It is in the splendor of the new chapel that we had the joy of greeting the Infant God and of presenting Him our greetings for all the houses. We feel you so present in this new house of God which is also yours that it has been very easy for us to gather in our hearts the intentions of the entire Congregation. Moreover, every Province is represented here.
What did we ask for you ? We can neither express it nor give you details but imagine 162 Mothers and Sisters praying for you and you will immediately be sure of being filled with graces the whole year !
The Chapel ! Yes, we had the joy of spending there the whole of Christmas day. The architect absolutely wanted everything completed for this feast and counted on being at our Midnight Mass with his family. Thus, up to the last minute everyone, laborers and Sisters, worked with zeal and zest. What a beautiful and touching preparation for the coming of the Lord !
The 24th was a day filled with activity. In the morning, groups of Sisters succeeded each other for the cleaning. In the afternoon a human chain was formed to pass on from one chapel to the other, benches and kneelers for the lady boarders, the families of the Sisters and the neighbors who, in great numbers, had asked to come to the Midnight Mass. The parish priest had given blanket permission to us to welcome the parishioners. He told Our Mother : “as long as our Lord is announced what does it matter that it be Peter or Paul”.
Still on the 24th ; at 5:30 p.m., everyone in the house brought Our Lady of Consolation in procession to her altar. Our joy at having her makes us understand the sacrifice of Forges and we thank the community for this very generous detachment especially at these Christmas celebrations. Then a long and detailed general practice taught us how to go in order and harmoniously around the area and to manage the stalls, things still unknown in Auteuil !
The Chapel was blessed that very day. Finally everything was ready and at 6:30 we went for 1st Vespers to a chancel full of light that dominated the altar which was elevated, majestic, very simply decorated, overhang by a big crucifix. It was impressive ! We will describe it to you to allow you to “see” a bit our Chapel.
First of all, imagine an equilateral triangle A B C 38 meters each side ; at the top a small triangle of about 4 m. cut sideways giving us a trapezoid B’C’ B C. In the middle of the big base BC the main door plated with copper like the roof and so consequently green in color.
Let us go in together. Facing the main entrance, in B’C’ a piece of white wall of around 8 m. high, rises up ; a big bronze crucifix is set on it and immediately draws our gaze. The Cross is more than 4 m long and the Christ measures 2.20 m. Beneath this is the altar, a big table made of black stone resting on two pieces in the form of a V also of stone. It is heightened by three steps in relation to the whole of the Chapel and stands out magnificently ; in the center, the chancel of the religious. It is hollowed out by three steps and the four ranks of stalls, one on each step, does not hinder at all the view of the altar.
Let us turn progressively to the right. First we see the altar of the Blessed Virgin, near the big altar, and then the altar which we hope will one day be that of our Venerable Mother Foundress ; each of these is fixed to a wall acting as a pillar up to the ceiling and each supporting the whole roofing of the right side.
The ceiling by the main entrance is about 3 m high. It rises progressively to 10 m above the Main Altar and this rising movement, in the measure that the chapel narrows in, invites to prayer. Just above the stall, a big stained glass in the ceiling illuminates the chancel. There is also a stained glass over the Main Altar representing the Holy Spirit under the form of a dove.
The whole right wall of the chapel is an openwork panel : big pieces of glass of all colors embedded into cement without any specific design, very modern and very beautiful. When the sun strikes this wall the illumination of the chapel is splendid and meditative.
On the left, a great white wall where two confessionals have been hollowed out. The doors, of grill forged iron, have been conceived to decorate this rather bare surface ; they are under debate and will probably be removed. There is no altar on this side which leaves a big space for the kneelers of our lady boarders and the outsiders.
On either side of the main doors, two big wall panels : on the left, an openwork panel, on the right a full wall with stained glass only on the top and also around the main door. It is on this wall that Our Mother wants to place the Way of the Cross. A covered gallery links the chapel to the house.
The 130 wooden stalls, works of art of modern carpentry, very simple, are the work of 2 Spanish artisans lent by our houses in Spain. There are four identical ranks in each side and at the back we had to add benches for about 30 postulants. Very pretty little consecration crosses were hollowed out in the walls all around the chapel. We still don’t know when the consecration will take place. We prefer to wait for the new ceremonial Rome is preparing. On Christmas night we went back to our temporary little chapel as we wait for the tabernacle to be securely fixed over the altar, around 12-13 January, to move in definitively.
This description might seem to you to be very dry. It cannot give you all the beauty, the majesty of our Chapel. We hope that at least one representative of each house will have the imminent opportunity to come and see it for herself !
Community of Auteuil
January 5, 1961