Issy Seminary Chapel Restoration
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The morning of January 17, 2012 dawned bright, clear, and windless in Paris—perfect conditions for the fascinating project of setting back into place on top of the seminary chapel at Issy-les-Moulineaux the newly restored cross and angels that crown the historic monument.
Some 80 dignitaries, seminary residents, journalists, and friends of the Sulpician seminary gathered in the bright weather to witness the drama. The cross, two angels, and an artistic garland that decorate the historic seminary chapel, which is modeled after the royal chapel at the palace of Versailles, are huge bronze works of art, recently restored by professional artisans. A special heavy-duty crane was brought to the site for the task.
The Superior General, Father Ronald D. WITHERUP, pss, presided at a brief prayer service to bless the statues and comment on their significance. Father Bernard PITAUD, pss, Provincial of the French Province of Sulpicians, greeted the guests and thanked the various parties involved in the extensive renovation process, which is supervised by Father Benoit MAGNE, pss, Provincial Treasurer of the French Province. The mayor of Issy-les-Moulineaux, M. André SANTINI, was also present, as well as various television and print journalists. A small reception followed the liturgical service. More information can be found in the seminary’s website.
The entire state-of-the-art cleaning of the exterior of the chapel is due to finish in June 2012, whereupon a series of festive events will be held to commemorate this incredible achievement. The rest of the exterior of the building was cleaned and restored a few years ago.
The interior of the chapel is the next task foreseen by the French Province, if appropriate funding can be found for the 14-million-Euro project. Thus far, the costs of the external cleaning and restoration have been borne primarily by cultural agencies of the federal government, the regional and departmental authorities, and the city of Issy-les-Moulineaux, with which the seminary community has good ties. The seminary and its chapel are classed as historic structures and thus fall under the laws of the artistic and cultural patrimony of France. The French Province has also participated in funding the restoration within its limited means.