Palmerino Sorgente (Papa Palmerino, the Pope of Montreal) immigrated to Montreal from Italy where he supported his large family through various ventures. He had a vision in 1970, where the Virgin Mary told him that he was the Pope and his mission was to serve God. Sorgente opened an eccentric shop filled with hand-made and purchased religious artifacts.
To those who remember him, Sorgente didn’t think he was the Pope; he was the Pope. He struck a regal posture in his home-made capes, hats, and religious medallions. Customers came to receive his blessing and pray with him in the prayer room at the back of his shop. He was a prolific creator of jewel-studded hats, some of which reached 6 feet in height.