Giving to the campaign shows faith in the future, says Pierrette Rayle

Christ Church Cathedral’s Major fundraising campaign is supported by community leaders who have chosen to take responsibility for the preservation of our architectural heritage and who believe in the value of the music and social justice programs run out of the cathedral building. This week, retired Superior Court Justice Pierrette Rayle tells us about the reasons behind her commitment to the campaign.

The Honourable Pierrette Rayle: ‘When I make a gift to one of our institutions, I see it as reserving a place for myself in the future. A little bit of me will live on.’

Pierrette Rayle believes that honouring and preserving Montreal’s institutions for future generations is an important task. “Montreal’s universities, hospitals, museums, orchestras. . . Our forebears built these, and later generations have maintained them. They replaced a boiler, redid a roof, or refinished a floor. We inherited their work.”

As for this generation’s legacy, Ms. Rayle believes it includes the ambitious restoration of Christ Church Cathedral’s clock tower, spire, masonry and interiors, a project she has been a part of since the beginning. For nearly three years, she was a member of the Steering Committee that did the careful planning and preparation for the project and laid the groundwork for the current Major Fundraising Campaign. She now serves very actively with other prominent members of the community on the Honorary Committee that advises on and promotes the cause.

Christ Church Cathedral in the late 1980s during the construction of Les promenades de la cathédrale.

Not our first larger than life project

This is not Pierrette’s first connection with Christ Church Cathedral. She and her husband, John Gomery, were married here. Later, their daughter attended Sunday School. “That was in the days of Andrew Hutchison and Jan Dijkman,” she recalls. “We all loved the music, provided largely in those days by Gerald Wheeler.” She also remembers the time the church underwent major renovations in the late 1980s, during which it sat on stilts. “John was Rector’s Warden at the time, so this is not our first larger-than-life project with the cathedral!”

Ms. Rayle and her husband John Gomery on their wedding day.

“For us,” she adds, “one of the charming attractions of the church is its extraordinary beauty. I can’t imagine Saint Catherine Street without the tower and spire that is so familiar to us. It’s a building that is elegant and welcoming at the same time.” Ms. Rayle also believes the cathedral is an important source of inspiration for Montrealers of all spiritual affiliations.

“When we look around us, everywhere in Montreal, what we see was built by individuals like us, some of whom had only modest means. They got together to create a legacy for those who would follow. And now it’s our turn.”

Why such enthusiasm and conviction for the cathedral’s campaign? “There are many forms of faith: faith in our ancestors, faith in the Church, faith in the meaning of life, spiritual faith. . . and there is faith in the future. For me, it’s important that we show our faith in the future by participating in this campaign.”

“It doesn’t matter how much. Just that we build on what those who came before us have done and leave a bit of ourselves for future generations.”

The Honourable Pierrette Rayle earned an LL. L. magna cum laude in 1969 from l’Université de Montréal. She was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1970, and practised with the Montreal office of Martineau Walker (now Fasken Martineau), specializing in litigation and family law. She retired as a judge from the Quebec Court of Appeal in 2002, but continues to practise part-time. Her devotion to community institutions continued throughout her career. She has served on the boards of the Comité consultatif de la Faculté de droit de l’Université de Montréal, the Fondation du Barreau du Québec, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Régie de l’assurance-maladie du Québec, St. George’s School of Montreal, and the Institut conjoint des hôpitaux de Montréal (McGill). She was President of the Montreal Children’s Hospital from 1982 to 1984.

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