Given the fact that I spent 17 years in France, I was deeply touched by the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15th.
This event stirred a lot of old and new memories in my heart and mind and I would like to share with all of you the oldest of all these memories that dates back to my years as a boarder and student at the Chéticamp School, under the direction of the Daughters of Jesus.
Song : Our Lady of Paris
Our Sr. Lola Burke (Xavier Maria), encouraged perhaps by the Mother Superior who was none other than Mother Marie Ste. Zénaïde, had taught us the song: «Notre Dame de Paris», published in Canada in the songbook, «La Bonne Chanson». This song, at the time, had given me a deep sense of respect and pride for that country of which I then knew little of its history. Besides, I was far from thinking that one day I would reside close to this cathedral where I could visit at leisure… at times just to observe this magnificent place or to be there for prayer.
Here then, is this song with its three verses: May it awaken in all of us deep feelings of admiration, peace and fraternity….
Our Lady of Paris
In her dress of stone which sings of glory,
She is as proud as in the days of old,
Opening wide her temple where the crowds cram in,
She is there to bless the people who drop in…
The vagabonds as well as the kings!
Beneath the golden sun and during the cloudless nights,
She speaks of love, of hope and of kindness!
And her granite arms stretched towards the stars,
Seem to say to mortals: Peace and Fraternity!
On this vast city of Paris – Paris, brain-center of the world,
For the elderly nearing death as for the very young,
She has a soft and motherly gaze…
Knowing that everything is futile, that everything is short-lived,
Listening to all the earthly sounds as they come and go,
She dreams her eternal dream!
Standing on guard on the tall, tall steeple,
The old French cockerel up there displays his wing,
And keeps an eye on the black skyline
Indicating the way to his brother passing by,
The beautiful French bird that loves the audacity of the people,
Paris! Our pride and our hope!
Rita Poirier, fj, Vice Province of Moncton, Canada