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Inauguration of the renewed cemetery of l’Hermitage

05/12/2018: France - Photo gallery

On Saturday, November 24, 2018, the inauguration of the renewed cemetery of l’Hermitage took place, with a time of speeches and a ceremony of blessing on the place itself, followed by sharing the friendship glass in the courtyard of Saint Joseph. 

At 10h in the morning, even if it was cold and humid in the small valley of l’Hermitage, a timid autumn sun was there.  Approximately 70 persons had responded to the invitation to join Brother Provincial and the Brothers, from the several neighbor communities to mark this event: heads of enterprises, friends of the community, members of the Champagnat Fraternities and representatives of the families of Brothers buried in this cemetery.  

 

Celebration in the cemetery

Brother Michel Morel welcomed and thanked everyone for their presence.  He made a brief summary of the history of the cemetery and presented the project for fixing it; jointly decided and financed by the Province l’Hermitage and the General Administration. The work began on April 16, and was finished on October 26, 2018.  Brother Jesús Recalde San Martin, from the Iberian Province, (unfortunately died the past July 19), architect by profession had been asked to propose a plan to arrange and fix it, according to the specifications required.  Below are some elements:

 

Preserve and enhance the value the Marist patrimony  

This cemetery being closely linked to the history of the foundation, it was necessary to preserve some typical elements of the Marist tradition: such as the hearts; to enhance the value of the tombs of the first three Brothers, with the construction of a canopy; to construct a canopy or covering as long as the wall to protect the hearts which recall the names of all those who are buried here.  To give it a more modern and coherent aspect with the whole by suppressing the grotto (of Our Lady of Montligeon ?); by contrasted colors between the roughcast and the parts in uncut or rough concrete, as well as between the crosses and their supports.  To take care to integrate more the cemetery in the whole property of l’Hermitage; permitting to have a better view of the house of the origin (leveling the retaining wall and the suppression of a pillar). 

To facilitate the maintenanceby reducing the vegetable surfaces and creating alleys in « hard »; as well as the suspension of the cross (to horizontal bars) facilitating in this way the mowing of the turf spaces.     

The three enterprises responsible for the work (masonry, green space and alleys, locksmith or ornamental ironwork) knew how to respect the specific character of the place, and thanks to their technical competence, to create something lasting, functional and harmonious.  There still remains to be done a small edifice or building, in hexagonal form, for meditation, contemplation, in the place of the grotto, at the end to the left; as well as to write on the concrete stela, at the entrance of the cemetery a thought of Champagnat which would give its full sense to this place: “Love God and make Him loved; this is the vocation of the Brother”.      

 

Brief historical recall  

The first cemetery of l’Hermitage dates from 1827; it was situated below the present one, very close to the canal.  The present one has been enlarged three times: 1834, 1841and 1877; as well as having several repairs or improvements.  Father Champagnat himself rested there from 1840 to 1889; Brother François, from 1881 to 1924. The majority of the Brothers of the first generation were also buried there; particularly Brothers Laurent, Louis and Stanislas, whose tombs have always remained in the same place. The last one buried there was Brother Henri Réocreux, in 2014.   The Brothers if they ask could continue to be buried there, even if the majority of those who die are buried in the cemetery of the property of Montet in Saint Genis Laval.

 

Ceremony of Blessing  

After the different speeches of Br. Michel Morel; of Br. Pere Ferré, provincial and of M. William Villareal (who was the master, responsible for the work), Father Gabriel Perret, Diocesan priest and at present chaplain at Our Lady of l’Hermitage, presided over the ceremony of blessing permeated, at the same time, of simplicity, fervor and hope.  

 

The Glass of friendship

Brother Maurice Berquet, Superior of the community of reception of l’Hermitage, invited all the participants to share a glass of friendship allowing them to warm the bodies and the hearts, of evoking souvenirs and of closing even more the bonds of friendship and of fraternity.

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Br. Michel Morel

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