Notre Dame de la Brune

In 1987, as a young Anglican priest, I had three months free between jobs and decided to hitch hike to Jerusalem from England, staying in monasteries along the way.

One day, traveling through France a lift dropped me in the city of Tournus. I hadn’t planned to stop there for any particular reason, but enjoyed poking around the town, and went into the church, which, as I remember was not very promising from the outside.

Inside it was the most beautiful and ancient example of early medieval Romanesque architecture. The church was still and dark and cool in the summer heat, and in the south aisle I came across this most beautiful and serene image of the Incarnation.

Thanks to Roving Medievalist (the only blog I visit every day) I was reminded of that visit which happened twenty years ago. You can see more pictures of the abbey church at Tournus here.

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  • The late-Romanesque steeple addition reminds of the towers on the cathedral in Tournai, Belgium. Romanesque is so endearing; it expresses all the dignity and mystery of sturdy Christian faith, but without the glamor of Gothic, which can sometimes be a distraction.

  • You express it so well! Have you ever considered being an architect?

  • Anonymous

    I visited the Roving Medievalist and was shocked at the foul language – I know we shouldn’t ‘judge’ one another but I thought we were all aiming to be Saints – can’t imagine the Saint’s swearing like that…

  • I also wish that Jeffrey’s language was as clear and beautiful and inspiring as the images he takes the trouble to post. Those of us who love Jeffrey and his blog have learned to deal with it.

  • I can’t imagine saints leaving anonymous comments, either. Quite the contrary. Perhaps our anonymous friend might try studying the lives of the saints. There would be some surprises in store.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, reading the lives of the Saints is quite a shocker, I was indeed surprised to learn how everyone had to cover their children’s ears when Saint Francis came to town to preach and reach for the soap when Saint Margaret Mary entered the chapel, or ran for cover when Saint Faustina’s painting didn’t look right to her, or get out the bleeper when Mother Teresa gave a talk…Lovely photos though…(Apologies for posting anonymous – I can’t get it to work…!)

  • It works now – apologies

  • Margo

    I have found that to be true in various places in Europe: little, non-descript church or other building…step inside and think “…and I was gonna pass this by!” I’ve learned to poke my nose into those sorts of places, b/c I’ve been rewarded more than once by some breathtakingly gorgeous interiors.Some of the best “who’d’a thunk?”s, those!

  • Anonymous

    Really, Mother Teresa cussed like a sailor. Wow, I need to fetch some audio tapes.