The Sisters of Kermaria at “Boulevard Magenta”

Accompany the Sisters of the Mother House as they pay an unusual visit to the Provincial House in Rennes as part of the European Heritage Days. An opportunity to find out more about this unusual building and to marvel at the works of their co-Sister and artist, Lisette Mazo.

En route for Magenta

As part of the 2023 European Heritage Days, the Provincial House of the Daughters of Jesus in France opened its doors to allow the general public to discover the works of our artist Sr Lise Mazo, who has her studio within the walls. After the very large crowds on Saturday and Sunday, it was the turn of the Sisters of the Daughters of Jesus to come to Boulevard Magenta, Rennes, on Monday the 18th of September.

At around 11 am, thirty or so Sisters, who had come by coach from their motherhouse in Kermaria, walked around the esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle, arousing the curiosity of passers-by. Among them was an “intruder”, a man! Marc Dinapoli, husband of Brigitte, the assistant to the community Mère Saint Angèle at  Kermaria, and an artist himself took advantage of the opportunity.

Discovering the workshop

On their arrival, they were overwhelmed by the warm welcome from Sr Anne, the Provincial, and the sisters of the community. Then, with eyes shining with anticipation, they all headed for the garage and Sister Lisette’s workshop. There, Alain Burban and Christine Malard, the key players in this wonderful experience, welcomed them in their turn.

They marvelled at Lisette’s many works. They were also keen to hear the comments of the connoisseurs.

The artist’s career

Everyone also enjoyed the beautiful film retracing the life of our Sister: her happy childhood as the middle child of a family of 11, her years studying at the Beaux-Arts, Rennes, followed by her years there as a teacher.

But that was just an appetizer. The essential works in the exhibition were on display on the upper floors of the house. We had to climb the stairs to reach the three floors where sculptures, paintings, collages, and pastels filled our eyes. The most courageous visitors really appreciated it all.

A short pause to regain our strength

Around midday, the large dining room in the house was made available to the group.  Needing to recharge our batteries for the rest of the visit, we really appreciated the picnic prepared for us by Kermaria.

The turn of the architect

Mr Hervé Perrin, the architect of the house, then took charge of the group. In order to appreciate the remarkable architecture of the building, he invited everyone to gather on the esplanade in front of the building. There, he explained the history of the house:

– Why design such an original building?

– What materials were used?

– What techniques were used?

All the details we needed to know to understand the longevity of this house: 30 years and in perfect condition!

The tour continued inside the house. The whole group was very interested, with not a sign of boredom.

And alas, it came to an end!

But all good things must come to an end. Already, we had to think about the return journey but before saying goodbye, the Sisters of the house served us a delicious afternoon tea in the dining room. It was good to be together and our enjoyment was at its peak. Joy burst forth as we expressed so much emotion.

Before saying goodbye, Sr Anne thanked the whole group for their interest. She expressed one wish: that other opportunities would present themselves for another trip to Rennes.  We still had so many wonderful things to discover: the cathedral, the parliament, and so much more. Her proposal was accepted enthusiastically. On behalf of everyone, Yvonne Chatel thanked Anne and the community.

A visit like this strengthens the bonds between Sisters. The joy and pride of feeling that they are Daughters of Jesus and of getting to know a Daughter of Jesus artist better could be seen on their faces.

One regret : not seeing Lisette: She was tired out and resting.

“A good journey back home to our Sisters in Kermaria, and we hope to see you soon!”

                                               Sr Madeleine Menier dj,

Community rue des Tatras, Rennes

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