Archive for July 31st, 2021

July 31, 2021

The Abbeys of Plouharnel !!

Let me tell you a bit more about Plouharnel. I have other posts mostly on the surfing beaches here ,but this is the off the beaten path gem I like to tell you more. An update of an older post, hope you enjoy it as much I.

As you know Plouharnel is just south of my town say about 25 km or 15 miles. It is in the beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne. And it has two wonderful abbeys that looks like only one! Let me tell you a bit about these two that can be visited, the Abbey of Sainte Anne de Kergonan and the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Michel.

The Abbey of Sainte-Anne de Kergonan is a Benedictine Abbey and is part of the Solesmes congregation.The jewel of neo-roman art, the Abbey is built in grey granite. The monks ‘ Church was built in 1968 , and comprises a set of non-figurative stained glass.

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The Abbey of Sainte Anne de Kergonan little story  started in 1897  when  10 monks who came from Solesmes, under the guidance of dom Paulin Joumier are welcomed at Kergonan . In 1901 the religious buildings are not allowed (sep state and church ) and the monks leave for Belgium, the property is turn into a school; in 1914 the community becomes autonomous; and the monks come back from exile in 1920.  In 1942, the monastery, close to the « Atlantic Wall » of WWII, and  is commandeered by the Nazis. The monks seek refuge in the Chartreuse of Brec (see post) . By 1943, the community settles at the castle of  Nétumières, near Vitré. By  1946, the monks come back from exile. In 1968 the construction of the abbey Church is began.

In Sainte-Anne de Kergonan, the day of the monks is punctuated by the Vigil, the first Office that gathers the community in the Church for a prayer of Psalms and readings. The laudes, the great Office of praise in the morning. After breakfast, grooming and cleaning, the monks continue in cell their Lectio Divina (reading things that speak of God). The Mass sung, introduced by the Psalms of third. The Office of Sexte precedes the 14h meal in the refectory. With a quiet lunch, the monks listen to a reading, then go directly to the Office of None, followed by recreation. The afternoon is devoted to manual work for outdoor maintenance, crafts…   The Vespers: great Office of the evening to say thank you and forgiveness to God for the past day. Then, several times a week, the community meets to hear a spiritual teaching of the Father Abbot. After dinner 19h30, the Office of Compline is the prayer that gathers the monks before dark. And the offices and the Mass are sung in Gregorian, according to the tradition of the Congregation of Solesmes.

The handicraft occupies an important place in the daily life of the Benedictine. The monastery shop offers artisanal products such as apples, compotes, ceramics and earthenware, Gregorian chant CDs made by the monks of Sainte-Anne, as well as products from other monasteries and local handicrafts.

The official webpage of the Abbey Sainte Anne de Kergonan : https://www.kergonan.org/sainte-anne-2020-homelie/

The Bay of Quiberon tourist office on Plouharnel heritage: https://www.baiedequiberon.bzh/plouharnel

Adjacent there is the Abbey benedictine of Saint Michel , at the end of WWI it was house by US troops. The Abbey of Saint-Michel de Kergonan is a Benedictine monastery, depending on the Solesmes congregation and located next to the above abbey. It was founded in 1898 by the Abbaye Sainte-Cécile de Solesmes and has several nuns.

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This Abbey of Saint Michel de Kergonan , possesses not only a long history of the tradition of Gregorian chant but also that of its precious audience for this tradition. The Abbey still supports Gregorian chant, not only in favor of its offices but also by participating in publications. Thus, it helped write the Gregorian Hours released in 2008. Moreover, the   choir sister Marie-Emmanuel Pierre, published a book on Gregorian chant in 2005: Cantabo Domino. Five Abbesses have succeeded Saint-Michel de Kergonan.

The official abbey Saint Michel de Kergonan: https://www.saintmicheldekergonan.org/

The Bay of  Quiberon tourist office on Plouharnel heritage: https://www.baiedequiberon.bzh/plouharnel

You need to come here by car from the express way N165 ,along the D768/781 direction Quiberon, once at Plouharnel bear left on the circle and slow down will read the panels. In summer you can take the train tire bouchon from Auray with a stop at Plouharnel.

There you go foks, hope you enjoy the post it is very nice historical , greatly done archictecturally and very nicely done biscuits by the monks! This is the abbeys of Plouharnel!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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July 31, 2021

Church of St. Joseph of Pontivy!

Here I am again back to my wonderful beautiful Morbihan  in my lovely Bretagne. Again, I have written several posts on Pontivy and mentioned this Church but feel it deserves a post of its own and more details. I am updating this post from the original stormy cloudy day , let me tell you a bit more on the Imperial Church of St Joseph.

The Church of St. Joseph is located on Rue Nationale, it was built in the heart of the Napoleonic district of the city (city was known as Napoleonville) between 1863 and 1867, thanks to an imperial grant granted by self name Emperor Napoleon III during a visit to the city. As the Imperial subsidy was exhausted on that date, the work was interrupted and the Church remained unfinished. This Church is open in summer, so check schedules with the tourist office for opening dates and hours. Inside photos are not allowed.

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The Church of St Joseph features a belltower-porch that has implemented large-grain granite in big facade, with monolithic balusters, granite stone from the area. In neo-Gothic style, the Church remained outwardly unfinished (no spire of the Bell Tower). One notices the gargoyle overcoming the porch, left side, which represents the Empress Eugenie and, inside, the stained glass with imperial weapons. The final reception of the works takes place as is in 1869. The Church was officially handed over to the bishopric in 1873 as the auxiliary chapel of the parish church and consecrated on April 12, 1876 as in Saint-Joseph.

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The Church of St. Joseph is built on a three-tiered Latin cross plan: large arcades, triforium and tall windows. It has the choir facing south, contrary to the religious architectural norms that require an orientation of the choir towards the east. The Emperor also wanted the Church to finance a Finnish-style Bell Tower, but the Church of St. Joseph nevertheless had no reference to the Breton Gothic. It was the French Gothic of the 13C that inspired the Parisian master of the Church.

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The bell tower could not receive an arrow because the Imperial financial contribution was not enough to complete the construction site, as well as other elements of the Church such as the stones sometimes carved sometimes simply spliced with architectural sculpture are a good examples. The Sacristy, indispensable to the good conduct of the cult, could not be built. In 1869, fixed furniture such as altars, pulpit, stalls and organ were non-existent.  In the 1870s, in Neo Gothic style, the panels that closed the Choir, as well as the stalls and the pulpit to preach, carved the dove of the Holy Spirit which decorate the lampshade of the pulpit to preach and the reliefs of the four Evangelists accompanied by their symbol on its cube, Saint Mathieu and the Angel, Saint Mark and the Lion, Saint Luke and the Bull, and Saint John and the Eagle.

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The organ that is in the choir today dates from the early 20C. In 1972, the restored organ was installed in the Benedictine Abbey of the Sisters Saint-Michel de Kergonan in Plouharnel (see post). In the early 1990’s, the nuns preferred to separate from this instrument and was acquired by the Intercommunal Union for the Tourist Development of the canton of Pontivy. This is how the organ was installed in the Church of St. Joseph where it has remains.

The arms of the self name Emperor Napoleon III are inlaid on the stained glass of the eastern arm of the transept, on the keystone of the apse of the Choir and under the railing of the bell tower-steeple outside. The elements that form the coats of arms are: the Crown, the Imperial mantle, and the signs of the sovereign authority such as the scepter and the hand of righteousness; the Eagle is still present because it symbolizes the military victories and the necklace of the Legion of honour. The “E” of the Empress Eugenie (of Spain) and the “N” of Napoleon III are located in the center of the stained glass of the west arm of the transept and on the floor of the Choir, topped by the Imperial Crown and surrounded by bees, as well as in the center of the west arm of the transept. The bee symbolizes immortality and resurrection and creates a bond also between the Empire and the origins of France. It was in 1653 that, on the tomb of Childeric I, father of Clovis, small bees in gold and garnet were discovered in Tournai ,Belgium. The bee figures are present on the two rosettes of the transept where they surround the central motif with stars. They are also found on the floor of the choir, framing the Imperial Eagle or the figure of Napoleon and on some keystone of the aisles of the nave and the Chapel and the Choir. The bees surround the figure of the Emperor and the Imperial Crown on the pavement of the Choir and the figures of the Emperor and the Empress in the center of the rose of the west arm of the transept.

The Bell Tower, the triforium and the rosettes of the transept; before being restored in 1991, the Church’s bays were once closed by stained white glass windows, most of them surrounded by a blue border. the Church of St. Joseph of Pontivy is today among the major French historical monuments that have participated in the renewal of the art of contemporary stained glass from the 1980’s.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here and it is worth a detour are:

The Morbihan dept 56 tourist office on St Joseph Church in Pontivy: https://www.morbihan.com/pontivy/eglise-et-square-saint-joseph/tabid/12562/offreid/1dfaec4e-e6b9-4643-8abc-fd0e29a5f4c7

The city of Pontivy on heritagehttps://ville-pontivy.bzh/decouvrir/histoire-patrimoine/pontivy-le-saviez-vous/

The Pontivy tourist office on Napoleonic heritage see flyerhttps://en.tourisme-pontivycommunaute.com/Discover/Region-of-art-and-history

There you go folks, another nice stop in your route of Bretagne ,and especially my dear home dept 56 of Morbihan. The Imperial Church of St Joseph at Pontivy is worth waiting to see it.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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July 31, 2021

Monument to Chambord in Sainte Anne d’Auray!

Let me take you to an off the beaten path site in a very popular town of my beautiful Morbihan , and lovely Bretagne. This is in the city of Sainte Anne d’Auray near me where I past by several times a week. I have written briefly on it in several posts but feel deserves a post of its own, therefore ,here it is for you.  Enjoy it for the history of it, usually only written by the victors. I will tell you a bit more on the Monument to the Count of Chambord!

The monument statue to the Count of ChambordDuke of Bordeaux  . This is in honor of the support the count of Chambord had for Bretagne.  The monument to the Count of Chambord was erected in 1891 in Sainte Anne d’Auray , in memory of Henri d’Artois, claiming the Crown of France as Henri V.

A bit of history I like

During the attempt to restore Henri V, a pilgrimage was organized by the royalists of western France at Sainte Anne d’Auray to pray for the King’s return to the throne. The latter is maintained every year on 29 September, the anniversary of the birth of the Prince, until his death in 1883. As a result of this, a subscription was launched and allowed to acquire the land as well as built the  five statues. On 20 February 1889, a civil society, known as the “Société de Saint-Henri”, was created for the purpose of the erection and maintenance of a Memorial of Monsieur Le Comte de Chambord. This group buys the land destined for the monument which is finally realized in 1891. A wall and a grid are installed in 1897, but the originally planned garden does not see the day, due to lack of sufficient funding until 2012.

The annual pilgrimage, more or less abandoned after WWI, was revived in 1983 at the initiative of the Union of Legitimized Circles of France. In 2012, the monument was restored and the garden finally realized. On 31 May 2015, Prince Louis de Bourbon, Duke of Anjou and Burgundy (heir king as Louis XX) and his wife Princess Marie-Marguerite went there during a ceremony organized in their tribute, on the occasion of their official visit to the Morbihan. And I follow up!

The monument is located in near of the Basilica of Sainte-Anne d’Auray, about 700 meters to the west,direction Brech,  the monument consists of a summary statue in cast iron of the Count of Chambord, depicted on his knees and in Sacred outfit, placed on a granite pedestal. At its four faces it has the two saint patrons of France and Paris; Sainte Jeanne d’Arc in front and Sainte Geneviève in the back, as well as the two great heroes of the French chevalry, Bayard to the left and Du Guesclin to the right, all four standing.

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A bit on who was the Count of Chambord as he is generally known.

Henri (born 29 September 1820) is the son of the Duke of Berry, murdered on 13 February 1820 by Louvel and the grandson of king Charles X. On August 2, 1830, Charles X abdicated in his favor, but Henri followed his grandfather in exile in England. His mother, Marie Caroline de Bourbon, attempted to raise an army in battle in the west of France in 1832 , her attempt fails. In 1833, Henri V was 13 years old and considered a adult. He followed king Charles X in exile in Prague after England. After the fall of the Empire in 1870, the legitimists Royals tried to impose the restoration of the Bourbons on the throne of France. This restoration failed because Henri categorically refused the Tricolor flag (French revolutionaries and current flag of France), prefering the White flag (Royal) to be use. With him disappears the eldest branch of the Bourbon.

As he is very much connected to the Castle of Chambord (see post) that was his once, there is a whole room on him there including his letter refusing the king’s title on the flag issue. The museum piece on the Count and the letter display. You can see my blog posts on Chambord. You can see his story there in remarkable personages page in English: https://www.chambord.org/en/history/the-chateau/major-historical-figures/

Some further webpages to help you plan your trip are:

The official Count of Chambord webpage in French: http://www.comtedechambord.fr/homme/memorial/

The official Union of Legitimized Circles of France (Royals) on Chambordhttp://uclf.org/bicentenaire-de-la-naissance-du-comte-de-chambord-sainte-anne-dauray-message-mgr-le-duc-danjou/

The official Royal Prince Louis heir to be Louis XX king of Francehttps://www.royaute.info/louis-xx

There you go folks, an interesting other history of France that even today still has conversation talks in my neck of the woods, still Catholic and Royal. Hope you enjoy it, the monument to the Count of Chambord in Sainte Anne d’Auray. A great excuse to stop by the Basilica Ste Anne (see post).

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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