Wednesday, August 8, 2012

When the saints come marching in

Ste Thérèse, Notre Dame de Paris

As I have written before, I am not a Catholic, nor do I attend church regularly.  I call myself a reformed Southern Baptist.  This makes some people laugh and offends others.  I've considered becoming Buddhist and I find the teachings of  Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements: A Toltec Wisdom Book fascinating.  I visit cathedrals and churches during my every visit to France because of their beauty and sheer abundance.  I am a candle-lighter, loving the ritual, the smell of wax and the heat from  the little flames.

I offer up little prayers of thanks and silent pleas to watch over my loved ones.

Strolling through a church, looking at the various altars to well or little known saints at once calms my soul and sets my pulse to racing.  Is that a bit of bone in that box?  Is that real gold?  Who carved that statue?  How many times has the Madonna and Child been painted and sculpted through the centuries?  Are the people waiting to confess going to shock the priest with their transgressions or make him suppress a little chuckle?  How many of these people are here for the very first time?  Are they Catholic or just curious?  Who else has walked on this same path of stone?  Napoléon?  Julius Caesar?  Victor Hugo?  Charles de Gaulle?  Louis IX?  Joan of Arc?
Back in March, I visited the Basilica of St. Denis for the first time.  The Best Guide in Paris and my Favorite Parisien took us there after discovering I had never been. (Here we are in Montmartre Cemetery in July.)

It is the burial place for kings and queens of France.  It is also where my friend Mme M's parents were married and she was baptized.  I found that out after my visit.
All these famous bones in one place.  And one heart...
In repose

Guarding their masters and mistresses
Legend has it that Saint Denis was murdered in pagan territory so he picked his head up and walked to Christian territory to die.
There is a statue in Montmartre--
And on the front of Notre Dame de Paris (left side door as you stand facing the cathedral)
You have to admit, it's a cool story.  That must have been one of his miracles.
The statues are beautiful.  Ste Joan of Arc pops up in a lot of churches and cathedrals.  Here she is in Notre Dame.

And also guarding the little chapel on Mont Saint Michel

Other religious statues I have found interesting lately-

Awe-inspiring, n'est-ce pas?

Bon appétit, saints and believers.

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