940s. The exact year of the start of construction stated and the
date that the building was commissioned is not known by this author.
However, the building was completed in 1947. The school children
of the day played a major role in its construction. Every day each
child had to carry a stone with him or her to school for the construction
of the new church. The new church was built above the hill adjacent
to the site of the old church.
In 1883 a monk resident in St. Vincent Abbe
Guemigou recorded the baptism of 22 infants in Petite Martinique.
A Grenadian Father Joseph Aquart, better known as Father Acar, appeared
in the Petite Martinique Roman Catholic Church Baptismal Book on
June 3rd 1897. A number of adults were baptized by Father Aquart
that year. These included Arthur Kennaird age 25, Sussannan Coggminna
age 75 both originally from Scotland. The baptism of these Scottish
people indicated that the Scottish who came to Petite Martinique
after emancipation either couldn't find a place to practice their
faith or were not allowed to practice their religion on the island
and were converted to Roman Catholic faith. However, it was not
only the Scottish that were converted to Catholicism, but anyone
who had intended to take up permanent residence on the island. For
instance, Joseph Edgar Blair, age 13, from Barbados was baptized
in 1904, Josephine cuffie age 7 from St. Vincent in 1906, Adina
Joseph age 29 from St. Vincent in 1943 and Grefton Gregg, age 31,
from Bequia in 1943 to name a few. Perhaps this is one of the reasons
why Petite Martinique renamed 100% Catholics up until the 1980s.
It is said by the early 1900s Petite Martinique
had the highest percentage of Roman Catholics in the Grenadines
and they continually insisted on their importance. In 1912 they
addressed a petition to the Archbishop in Trinidad.
Address from the Residents of Petite Martinique
to Archbishop John Pius Dowling 1912.
"We Pray that your Grace may give us
a residential Parish Priest. We do not mean that Father Aquart neglects
us in any manner but having much to contend with his principal parish
he is unable to devote much time to us and as far as our sister
islands are concerned (Mayreau and Canouan) he had hardly find time
to visit them... Many there are who pass out of their mortal life
without seeing the priest... Father Aquart erected a presbytery
here so that some day a residential priest may be stationed in this
In March of 2006 a Father Gregg McManus
arrived on the island and became the first full time residential
priest on the island. The Church of the Sacred Heart is anxiously
awaiting the ordination of its first priest in that of Brother Hugh
Logan, who will begin his final year come September at the regional
Seminary of St. John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs
The Church continues to lead the way in terms
of education on the island. The only school on the island is owned
by the church of the Sacred Heart. The people of Petite Martinique
are always serious about their religion and maintain a high percentage
of Roman Catholics in its population to this day.