PARIS – Day 5: Miraculous Edition

Pro sacerdote vel laico

O Mater pietatis et misericordiae, beatissima Virgo Maria, ego miser et indignus peccator ad te confugio toto corde et affectu; et precor pietatem tuam, ut, sicut dulcissimo Filio tuo in Cruce pendenti astitisti, ita et mihi, misero peccatori, et sacerdotibus omnibus, hic et in tota sancta Ecclesia hodie offerentibus, clementer adsistere digneris, ut, tua gratia adiuti, dignam et acceptabilem hostiam in conspectu summae et individuae Trinitatis offerre valeamus. Amen.

Today I spent quite some time in the famous chapel on the Rue du Bac. I had quite a list of things and people.



A visit to the chapel of the Congregation of the Missions was not lacking.  There we venerated the holy remains of St. Vincent de Paul.



To feed the body as well as the soul there was nothing to do but go to the vast épicerie of the Bon Marche also in the rue du Bac.  Aisle after aisle of exquisite things.  There are little snack bars within, specialising in regional or material items.   Just a few moments to get a sense of the visual impact.





Lunch was found and we fended off death by starvation.

We also made a visit to the vast hulk of a place called Saint-Sulpice.


This church is getting more than a little shabby.  It needs serious maintenance and cleaning.   However grotty it is right now, the organ is not.  They were tuning it while we were in there.   Great organists such as Widor and Dupre played here.

Charles Baudelaire said of the place: “Le merveilleux nous envelope et nous abreuve comme l’atmosphère mais nous ne le voyons pas.”

Now I must ask: What’s wrong with this picture?


Here is something very cool.

When I was in Rome I mentioned that churches were sometimes the locations of astronomical clocks.  The build was turned into a “camera” which could project an image of the sun through a tiny hole in the wall or ceiling onto a meridian line which indicated noon at different days of the year as the sun “moved” through its analemma. Saint-Sulpice has an astronomical gnomon (the meridian line on the floor and wall) which helps to identify the date of Easter.


Here is the inscription.  Note that the section which mentions the involvement of the King has been chisled out.  This is technically called a damnatio memoriae, whereby it is sought to eradicate the memory of certain people.  It was a common technique, along with invective and beheading long before the National Schismatic Reporter came along.



If there are churches and prayers, there also have to be food photos.

We were at a place just up the street from where we are staying. I have had my eye on it for days, since I have that inner antenna that seems to find good places. However, since we are also really tired, I thought it might be nice simply to feel along the wall for a short way to the hotel door.

To start: Onion soup.


I think I shall ever associate onion soup with Michael Voris, at whose home I have been a guest a couple times for nice meals.  Michael is a real gentleman.  I was there a couple years back now, for Christmas I believe.  He and some of his staff (two of whom met through my internet work years ago and then married) made onion soup.  The soup was tremendously good, but the making of the soup was so… pervasive in the house, that I literally had to get my suit dry-cleaned the next day.   Yum.  But… whew.   Tonight’s, all of the bonus and none of the onus.

Fois gras.  There is a nice savoury chutney by it.  That other stuff… the green stuff… I’ve seen it before, too.


I had Boeuf Bourgignon.  It was exactly how I wanted it to be and three heads and shoulders higher than the stuff I had the other night.


I am now inspired to make BB when I get home and invite a couple priest friends.


Yes, there was more bread nearby.


I helped out with some chicken that came with black truffle mashed potatoes.   It was a sacrifice.




That bottle in the background is a 1993 Graves.



10 yr Calvados.  You can… I could at least… taste the apples.


Now, I am back in my room, for compline and then some worrying and praying for some friends who are in a tight spot right now.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. StWinefride says:

    I would be going green with envy if I wasn’t going myself at the end of November, Fr Z! Hope you go down the road to see Monsieur Vincent.

    The 27th, 28th and 29th November are Journées Mariales to celebrate the Feast of the Miraculous Medal (27th), St Catherine Labouré (28th) and 29th the anniversary of the Foundation of the Daughters of Charity.

  2. TuAutem says:

    So glad you made it to rue du Bac on this trip, father. I nearly left a comment earlier encouraging you to do just that, but left off figuring that you were sure to be putting your time to the most appropriate use, anyway!

    That chapel… the liturgy may not have anything unusual about it, even the gift shop seems not to have as great a choice of medals as you’d expect… but the pure grace you can just feel radiating in that place, the people lining up on the streets before it opens to get in, forming long lines for confession, day after day, year after year.

    It’s such a living, visible witness to Our Lady’s powerful intercession, and of the Immaculate’s great concern to call sinners back to her Son!

  3. mamajen says:

    I have never seen an art nouveau church. Neat! I like those light fixtures in particular.

  4. jaykay says:

    Mamajen: it’s a beautiful church all right but probably more Art Deco, though. Their website says that it was first built in 1815, having been converted from the former Hotel de Chatillon, and then successively enlarged until “En 1849 la chapelle est agrandie et connaît des transformations successives. Pour le centenaire, en 1930, une rénovation quasi-complète nous la livre telle que nous la voyons.(“In 1849 the chapel was enlarged and it underwent successive transformations. In 1930, for the centenary of the apparitions, an almost complete renovation was undertaken to give it its present day appearence”).

    The Wiki site says that further work was undertaken in 2009, during which it was closed for some months. I haven’t been there myself since 2004 but it certainly looks pretty much the same to me to judge by Fr.’s picture. The visit was a beautiful experience, an absolutely packed mid-day Mass (on a weekday in central Paris!) and a brief chance to see and pray at the side-altar with the totally preserved body of St. Catherine.

  5. StWinefride says:

    jaykay – the work undertaken from Jan-Mar 2009 was in the “allée” leading from the rue du Bac to the Chapel itself (doesn’t sound right to translate it as “alley”!) A larger Medal/Booklet shop, new toilet block, new noticeboard, television screens for when the Chapel is packed, repainting and probably a couple of other changes I haven’t noticed, and possibly in the Chapel too.

  6. Elizabeth D says:

    Please suggest to me what to do with a free brand-new chalice and paten? So, I broke down and ordered a large order of super cheap clearance stuff from Autom as prizes for my catechism students to reward them for such things as being on time and doing homework. With my order I received a chalice and paten set that I didn’t shop for, that costs more than the combined total of my order but I called Autom and they said it wasn’t charged to me, that it must have gone into the box for whatever reason at the warehouse, and that I should keep or donate it. It’s made in India and it’s not “trad” but it’s not bad looking. It’s this one: Anyone know a missionary or some sort of chaplaincy or apostolate who would want this brand new chalice and paten set?

  7. robtbrown says:

    St Vincent de Paul is just a few blocks away at la Maison des Lazaristes, 95 Rue de Sevres.

  8. Facta Non Verba says:

    Will you be visiting the Basilica of St. Denis? I’ve read about the very interesting history there, but I have never had a chance to visit.

  9. StWinefride says:

    St Louis de Montfort said his first Mass “like an angel at the altar” in the Lady Chapel at the far end of St Sulpice:

  10. Adam Welp says:


    Check with your Diocese and see if they may be able to hold it for a sem that may not receive one as an ordination gift. I know our Archdiocese has a collection of chalices from priests that have passed away and allows deacons about to be ordained to select one to use as their chalice if they so choose.

  11. Elizabeth D says:

    Adam, I thought of giving it to my diocese though I suspect most newly ordained priests in my diocese do not want an Autom chalice even though it is not bad looking. But a new priest in Honduras or the Congo might. I am sending an email to Aid to the Church in Need to see if they would accept it. And this may sound weird but I even thought about sending to Cardinal Maradiaga whose diocese of Tegucigalpa is very poor and he is the president of Caritas. Miss Honduras was recently found murdered 250 miles west of there is part of why I thought of him. Sounds like this is someplace that needs Jesus.

    [This needs a separate discussion, I think.]

  12. Mary Jane says:

    Fr Z, you’re posting all these awesome pictures of places I’ve been to also! So neat; brings back a lot of memories!

    There is a fantastic grocery store (a huge one) very close to the Congregation of the Missions where St. Vincent de Paul is…I cannot remember the name of the store…but they had everything! Even quite a variety of foie gras! (It wasn’t for me…a priest back home requested that some be brought back for him…so some was.) As for me…I seem to recall that I bought some bread and some chocolate…perhaps some fruit.

    Thank you for all the photos! Keep ’em coming.

  13. pseudomodo says:

    My wife and I were in Paris years ago and went to the all the sights including the Marche etc.

    We went to Rue de Bac and spent some time there praying. We then went on a different pilgrimage to the Paris apartment block of Julia Child on the coat-tails of the movie Julie and Julia. As we exited the subway at the closest station my wife noticed that her camera and bag were missing.

    We immediately returned to Rue de Bac but it was not there. In tears we prayed earnestly and then returned to the Marche where we had a coffee. To our surprise it was miraculously still there at the Marche hours later.

    What a miracle.

  14. frahobbit says:

    In my peasant ignorance I must ask: where is the Blessed Sacrament?

  15. Marissa says:

    Now I must ask: What’s wrong with this picture?

    Chairs instead of pews with kneelers?

  16. The Cobbler says:

    Considering pews are (or so I’ve been told) a Protestant innovation (had to sit down for all the preaching since there’s no sacrifice), I’m going to hope the chairs are there because they can be removed more easily. ;^)

  17. Rachel K says:

    Fr Z, I want to recount a miracle for your Miracle posting. I did not read your blog on 19th but late yesterday evening I felt inspired to start a novena to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal for my marriage which has collapsed and for my husband who is in a poor spiritual state and is living alone now. He was received into the Church on 27th November 1994 and we were due to meet in court next week on 28th for the next hearing of a case he has taken against me. I thought it would be good to pray to Our Lady in the Miraculous Medal in the hope that the court date would somehow be cancelled and also in recognition of the gift of faith my husband received in the Catholic Church. At five minutes past midnight today (20th) he emailed saying he is dropping the court case. He also apologised for many things in the past. I will continue the novena but am already praying in thanksgiving for what Our Lady has done after just one day. Earlier this week there was word from my husband through our lawyers and he was not at all apologetic nor facing the situation fairly or realistically. I am praying now that this glimmer of light and hope can be the beginning of a greater healing for him, me and our children.
    I was so surprised to see your post entitled “Miraculous Edition” . Our Lady really does bring all of God’s graces to us.

  18. Liz says:

    I love your photos and commentary. I’m getting hungry. I have begun getting Julia Child dvd’s from Netflix. I’m learning so much. I will pray for your priest friends and for you, Father. God bless you.

  19. StWinefride says:

    Rachel K – there is also the Green Scapular, another of Our Lady’s gifts given to us through a Daughter of Charity, Sister Justine Bisqueyburu, in Paris in the early 1840s. Praying for you.

    Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death! Amen.

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