January 13, 2009

Frère Deodat, The little chapel

The Little Chapel is a singular architecture located on the isle of Guernsey, a british crown dependency with its own government and currency. Situated closer to France than to England, Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands.

Life and works

The chapel was created by french priest frère Déodat, who around 1913 came to stay in les Vauxbelets, a property aquired in 1904 by a french fraternity of teaching priests. Dédoat had left France when the french concept of laïcité involved that from that year on all schools should be public ones.

In 1914 frère Déodat began building a little chapel and a grotto from pebbles, shells and stones, inspired by the Lourdes grotto and basilica.

This rather small construction  (1.5x3 meters) did not answer his and others expactations, so he demolished it, to begin immediately with a new creation. This one lasted lasted from 1914 till 1923, and was demolished too.

Subsequently the third version was created and this one currently still exists.

 picture (1993) Wikimedia Commons (Magnus Manske)

With its footprint of 3 x 5 meter (9.9 x 16.4 ft) it is a small chapel indeed. Inside and outside the building is fullly covered with shell decorations and picassiette style mosaics.

In 1939 frère Dédoat returned to France. Brother Céphas took over the maintenance untill in 1965 he retired. The brothers of the fraterniy kept the chapel in good order untill in the 1990's the fraternity ceased to exist.

Actual situation

From 1999 on the chapel is being cared for by the Blanchelande Girls College, which is located on the premises of the former fraternity of priests.

Taking care of the mosaics is a matter of continuing concern. Donations will help, so Wedgewood Company's offer of broken tableware to cover the stairs at the entrance of the chapel with mosaic, was rather welcome.
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Some documentation
* The Little Chapel on Wikiwand
* Video by Boojangles (Youtube, 2008, 9'38") 



The Little Chapel
Les Vauxbelets
GY6 8XY Guernsey 
can be visited by the public

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