A Modern Magdalene Seeks Forgiveness

Raymond Jonas

in France and the Cult of the Sacred Heart

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2000 | ISBN: 9780520221369
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924017 | DOI:
A Modern Magdalene Seeks Forgiveness

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter is about French Catholicism, which was an intensely visual faith during the nineteenth century. It takes a look at the construction of the Sacré-Coeur, including the problems that were revealed shortly after work started on the church. The main problem was that the site for the church had been heavily mined over the years, which could lead to the earth settling beneath its weight. The problem was solved by having the church rest on stilts or stone pilings that had been sunk down to the gypsum bedrock, thus forming the foundations of the church. The chapter discusses the mobilization efforts for the Oeuvre. This is followed by a look at fund-raising efforts and the plan to turn the church into a pilgrim's church. The chapter reveals that the donations of pilgrims validated the populist claims of the sponsors of the basilica of Sacré-Coeur, and that a temporary chapel opened in 1876. The large central dome was not completed until 1900.

Keywords: French Catholicism; construction; Sacré-Coeur; mobilization efforts; fund raising; pilgrim's church; donations

Chapter.  7978 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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