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Susan's Blog

The Pieta of Saint-Sulpice

Susan Marek

Saint-Sulpice stands at the corner of two small rues in Paris, not far from the Seine.  Her towering exterior, although lovely, pales in comparison to the mysteries and beauty inside.  There are gorgeous sculptures, paintings and stained glass wherever you look.  There is even a copy of the shroud of Turin in one chapel.  There is one piece of sculpture that caught my attention and continues to frequently occupy my thoughts. 
Pieta in Saint-Sulpice

Pieta in Saint-Sulpice


This piece is located in the Chapel of the Souls in Purgatory.  Purgatory, by the way, no longer exists, as decreed by the Pope. It is no longer a place, so much as a state of being. Wonder what happened to everyone who was there? The official guide book just lists it as "Pieta by Clesinger (1868).  Masterpieces of Saint-Sulpice, another book put out by the church, says, "Over the altar was set a stone Pieta between two angels, Clesinger's work." No sign. No plaque.  The books don't even have a picture, but they do dedicate about four, large, color pages to the church organ. Come on!  I am appalled by the obvious disrespect that is paid to this magnificent sculpture.  It is purposely overlooked for obvious reasons.  Look at the way Mother Mary is embracing both Mary Magdalene and Jesus.  Really take in the facial expressions of the Mary's.  It moves me to the core whenever I look at it.  Notice Mary Magdalene's hand under her beloved's.  It is both beautiful and heart-wrenching at the same time.  It brings up so many layers of thought and emotion in me.  Human mortality. Nature of Love.  Types of Love. Death. Life. Mother-in-laws. Church doctrine. Heresy. If I could find one, I would buy a reproduction of this for my home.  It is that powerful.  And it just one of the many wonders of this church.