Monday, March 17, 2014

Church of Sainte Mary Magdalene

I'm partial to churches dedicated to Mary Magdalene. I think she's been much-maligned by history. And what a treat to reach her simple 15th century church by walking over the medieval stone bridge spanning the Aveyron that connects her church to Belcastel.

The church houses a sequence of Stations of the Cross by contemporary artist Casimir Ferrer, some historic stone sculptures and the tomb of Alzias Saunhac, the 15th century Lord of Chateau Belcastel who built the church....
Tomb of Alzias Saunhac
This is the sculpture that most intrigued me, though.

 It's St. Christopher with the Christ Child on his shoulders. When I googled the story, I discovered this legend...one night a child appeared outside St. Christopher's hut and asked for his help in crossing the river. Having been told by a hermit that because of his great size and strength, he should assist people in making the crossing, Christopher agreed to help the child. Hoisting him up on his shoulders, he waded into the water. As he went, the river became more and more turbulent, and the child became heavier and heavier. Christopher struggled, but persisted, eventually gaining the opposite side. He told the child "I do not think the whole world could have been as heavy on my shoulders as you were." To which the child replied..."You had on your shoulders not only the whole world, but also him who made it. I am Christ, your King!"

This is what I love about exploring France...you never know what delightful story you'll find just around the corner, up the hill...or across the river!

1 comment:

  1. With that grimace on his face, he certainly looks like he has the whole world and more on his shoulders.

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