The crypt is located in the basement of the 1917 cathedral. Like the apse above, it has the shape of a hemicycle. The site was torn out of the cliff that covered the plateau on which was built the first parsonage that became the Bishop's palace in 1874. It took considerable drilling to level a surface that would constitute the floor of the building. The crypt takes the shape of the sanctuary of the cathedral located above, but with reduced dimensions because of the ten foot walls necessary to accommodate the tombs.
Mgr. Paul LaRocque designated this place as a funeral space. The word crypt is a term used for a funeral vault. The official inauguration that took place on 3 december 1919, was highlighted by laying down the remains of Mgr. Antoine Racine. Mgr Paul LaRocque, who presided the ceremony wrote a detailed account of the event in a letter to the clergy, dated 2 January 1920, and published in the Mandements des évêques de Sherbrooke, vol. 8-9.
Occupants of the crypt : A first section of the crypt holds the remains of the titular bishops, from Mgr. Antoine Racine (1893) to Mgr. Jean-Marie Fortier (2002). Mgr. Hubert-Olivier Chalifoux (1922), an auxiliary bishop, was also put to rest there. The remains of Mgr. Louis-Joseph Cabana (1981), missionary to Africa and brother of Mgr. Georges Cabana was initially put to rest in the crypt. The following year, the mortal remains of Mgr. Louis-Joseph Cabana were withdrawn from the crypt and sent to Kampala, Africa, as requested by the religious order he had founded. The Society of White Fathers took charge of the translation. So far, it is the only deceased that left the crypt.
A section, to the left of the one occupied by the bishops, is dedcated to the great servants of the diocesan Church : vicar-generals, procurators, chancellors, prelates and canons.
Three other sections are reserved for diocesan priests who would request to be put to rest here. Father Venant Charest, parish priest (1869-1881) of St. Camille, Wolfe County, was the first one to take advantage of the privilege in 1921.
Most of the funeral niches are reserved for laypersons. Among them, two relatives of Mgr. LaRocque : his sister Delphine (1919), who lived for many years with the Petites Soeurs de la Sainte-Famille, and a nephew by marriage, Michel Paré (1920), the benefactor who paid for the stained glass in the bishop's chapel. Also, the architect Louis-Napoléon Audet and his wife whose name does not appear; six members of the Sylvestre family, Ernest Sylvestre (1955) and his wife (1931), and four grandchildren (two boys and two girls; Mrs. Angela Herminie Rousille, the little blind girl of Jesus Child, a lady of French origin who lived with the Petites Soeurs de la Sainte-Famille after a financial bankrupcy. Sherbrooke residents occupy the other sections of the crypt.
Source : notes compiled by Father Paul-É. Paré, 12 June and 5 September 2012.