The Saint-Jérome chapel in Saint-Junien, an exceptional chapel

At the heart of Saint-Junien's cemetery, the Saint-Jérome chapel is a listed monument. Built some 800 years ago, it was home to the Pénitents Bleus, a brotherhood praying for the souls of the dead and accompanying families at the time of death, and dedicated in turn to Sainte-Madeleine, then to the mysterious Saint-Guignefort, who ... is said to have been nothing more than a dog.

It contains a magnificent altarpiece dating from 1689, a truly unique piece, with Jean-Baptiste on the left, Jérôme in the center and Madeleine on the right.

A small altar dedicated to Notre-Dame de Recouvrance reminds us of the presence of a chapel of the same name in the cemetery. Today it houses an 18th-century Annunciation, but in the past it was possible to admire a small 15th- or 16th-century Virgin and Child, surrounded by small statues.

These were stolen in 1979, shortly after the furnishings were listed in the Inventaire supplémentaire des Monuments Historiques on April 25, 1977.

Three paintings can still be seen in the chapel:

- An oil on canvas depicting Saint Jerome, dated 18th century and roughly executed over an earlier painting (early 17th century) which appears to depict the Virgin and Child,

- An oil on cardboard depicting Sainte-Madeleine, painted in 1821,

- A pastel depicting a nun from the nearby Convent of the Incarnate Word.

Upstairs, the trompe l'oeil woodwork forming seats with backrests for the penitents can still be admired. In the center, with armrests, is the prior's seat. In one corner, a confessional and a double seat with chest, where the archives of the blue penitents were kept.

 

Today, the fully restored chapel boasts a room entirely dedicated to the meetings of the Blue Penitent brotherhood, as well as a number of unusual objects, such as an 1805 attendance chart bearing the names of active members. It is only open to the public 3 times a year.

 

Chapelle Saint-Jérome 

Cimetière de Saint-Jinien

87200 Saint-Junien

https://www.saint-junien.fr/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Chapelle-du-cimetie%CC%80re.pdf

 

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