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4 octobre 2007 4 04 /10 /octobre /2007 14:43

 Cardinal François de Sourdis ( 1575-1628 ) had facilitated in Bordeaux the establishment of a Carthusian monastery in the 17th century, on the marshes on the outskirts of the town.
Its foundation had been made possible thanks to a donation from a monk named Blaise de Gascq, and it marked the return to Bordeaux of an Order which had first arrived in the town in 1361 when, as a result of the One Hundred Years'  War, it had been forced to flee its community in Périgord, and resettle on the banks of the Garonne, on a stretch of wasteland to which it gaves its name ( Chartrons ).

The monastery was set up in 1611 and, on 29th March 1620, its chapel, by then a church, was consecrated by the Community' s protector, the Cardinal.


It was an austere church dedicated to St. Bruno. It has a nave 150 ft long containing a number of superb works of art, many of which were commissioned by Cardinal de Sourdis from Bernini ( father and son ).


St. Bruno' s Church was pillaged during the French Revolution; but it nevertheless retained the frescoes by Berinzago and Gonzales and a fine portrait of St. Bruno ( 17th century ). The reredos in the chancel is decorated with marble taken from the Turks. On each side of the altar stand statues by Bernini.
The reredos behind the High Altar is decorated with an Assumption by Philippe de Champaigne ( 1673 ). To the left of the chancel, is the Sourdis family tomb ( 1691 ).


The famous Carthusian Gardens ( Jardin des Chartreux ) which was also laid out on land reclaimed from the marshes, once drew the admiration of visitors for its design and its decoration. From the French Revolution onwards, it became the city' s main cemetery.

From " Visiting Bordeaux  ", Editions Sud Ouest, 2007.


Qui était le Cardinal de Sourdis qui fut à l' origine de la construction de cette église ? 

François d' Escoubleau de Sourdis naquit le 25 octobre 1574 à Châtillon-sur-Sèvre en Poitou. Il hérita du titre de comte de La Chapelle. Il était le cousin de la favorite d' Henri IV, Gabrielle d' Estrées ( 1573-1599 ).
Il n' était pas destiné à la carrière ecclésiastique en tant que fils aîné, et fit ses humanités au Collège royal de Navarre à Paris. Il prit part au siège de Chartres.

Lors d' une visite à Rome, il rencontra le Cardinal Frédéric Borromée, cousin de saint Charles Borromée et archevêque de Milan. Il fit aussi la connaissance de saint Philippe Néri, fondateur de l' Oratoire.
Il décida d' entrer dans les Ordres et fut nommé abbé commendataire de Preuilly, Montréal et Aubrac.

Le Pape Clément VIII le nomma cardinal en 1599. Il avait 24 ans...

Il bénéficia donc d' une dispense d' âge pour être nommé archevêque de Bordeaux, le 5 juillet 1599 et fut consacré par le Cardinal de Joyeuse en décembre 1599, en l' abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Prés, à Paris. Il reçut sa barrette de cardinal un an après. Il fit partie du cercle de Madame Acarie, future bienheureuse Marie de l' Incarnation ( 1566-1618 ).


A Bordeaux, il fit assainir les marais ( palus ) des faubourgs de la ville, fit renover la basilique Saint-Michel et construire la Chartreuse de Bordeaux avec son église Saint-Bruno.

Il accueillit aussi de nombreuses Congrégations, ainsi qu' un groupe de quarante Irlandais menés par l' Abbé  Mc Carthy, fuyant la répression protestante menée par les Anglais en Irlande, et qui fut à l' origine de l' université irlandaise de Bordeaux. Il fit approuver par le Pape Paul V les constitutions de la Compagnie des Filles-de-Notre-Dame, fondée par sainte Jeanne de Lestonnac.


En 1607, il baptisa Gaston d' Orléans, fils d' Henri IV, et le 26 novembre 1615 célébra en la cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux les mariages d' Elisabeth de France ( 1602-1644 ) avec le futur Philippe IV d' Espagne ( 1605-1665 ) et de Louis XIII ( 1601-1643 ) avec l' infante Anne d' Autriche ( 1601-1666 ), mariages hautement politiques des deux frères et des deux soeurs, voulus par Marie de Médicis.

Il mourut en 1628.

Illustration : buste en marbre du Cardinal de Sourdis par le Cavalier Bernin ( 1598-1680 ).

NB : l' église de Saint-Bruno vient récemment ( 2008 ) d' être confiée aux prêtres de la Fraternité Sacerdotale Saint-Pierre.
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30 septembre 2007 7 30 /09 /septembre /2007 21:47

St. Andrew's Cathedral in Bordeaux ( France ) took four hundred years to build, from the 12th to the 16th centuries. It consists of a nave 124 metres long and 23 metres tall, and a West front that is simply a bare wall, because it was built against the town walls ( now demolished ).

The North side, on the other hand, includes the 13th century Royal Doorway, decorated with numerous carvings. It used to open onto the courtyard of the Archbishop' s palace. The door has now been walled up, but it was once used by the highest dignitaries e.g. King Francis I, Emperor Charles V, and later, Louis XIII and Infant Anne of Austria, when they were married in Bordeaux.


Beyond it, in the ambulatory, are 7 chapels, one of which contains an alabaster statue of Our Lady of the Nave ( 16th century ). It was there that the governors used to be sworn in.
There are a number of bas-reliefs, also made of alabaster ( 15th century ) and, beside the chancel, a statue of the Virgin Mary  and her mother saint Anne ( 16th century ).


At the end of the nave, there is a beautiful chancel and  wrought-iron screens made by Blaise Charlut in the 18th century.


The North door of the transept ( 14th century ) has a wonderful tympanum showing, from top to bottom, Christ in triumph, the Ascension and the Last Supper.


The South door is older ( 13th century ), but in a very poor state.


The cathedral treasure includes a number of paintings by Jordaens and other Flemish painters, by José Ribera and by Italian primitives, and a collection of illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages and Renaissance period. It also includes a set of splendid Flemish and Spanish vestments from the 15th to the 18th centuries. 

From " Visiting Bordeaux  " , Ed Sud-Ouest, English version by Angela Caldwell   
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26 août 2007 7 26 /08 /août /2007 23:57
For my holidays I spent a week in Marrakech ( Morocco ). There is a nice modest catholic church built during the French protectorate ( 1912-1956 ) in Gueliz, western part of the town. Gueliz cames from the French word église.


The Franciscan missionaries have always being preaching in Morocco since Middle Age. They went for the Christians slaves who where forced to work for the sultans. But of course they were under persecution from time to time. 
In 1227 the sultans allowed them to build a chapel in Marrakech, because they wanted to maintain good relationships with the Portuguese king with whom they had commercial links. It was just after the first martyrdom of missionaries from the new Franciscan Order. In 1220 five Franciscan missionaries, Bérard, Peter, Accurse, Adjut, and Othon were killed near a fortification, because they had preached also for non-catholics. They died on January 16th 1220. Don Pedro of Portugal, the king's brother, repatriated the bodies of the friars back to Portugal. They were canonized in 1481.
In 1631saint John of Prado ( May 24th ) who attempted to restore the Franciscan mission in Marrakech was also killed.


Today the French-speaking parish is not as numerous as it was untill the sixties, but the community is still fervent.
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3 juin 2007 7 03 /06 /juin /2007 12:36

The district of Chartrons owes its name to the Cistercian monks who, to escape the fighting of the Hundred Years War, installed themselves in the farming area of Bordeaux in September 1383.
They came from Perigord, a region which like Bordeaux, was under English domination since the marriage in 1154 of Duchess Alienor of Aquitaine to Henry Plantagenet II who inherited the English throne two years later.

In 1453, the English were defeated in the battle of Castillon near Bordeaux and left the Duchies of Guyenne and Bordeaux to the King of France.

To control access to the river Garonne and assert his power, King Charles VII had the Trumpet Castle built on the site of the present Quinconces Square, and thus brought about the destruction of the Cistercian Monastery. However their chapel, which was situated on the Chartrons Quay was preserved and afterwards became known as the Foreigners' Chapel because it served as a place of worship for those people.

In 1626, Cardinal François de Sourdis* brought the Discalded Carmelites to Bordeaux and bought them a property whith a vast enclosure to build their monastery. In 1664, King Louis XIV decided to enlarge the Trumpet Castle and so destroyed the monastery.

In 1670, the latter obtained permission to build a big hospice and a chapel that they consecrated to Our Lady of Salvation.

In 1726 a new church replaced the old chapel. It was dedicated to Our Lady of the Visitation. This is the site of the present church today on Notre-Dame street.
In 1791 by decree of the Constituency Assembly the Carmelites were expelled and the parish of St Louis in Chartrons was created, soon to be closed...and reopened after the Revolution.


In 1875, it was decided to demolish the church and to rebuild a bigger one, which was given over to worship in 1880.

It is a neo-gothic style church designed by the Bordeaux architect Pierre-Charles Brun. It belongs to the style of building and restoration of religious buildings decided by Cardinal Donnet as " best conforming to the Christian spirit and need of that time. "


The facade is divided vertically in three parts  : two towers surmounted by spires enclosing a central body.
Horizontally, there are four levels : the porch, the rose window and the four windows of the towers, the louvre of the bell tower and the crowning gable on which is the statue of St Louis and finally the spires.

The nave is vaulted with diagonal ribs inscribed in rectangles. In 1879 Bernard Jabouin raised the level of the main altar in white marble. Its reredos is made up of six panels decorated with beautiful drawn angels and fleur-de-lis.

At the ends of the transept, the large statues of the Sacred-Heart and Virgin altars are the work of the sculptor Victor Lambinet. Fortunately the re-use of some of the masterpieces from the old church ( the pulpit, the confessionals and the superb panelling in Cuba mahogany in the sacristy ) gives a nice impression.

The stained glass windows of the nave honour fifty-four saints. In the skylight of the north transept, we see saint Louis wearing the relics of the Crown of thorns and at the south end, saint Louis leaving for the 7th Crusade. They were made in 1899 by Joseph Villiers, a Bordeaux master glazier.


Quai des Chartrons, Pierre Lacour 1804, collection Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux

Link : www.bordeaux-tourisme.com

* Cardinal François de Sourdis ( 1574-1628 ), see my link : http://ut-pupillam-oculi.over-blog.com/article-12828183.html
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