Chapel Our Lady of the Smile,

Lisieux, France

A complete liturgical arrangement

The Chapel of Our Lady of the Smile is located in the Hermitage, this large Norman brick and half-timbered building where pilgrims reside, right next to the Carmel. 

 

In 2012, it underwent a complete renovation, from floor to ceiling (except for the stained glass windows which are original), at the initiative of the rector of Bishop Bernard Lagoutte at the time. With the support of architect Arnaud Poullain, Fleur Nabert was able to create a light and soft atmosphere, conducive to contemplation, as well as furniture where all the elements are harmonized. 

 

This chapel has a unique dedication name: "Our Lady of the Smile". It comes from an episode from the childhood of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, who, ill after the untimely death of her mother, receives the blessing of a smile from the Virgin Mary through the statue that was in her room.

This statue can be found today above the Carmelite shrine. 

 

In creating the chapel, it was not a question of reproducing the statue but rather of giving a representation of the radiance it had, to the point of curing little Thérèse. This is the meaning of the bronze ribbon that surrounds the outline of the Virgin Mary in the choir. In its heart is the tabernacle. 

fleur nabert chapelle notre dame du sourire lisieux-mobilier-liturgique autel détails bronze
fleur nabert chapelle notre dame du sourire lisieux-mobilier-liturgique autel détails bronze
fleur nabert sculpteur chapelle notre dame du sourire lisieux mobilier liturgique chœur statue sainte thérèse enfant autel ambon ensemble de présidence vierge tabernacle bronze doré

This one is adorned when it is closed with a Eucharistic sun. And when it is open, especially for worship, a heart-shaped monstrance is placed there. "At the heart of the church, my mother, I will be love," says Therese.

 

Christ, who is the center of every church, is represented on the altar by a golden cross, the radiance of which extends beyond the face of the altar and spreads to its sides. This radiance is the merciful love of God. There it is engraved in the bronze of Therese's own handwriting.

 

The ambo is symbolically a mountain, the one where Moses received the law. Here, the solid bronze is adorned with an autograph phrase from Thérèse: "Keeping the word of Jesus is the only condition for our happiness. "Readable if you make the effort to approach it, it reveals one of the secrets of Thérèse's joy: love and care for the Gospel.

 

The “friendship” of Thérèse for the priests is evoked in the whole of the presidency: the large armchair is decorated with a bronze cross like that which marks the place of the Saint in the stalls of the Carmel and the side of the armchair draws a stylized stall.

The statue of Therese

On the side, as if outside the liturgical space, but showing it to us and dragging us into it, she is there. Very simple, without any detail that could freeze her in the nineteenth century where she was born, but on the contrary bringing her to the twenty-first where her spirituality is more relevant than ever, she makes a simple, universal gesture, understandable by anyone. any man on earth. She opens her arms, smiling. "My way is all of trust and love." And behind her closed eyes, she sees the light of God shining on her face.

 

 

"At last I have found my vocation. My vocation is love. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and then I will be all things."

Saint Therese of Lisieux