The church is located on Hughson Street. South and Augusta Street in the heart of Hamilton's Downtown core. It was officially opened by the late Bishop J.F.Ryan in fall of 1966. The architect George Schneider and the builders of the modern structure incorporated in the church walls two tablets depicting the Ten Commandments. These were taken from the front of the synagogue Temple Anshe Shalom which originally sat on this site. When the temple moved, the synagogue building served as the first St. Charles Church. The church is named after St. Charles Garnier who was one of the Canadian Martyrs.
St. Charles Garnier
our patron saint
Charles Garnier was born in Paris in 1605. The grandson of a martyr, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at the age of 19. Ordained a priest in 1635, he succeeded in convincing his superiors of his suitability for the Canadian missions, and he set sail for Quebec in the following year. Arriving at Huronia on August 13, he was received by Jean de Brebeuf at Ilonateria, the first permanent mission along the Hurons, situated at the present Todd's Point in Simcoe County.
As the incursions of the Iroquois became more frequent and violent, Sainte- Marie among the Hurons was built in 1639. Situated on the Wye River, some three miles from the present Midland, this was to be the centre of mission activity in Huronia.
However, Garnier now travelled with Isaac Jogues to carry the Cross to the Tobacco nations or the Petuns on the peninsula between Nottawasaga Bay and Lake Huron. From 1640 to 1646 he laboured at the village called St. Joseph 11, the largest settlement of the Cord clan.
Father Ragueneau writing in the Jesuit Relations of Charles at this period says: "The love of God which reigned in his heart animated all his movements and made them holy".
In October of 1646 he founded the missions of St. John and St. Mathias among the Petuns. By now the Iroquois were obviously Benton the effacement of the Huron nations. After the invasion of 1649 all the mission centres among the Hurons were destroyed with the exception of Sainte- Marie among the Hurons. Then the attack was directed against the Petuns. In his village mission of St. John called Etharita, Charles Garnier suffered the torment of martyrdom on December 7, 1649. He was buried on the spot of his destroyed church.
"God was everything to him and without God everything was nothing. His virtues were heroic and he was not lacking a single love that goes to make up a great saint".