White Island or Sacred Island?
Discover this beautiful place of welome and inner resourcement,
situated in northern Brittany, France,
the place of the General Chapter 2002
of the Daughters of Jesus.
‘Ile Blanche’ (the White Island) has always had this name which is linked to its particular situation on the left bank of the Douron estuary. Before the construction of the bridge in 1934, the place seemed to be an island difficult to get to when seen from the right bank of the river.
White Island or Sacred Island? The origin of the place name is lost in the mists of time. Prehistoric tombs from the Bronze Age are still visible on the property and testify to a very ancient human presence. The site was probably a sacred place of Druidic worship; for the Druids, the term “gwenn” (white in Breton), also meant ‘sacred’.
The four stages of a long history
The manor (1661 – 1900) : It was originally a modest construction, owing its existence to the port of Toul an Héry, located opposite Ile Blanche. At this time, the port had a great commercial activity with ships setting sail particularly towards England.
When the fleet of sailing ships disappeared, the port lost its commercial activity and various owners succeeded one another on the Ile Blanche. It was at this time too, that the Douron river began to be exploited for its sand. Its bed became deeper , and its banks silted up to take on the aspect we know today.
The chateau (1903-1924) : At the beginning of the 20th century, the manor became a chateau, at the initiative of Mrs. Norton, a rich woman who wanted a sumptuous residence where she could receive guests in great style. She added on the two wings, the turrets, the entrance portico, the farm buildings, and a hall for dancing which later became a chapel and the present dining room.
Click to visit the property in the morning under a summer sun
The Juvenate of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit (1926 – 1970) : The Congregation of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit acquired Ile Blanche in 1926, with the intention of establishing a “juvenate”, a secondary school for young girls wishing to enter religious life. The modern buildings at the back of the chateau date from this period.
The Centre (1975 to the present): In 1975, IIe Blanche became a ‘Centre’ for receiving guests of different sorts. In the house, classrooms were converted to become conference rooms and individual rooms replaced the dormitories.
Join the capitulants in making a tour of the property
On the first evening we offered a short tour of the property –
Thank you, Sr Maria-Esperanza for these lovely images!
Today, Ile Blanche is made up of a team of employees, a religious community and a chaplain who continue to promote together a welcoming dynamism, which makes this house a place of resourcement and formation, a place for holidays and meetings.