On Tuesday, July 16, 2019, on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the former Chapel of the Convent of the Visitation at Puy-en-Velay, recently acquired by the Society of Saint Pius X, was reconciled with the Catholic religion.
A turbulent history
Built in 1655, the Visitation convent chapel was desecrated by the revolutionaries who turned it into a mockery of a court, judging and condemning to death many priests, religious, and laity for their Faith and their attachment to the Church. These sacrileges, these murders, and these successive profanations, which are so many grave offenses against God, prevented any religious worship in this chapel, as long as it was not “reconciled” by the ceremonies provided in Church ritual.
A blessed day under the auspices of the Virgin of Carmel and Notre-Dame du Puy
It was therefore not until July 16, 2019 that this building was restored to its first purpose by the current prior of the St. Francis Regis Priory in Unieux, which serves the site. First, the outer walls are sprinkled with holy water while reciting the Miserere Psalm, then all enter the chapel invoking the saints of Heaven. Then Psalm 67 is chanted. Each verse is preceded by the antiphon “Exsurgat Deus” [God rises and His enemies disperse, His opponents flee before His face]. Finally the interior walls are sprinkled; the Mass of the day can then begin.
The homily was an opportunity to evoke the sanctity of this place, the memory of the daughters of St. Jeanne de Chantal and St. Francis de Sales who sanctified themselves there, the blood shed by many martyrs, and of course the importance of Puy. Mont-Anis was indeed chosen among thousands by the Blessed Virgin to be served and honored until the end of the centuries. The Chapel of the Visitation is less than 300 meters from the Cathedral of Puy-en-Velay, which Pope Pius IX established as a basilica in 1856.
Tradition has it that the Basilica of Puy was consecrated by the angels, the same angels who celebrate Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as the introit of the Mass says: “Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival day in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on whose solemnity the angels rejoice and give praise to the Son of God.”
Much remains to be done
If Mass can be celebrated again, the dilapidated state of the interior of the chapel is a sorry sight. Major renovation work must be undertaken. Donations should be addressed to the Saint François-Régis Priory – 31, rue Holtzer – 42240 Unieux, France.