People on the Magdalen Islands are in shock after a fire destroyed the 115-year-old Sacré-Coeur de Grande-Entrée Church.

The church in the community of Grande-Entrée, which was a designated heritage building made entirely out of wood, burned to the ground Monday.

'The flames were unbelievable,' - Sister Amabilis Deveau

In a video shot by city councillor Gaétan Richard, flames are seen bursting out of the church windows and roof. You can also hear the bell ringing in the tower as the structure collapses to the ground.

Strong winds caused the flames to quickly spread to the entire building.

“When I saw the church burning, you can only imagine my reaction...The flames were unbelievable,” said Sister Amabilis Deveau.

The nun worked on missions abroad throughout her life, but returned home six years ago to the Magdalen Islands — situated in the Gulf of St-Lawrence, east of the Gaspé peninsula.

She said Sacré-Coeur de Grande-Entrée Church was the heart of the community.

“It’s full of memories of the people who were baptized here, married here and who died here,” Deveau said.

Police say the cause of the fire is still unknown.

Special mass

Hundreds of people from Grande-Entrée gathered this evening for a special ceremony to mourn the loss of their church.

A meeting will also be held, and Deveau said rebuilding the church will be at the top of the agenda.

Gaétan Richard, the city councillor who witnessed the fire and captured it on video, said he’s certain the church will be rebuilt.

“That's one point about the people from Grande-Entrée ​— everybody is going to help and join the group to make it possible for us to have another church in the near future.”