Got in last night from 8 days in Paris. The news everywhere is that John Paul II died on Saturday night.
I spent the last week at Maison Mère – the motherhouse for the Congregation of the Mission in Paris. Vincent de Paul is enshrined over the alter in the chapel, Catherine LaBoure is around the corner at Rue du Bac. Churches on every corner, it seems… but most of the churches don’t seem to be places of worship, but shrines, state tourist attractions.
On Saturday afternoon, JP & Marie and I visited Sainte Chappelle – the stained glass is beautiful. The restoration is nice — after the revolution the church was used as for grain storage, which did some damage, to say the least. But — the windows, and the stories they tell are the best part. The windows depict books of the Bible – Genesis, Exodus (I think), Numbers, Kings, Judith, Esther, Revelation and — a window dedicated to Relics. Louis IX had some relics that he wanted honored. At any rate, as our guide was showing us how to “read” the windows, she chose Judith as one of her examples and then she moved on to mention Esther. Strong women — what were they doing in Louis’ chapel? It turns out that when Louis went off to the crusades, he left Mama as the regent. And, apparently she was pretty good at it.
So – here again, I had women from the Bible show up on my radar. They are there – how long will it take to recognize the contribution they made? The contribution they make even today?