The Roseau Cathedral

Cathedral of Our Lady of Fair Haven

tanding on a hill overlooking Roseau, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Fair Haven was begun around 1800 and completed in 1916.

cathedral1Bernard Lauwyck, Diocesan Engineer

As the Engineer of the Diocese of Roseau for more than 32 year I am of course in a privileged position to know all about this building. I have been working on the preparations for the roof renovation project for more than 15 years now. I have always had a keen interest in history, religion, church architecture, art and art history and was aided by my Belgian education which included passing the grade in a wide range of subjects among others art history, history, geography, languages, biology, etc. These were not necessary to complete my engineering studies but all this information has now become handy…

read more about me...

I always have been a bookworm who preferred to have his head in books than other activities. In 2005 I added to my knowledge the expertise of creating a Catholic Liturgical space based on recent guidelines by attending a seminar in Grenada and reading virtually any book that was available on the subject. I came to realise that this was my mission and ministry and the results can be observed in the chapels I designed and built.  I have been writing the articles for three reasons:

1. The need to keep the Cathedral renovation project in the public domain so that desperately needed fundraising does not falter.

2. The realisation that I have a great story to tell and that I have knowledge which should be shared with the general public.

3. The local lack of knowledge of and appreciation for the local Dominican history, heritage and the meaning of religious architecture and symbols. Coming from a country steeped in history I could not understand this.

I wish to thank many people and want to name a few contributors to this venture: Ms Carnette Pemberton, Mrs. Dorothy Leevy, Dr. Lennox Honychurch, Brother Henry French, Monsignor William John Lewis, editor Gwen Evelyn of the chronicle and all those who encouraged and inspired me to keep writing. A special thanks to Wendy Walsh from Delphis, who, as her contribution to the Cathedral project, offered to place the articles on her website.

Bernard Lauwyck

PS. For people who are not familiar with the recent history of Dominica, The Commonwealth of Dominica gained its independence from Britain on November 3, 1978. Less than a year later a devastating hurricane named David hit the unsuspecting island and the devastation was catastrophic. The island was never the same as large ancient trees and abundant flowing rivers never recovered to their pre-David condition.

Please also find below a series of articles that I wrote for the New Chronicle on the OUR LADY OF FAIR HAVEN Cathedral in Roseau, Dominica.

Treasures of the Cathedral

The First Catholics in Dominica

The Roseau Cathedral

For More information, see the  Dominica’s Beautiful Churches and Chapels Blog




Correspondence of historical personal stories what this building meant in your life, scans of old photos, postcards of the old interior with the high altar, baptismal font, bishop’s throne etc. can be sent to:

Bernard Lauwyck
Diocesan Engineer
PO Box 317
Roseau, Dominica