Sunday, 21 May 2017

Mosaic Monday # 41 - Saints, Statues & Sculptures # 3

"Casanova" a marble statue depicting Casanova and seven women.

In 1999 a committee of representatives from local communes invited several international sculptors to a symposium in Cerisy.








Every year since then at the beginning of June artists arrive from around the world to create works of art out of blocks of granite and marble, working outdoors in front of the public.


For the 10th reunion 33 of the original sculptors returned and it was then decided that a garden should be created, below the Abbaye de Cerisy, to display these works of art.


The park is situated in the middle of the peaceful Normandy countryside and free to anyone to explore, a place to sit and contemplate whilst admiring the sculptor's art and the art of Mother Nature.



By the time the park was completed in 2013, 112 sculptures had been created by 71 sculptors from 34 countries.


Not all of those are on display in the park others can be found at various sites throughout the 12 communes, by the road side and footpaths or close to businesses in St. Lo, partners to the scheme.





Sunday, 14 May 2017

Mosaic Monday # 40 - Saints, Statues & Sculptures # 2

As promised a follow up to my Mosaic Monday post - 39, this week it's the turn of Saint Marcouf.
L'Eglise Saint Marcouf

A pamphlet displayed inside the church tells the story of Saint Marcouf.
He was born circa 483 in Bayeux, ordained by the Bishop of Coutances he worked amongst the poor before receiving the domaine of Nantus, on the Contenin peninsula.
The domaine was a gift from Roi (King) Childebert 1st at the beginning of the 6th c. and Saint Marcouf founded a monastery there.
On the 1st May in the year 558 Saint Marcouf died in the arms of Saint Lo. Due to an invasion by the Vikings his relics were sent to Corbeny a town close to Reims, Alsace Lorraine in the year 898.
The relics now reside inside the Church of St Marcouf, beside the altar.



Legend has it that Saint Marcouf communicated with Robert the Pious, King of France from 976 to 1031, giving him the power to heal those suffering from scrofula (tuberculosis).
He did this by using his right hand to draw a cross on the face of the afflicted person saying " Le Roi te touche, Dieu te guĂ©risse" - the King touches you, God heals you.
The healings took place on sacred days and at great religious feasts.

the view from the church door
the statue of the left of the altar is of Saint Marcouf


The statue of Saint Marcouf above is on the wall next to the18th c. confessional in the village church, it is very similar to the unnamed one, shown below, in the Abbaye at Cerisy.


The church's 18th c. lectern is decorated with the eagle of Saint John.
On it rests a hand written prayer on canvas, dating to the same period.

Saint Marcouf pray for us, protect us.

Our home is the former Presbytere of l'Eglise Saint Marcouf and dates to the 16th c. with later 18th c. additions.

We were told by the previous owners that the room which is now a guest bedroom in the original 16th century part of the house was used by the Bishop of Bayeux when he came to visit, the hand crafted terracotta tiled floor and oak ceiling beams have survived the centuries.
Sadly, I've not been able to confirm that story or to find out anything about the property other than that during WWII the house was briefly occupied by the German army.

If only these walls could talk, what stories they could tell.

the Bishop's Room

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Mosaic Monday # 39 - Saints, Statues & Sculptures # 1

A few posts back I told you a little about one of our area's tourist attractions the Abbaye Cerisy La Foret.
This tiled plaque decorates the front of the boucherie in Cerisy La Foret
Last week the SP & I were running some errands in Cerisy village and decided to stop by the Abbaye to get some photographs for a new blog post.

St Vigor

The origins of the Abbey at Cerisy La Foret are lost in the mists of time, however legend has it that the first religious structure to appear on the site was a monument built in the sixth century by Saint Vigor, Bishop of Bayeux, on land that he received after vanquishing a dragon.


the apse has 15 windows on three levels

Over the years the buildings fell into decline until 1032 when Duke Robert of Normandy, William the Conqueror's father, founded an Abbey in the grounds.





Whilst researching the origins of the Abbey and what became of the Benedictine monks who lived there I came across the names of several other monasteries and priories in the region.


Imagine the thrill when I saw the name of our very small village, St Marcouf, in a book entitled "Religious Connections of Early Normandy" and the passage below on the website mondes- normandes
"The abbey was founded in 1032 in the middle of the forest by Duke Robert the Magnificent. It inherited the remote site of a small religious establishment founded at the beginning of the 6th century by St Vigor, Bishop of Bayeux, and destroyed by the Scandinavian invasions; the Benedictines thus restored, as at Saint-Marcouf or Orval, a religious continuity after this interruption. Nothing now survives of the ducal monastery and the current abbey church belongs to a reconstruction dating from the last quarter of the 11th century."


In my next post I'll share the story of Saint Marcouf du Rochy and the ex- Presbytere which we call home.