Saturday, 18 May 2019

Thérese of Lisieux

I love the Normandy region of France and have been there many times.  I live near the ferry port of Newhaven and ships from there take us straight across the English Channel to the Normandy port of Dieppe.  From there it is only a short drive to some very beautiful parts of Normandy, not least the lovely Calvados country with its apple orchards and farm-based Calvados distilleries where the farmers let you sample their apple brandy.

The ancient town of Lisieux is interesting and contains a huge church - the Basilica dedicated to the Catholic saint of Thérese of Lisieux.  While I am not a Catholic, I have to say, there is something quite special about the story of Thérese and I can see why she inspires to much devotion, particularly among Normandy residents who now have their very own saint.  When you go to the Basilica and descend to the crypt you are confroned with a beautiful chapel dedicated to St Thérese, rich with colour and decoration.

Anyway, hear is a painting I did yesterday of Thérese's childhood home in Alençon (also in Normandy).

The house is open to the public and the website says (English translation), 
 . . .the family home of Saints Martin Spouse, also birthplace of St. Therese, opens its doors to get closer to them and find the authenticity of the time they lived. The visit accompanied by the house introduces the life of the Martin family - Saints Louis and Zélie, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and his sisters - to Alençon, thanks to five spaces: the reception hall with the historic gallery, the exhibition of personal objects, the auditorium, the house and the chapel. A film from the family correspondences presents the life of the family in Alençon, the only city where she lived in full, from 1871 to 1877.  
The staging allows to recreate the atmosphere and atmosphere of the family life of the Martin, and the youth of the little Saint. The chapel with its sculptures and frescoes evokes Saint Therese and opens on the conjugal chamber of Saints Martin Spouse, also birthplace of Saint Therese and place of the death of Saint Zélie. 

Whatever you think of this sort of thing, this is a fascinating place and very picturesque.  Well worth a visit to either Lisieux or Alencon.  

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