Saint-Méen Chapel

Renovation

Historical interest


The Saint-Méen Chapel is important to the history of Saindons  because this is where the mariage of the parents of Michel, Pierre et Marie Marquer, took place on November 26, 1694.

Saint-Méen, where Michel was born in 1715, is located a few miles west of Bains-sur-Oust . The house of  Pierre and Marie is situated a few hundred yards from the chapel which is on the river Oust.

The chapel has been renovated starting 1965. Here is the story of this renovation.

Chapel website

Source : Marie-Noëlle Jouan

Translation : Lea Vachon

Before

Chaoelle St-Méen
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Marie-Noëlle Jouan in Brittany recently sent us this article from the Ouest France newspaper from June 1972 or 73. In the first two photos we see the 6th century Saint Méen Chapel in ruins and then renovated, in the third photo, through the work of Jean Rouxel of Bains sur Oust. 

The headlines surrounding the photos states: “They feared that the stones would be eaten away by the soil and vegetation…and in eight years, of stubborn, hard work, they raised up the 6th century chapel.”

The Article by Michel Loret

“When I was a child, I would tend cows there, in the valley. Sometimes I would roam around the fallen stones of the chapel. It upset me to see the wooden sculptures of saints aligned against the walls, open to the elements and deteriorating as the seasons passed.” Thus, are the childhood memories of Mr. Jean Rouxel. Today a retired rail worker, he speaks of “his” chapel with intensity, with passion, but also as if it were beloved child to whom he was ready to give everything. It was stone by stone that he saw it grow, freeing itself from the vegetation that had imprisoned it. Sunday will be the festival of the Saint-Méen chapel, a village fair surrounded with the aroma of crêpes, sausage and cider.

A Foolish Endeavour?

The summer of 1965: Mr. Rouxel’s son with the group “Mein Breiz” (a folklore, advocacy group) had just finished restoring a chapel in Chateauneuf-du-Faou. When he was back home in Redon describing his adventures, his father mentioned the Saint-Méen chapel, abandoned and in ruins. Suddenly, the project took shape. The task would be difficult: there was more than just the rubble invaded by trees and roots; there was no money either. They would have to cope; unless Saint-Méen gave them a sign?

The summer of 1966: With the aid of the Celtic Society of Redon, who the past autumn had cleared the thick bush and brambles, the work began. Rouxel and his son met with many of villagers along the Oust River. He remined them that in 1879, when the rector and mayor of Bains came to remove the bells from the ruins, it raised quite a storm amongst the locals. And now it was the grandchildren of these peasants who came to work the stone and wood, to plant and trim the trees. Some thought it was a foolish endeavor however it awoke the conscience of many to something long forgotten.


After

Chapelle St-Méenrrr restaurée
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Missing the original stones, they began searching abandoned ruined structures. From an old manor they were able to completely reconstruct the porch; from another local village, the arched doors were brought and fitted; and in Redon they found granite blocks left under nettles in the cemetery. As for donations; there were a few 10-franc contributions that were supplemented by revenues from the village fair; in sum just enough to allow for the rebuilding of the roof.

Abandoned in disregard for generations, today the chapel bells have returned ringing to call the faithful, the wood carved saints have rejoined the alcoves in the walls, the stained-glass windows shining in glowing colours. All of this thanks to a small group of men and women, stubborn and determined, who year after year, mixed cement, cut and carved wood so that this chapel, which had seen all the great historical events of the region, could be reborn from its ruins, simply through will and desire…a beautiful gesture.

2016 Photos

Inside 2018