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Ship of Fools: Basilica of St Nicholas, Nantes, France


imageShip of Fools: Basilica of St Nicholas, Nantes, France

Silent intensity, a remarkable tableau - with motorcycle helmets and school books

Read the full Mystery Worshipper report here


Comments

  • While I wrote this report nine years ago, the recent fire at the Cathedral in Nantes might tweak the interest of shipmates.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 19
    There are various news reports about the Cathedral fire (SS Peter & Paul), and a link to a previous fire (2015) at the Basilica of St Donatien, also in Nantes.

    A city of beautiful churches, by the looks of it, despite the fires!

    (BTW, a BBC item reported that President Macron has said that the spire of Notre Dame, Paris, will be restored to its pre-fire style, which IMHO is a pity, as the more modern replacement idea was, I think, far more imaginative. But YMMV).

    The MW Report at least shows that the church in France is still very much alive and well. What was the mission they seemed to be on, one wonders?
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    Thanks - some encouraging reading for a Sunday morning in a time of Covid.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    While publication of this report was inspired by recent events in Nantes, we do need to keep this thread focused on the service at St. Nicholas that Augustine attended. Comments re the fire at the Cathedral of SS. Peter & Paul and Notre Dame belong elsewhere. Thanks.

    Amanda B. Reckondwythe
    Lead Editor, Mystery Worship
  • Noted, Miss Amanda.
    Marsupial wrote: »
    Thanks - some encouraging reading for a Sunday morning in a time of Covid.

    But this is certainly true, hopefully just as much today, as it was back in 2011!

  • There are various news reports about the Cathedral fire (SS Peter & Paul), and a link to a previous fire (2015) at the Basilica of St Donatien, also in Nantes.

    A city of beautiful churches, by the looks of it, despite the fires!

    (BTW, a BBC item reported that President Macron has said that the spire of Notre Dame, Paris, will be restored to its pre-fire style, which IMHO is a pity, as the more modern replacement idea was, I think, far more imaginative. But YMMV).

    The MW Report at least shows that the church in France is still very much alive and well. What was the mission they seemed to be on, one wonders?

    I was struck by the intensity of the congregation, as you can see from my report. Nantes and its surrounding area was the departure point for thousands of clergy and religious heading out to the Americas and pretty well everywhere else. Since WWII, there has a been a strong sense of France as a mission territory so I think that the answer to your question is to their city and province.

    In my university years I was often in settings full of young devout people, evangelical and otherwise, and I never sensed fervour there such as I did in the cathedral that day.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    It must have been truly memorable for you, and I'm glad we resurrected the report.
  • Indeed. Full marks to the good people of St Nicholas for taking their faith seriously!

    I wondered if, perhaps, they had had some sort of encouragement to do just that, maybe from a Mission Priest, or someone, prior to the MWer's visit.

    It goes to show what effect 'doing what you do do, well' can have on someone visiting...
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    I have found that sort of congregational "engagement" in many parts of France. I wonder if its a result of the explicit secularisation of the State, making people more keen to hold on and fight their corner.
  • Hmm. You may be right...

    I wonder if the same would happen here, if the C of E was disestablished, the monarchy abolished, and England became a secular Republic?
    :naughty:
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Hmm. You may be right...

    I wonder if the same would happen here, if the C of E was disestablished, the monarchy abolished, and England became a secular Republic?
    :naughty:

    Oh, you big tease, you!
  • Hehe...though I wasn't being entirely frivolous...

    I do wonder, sometimes, how the C of E would function if it were not some sort of State appendage, but that might be better discussed elsewhere.

    Not connected at all with Nantes, but some years ago, whilst staying with my sister in SE France, I was intrigued to note that a small number of formerly disused abbeys were being (or had recently been) revived by various Orders, the Benedictines amongst them.
  • Hmm. You may be right...

    I wonder if the same would happen here, if the C of E was disestablished, the monarchy abolished, and England became a secular Republic?
    :naughty:

    It entirely depends on the form of disestablishment. When it took place in France in 1905, all buildings in the Republic outside Alsace-Lorraine and Algeria etc became the property of the state, and were then allocated to "associations cultuelle" (associations of worshippers). I can't offhand recall if other property and endowments were nationalized. I doubt if the English republic would want all of these old buildings, and suspect that they would just take the other property and endowments, and leave parishes with their buildings and best wishes in their future endeavours.

    This region around Nantes has a strong religious tradition and was the scene of a royalist/Catholic revolt in the 1790s-- some sources suggest up to a third of the population died in the fighting and the massacres and executions afterward, and this has apparently had an impact on local identity. One would hope that this history would not be repeated by the English Republic envisaged by @Bishops Finger.
  • No indeed!
    :flushed:
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    Please keep speculation re disestablishment of the Church of England separate from comments re the worship experience of Augustine at this wonderful church.

    @Amanda B Reckondwyth
    Lead Editor, Mystery Worship
  • Noted, and apologies for the tangent.

    The religious history of the Nantes area is interesting, though, so thank you to @Augustine the Aleut for the background information.
  • For those jonesing for further background..... Fans of CS Forester's Horatio Hornblower who are interested in the Vendée might want to re-read the relevant chapter in Mr Midshipman Hornblower, which was the basis of the Frog and Lobster episode of the television series. When travelling can happen again, US shipmates might find themselves moved by the many monuments, with well-tended gardens, to the US soldiers who fell in the liberation of that region in 1944.

    Canadian history is linked with Nantes, with several women's religious orders out of the city, including the Ursulines, whose schools educated the young women of New France for three centuries. As well, the neighbourhood by the river (near the Jules Verne museum) provided refuge for the Acadians who declined to take the oath of allegiance, many of whom ended up in Louisiana. The parish church is dedicated to Saint Anne, patron of Canada.
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