The Beauty of the Thing: The Chapel of Sainte-Cécile in the Village of Calixa-Lavallée
eaning on his shovel in silence, a man called Pierre Moussard stands in the snow. In the madness and folly of the world, he dreams of creating his own historic “folly,” but of a very
different kind. His intention is to build a perfect Quebec chapel: perfect dimensions, perfect curves, perfectly set in place. Against the confusions of a world in tatters, he dreams of its simple beauty. This is no mad folly of a rich man, it is a dream cast in shingles, a treasure chest of silence to celebrate the discreet harmony of lines, forms, and beings, where an arrow points toward an incredulous blue. Between two barns facing toward the water and a covered bridge, the tiny chapel takes shape, thumbing its nose at time,
tastes, and grandeur. Here, folly is built with patience and the happiness of the artisan, a way of being, a presence, a gratuitous gesture in time.
From the heights of his dream our man has busied himself in reality for years to save our memories and our knowledge—for the beauty of the thing. The world in decay is not his concern; he takes up in his own way the challenge not to die. In the fatuity of great windows on the void, essential things appear as useless; that is his concern. No trifling thing, the project challenges in its concept and its goal. Upon his land he has
kept them safe, the buildings and the art of Quebec: a steeple has been placed today, the tiny chapel living and soft as the local wind, in fields where the stones and wood that made this work have grown for centuries.
Excerpted from Fall/Winter 2012 Ornamentum. Click here to subscribe.
Auteur de plus de vingt ouvrages depuis 1965, dont le prix Québec Paris pour « apparence », Jacques Boulerice a aussi enseigné la littérature québécoise et la poésie au CÉGEP de Saint-Jean-sur richelieu pendant une trentaine d’années.
Nicolas Boulerice, fils de Jacques, a enregistré plusieurs albums y compris sept au sein du groupe Vent du nord. Co-fondateur du festival Chants de Vielles, il est aussi auteur-compositeur-interprète.
la chapelle québécoise parfaite dans
le village de Calixa-Lavallée