Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Sunday Serendipity

I decided Saturday evening that I wanted to attend services at the famous American Cathedral in Paris. Not only had I not been able to attend church all winter, I wanted to see this Episcopal cathedral where my priest, Mary, had lived and 'supplied' for a month. Laury and I enjoyed a cappuccino together at the Gare d'Austerlitz Sunday morning, and then I set off on a metro quest for Alma Marceau, the stop a half block from the Cathedral in the 8th arrondissement. Many stops, many changes, and almost an hour later, I found myself here sliding into a pew, a bit out of breath, hot and sweaty from hurrying to arrive before the service started. As I learned from the historical tour given after church, the Cathedral, built in the Gothic Revival style, was designed by architect, George Edmund Street. Begun in 1881, it was completed in 1886 and the first service was held in September.

As you can see, the interior of the Cathedral is quite beautiful. There is a magnificent pipe organ and a piano donated to the church by a friend of Cole Porter who played it many times while his friend owned it. The stained glass is breath-taking. Flags of 52 states hang above the sanctuary, and the floors are tiled with beautiful marble. According to our tour guide, the Cathedral was taken over by the German army during the occupation of Paris in WWII. They loved it so much that they used it for Lutheran services until Paris was liberated by the Allies. They allowed Anglican services to be held in another part of the Cathedral during this time. All of this was a wonderful discovery, but the true serendipity of the day came during the priest's announcements. It was the weekend of Les Arts Georges V and an artshow was being held in the Parish Hall. Now....I have a connection to Les Arts Georges V as I have a piece of art painted by one of its artists, Mary Blake. If you followed my blog, Musings from Red Bell Farm, you may remember this. Might Mary be represented at the art show?
Not only did she have watercolors on display, she was there in person! I walked up to her and asked 'Are you Mary Blake? I'm Evelyn Jackson.' She cried...'Red Bell Farm!' and proceeded to tell the story of our cyber-meeting and my purchase a petite watercolor. I love a good serendipity, don't you?

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