By Michael Stevenson, aka Dai Bando
“Serendipity” means “finding something other than what we were looking for.” That’s what happens much of the time when we travel, and serendipity struck again when we found St. Merry’s Chapel the other night.
I had actually read about St. Merry’s Chapel months ago, and intended to pay a visit when we got to Paris in July. St. Merry was a Catholic monk who became the patron saint of Paris’ Right Bank in the year 884. Saint Merry church, built in 1500, is now known as “petit Notre Dame” for the building’s marvelous architecture.
After a great afternoon at The Pompidou Musee, experiencing a fantastic exhibition on Jack Kerouac and The Beat Generation (more about that later) Linda and I sat in a nearby cafe to eat and drink some wine, and to figuratively and literally recharge. That’s when I spotted nearby Saint Merry.
Once there, I felt a connection to this place in ways I did not feel at Notre Dame. The chapel is beautiful and the church’s mission is, as well. There’s a great spirit here, and that spirit does not have white hair, dentures, and vote Republican.
St. Merry focuses on helping to promote local young artists, in their words – “promoting the word of God in the language of our time.” They have hip hop and grafitti artists perform at the church, as well as classical musicians. (Read specifics on their Arts program here )
After finding St. Merry, we quickly hustled into the building and asked a woman when the next concert would be? “Maintenant!” she whispered and pointed towards the assembling group of musician near that church altar. And then the music started, with organ, cello, and beautiful French voices performing Minteverdi, Purcell, and Mendelssohn. No Sugar Hill Gang, but maybe next time.
It was really beautiful, as serendipity often is.