Monday, February 21, 2011

French Hospital Saint Louis

For our That's My World tour, let's go inside the French Hospital.
It is just outside the Old City, across the street from the New Gate.
You can't get in unless you are part of a rare special tour.

French Baron de Piellat, Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition, and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem built the new hospital in the 1880s, complete with "Oriental flourishes" around the wooden-shuttered windows.

Today it serves as a 50-bed hospice for chronic or terminally ill patients of all three religions.
Six Sisters of St. Joseph are in charge, helped by 25 volunteers (mostly from Germany and France) and a staff of 60.
Israel's Ministry of Health and Kupat Cholim pay for the care of the sick.
Catholic Online has a nice article about the devoted staff.

King Louis IX led two Crusades to the Holy Land in 1249-1252 and was taken prisoner by Muslims in Egypt.
The books say he was canonized "for his piety and righteousness."
Saint Louis' statue stands high in the chapel of the hospital named after him.
Baron de Piellat (who paid for half of the hospital), he himself painted the walls of the church with patterns incorporating the cross and the fleur de lis.

The Baron lived in the hospital for many years.
On the walls of the top floor he painted Hospitaler and Templar knights

and shields of the Crusader knights who conquered Jerusalem.
During World War I, before the Ottomans lost Jerusalem in 1917, the Turks covered this hated "Crusader art" with black paint.
De Piellat was not one to give up. He returned after the war and restored his paintings.
He died in his own hospital, Hopital Francais St. Louis, in 1925.
Come back tomorrow for more strange stories about the place. Shalom!
UPDATE Feb. 2014: An excellent short video about the hospice just came out.
UPDATE May 2014: Old frescoes were just discovered inside the hospital!


VP said...

I like this de Piellat guy for the way he stubbornly restored the Crusader art!

Robin said...

He sounds like quite a tenacious guy this de Piellat.

What a wonderful building, so much character.

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L. D. Burgus said...

It is an interesting and beautiful building. You never have a lack for history in the area that you live.

Rayna Eliana said...

What wonderful captures...and your post, filled with historical value and content.

Ann said...

Is the unrest spreading to Israel?

People always want to fight, what a waste of lives. I look at the crusader's shields with interest.

Eki said...

This is a magnificent piece of architecture, Dina (like many others in the Old Jerussalem are, I suppose). Those colorful flags are very fitting not only as symbols but also as decorations.

Thanks for sharing the otherwise unaccessible view of the city.

Hels said...

VP me too. I am not so rapt in the quality of Baron de Piellat's work, but he funded half the hospital's costs so he is entitled to do the decorative elements :)

Kay said...

This is such interesting history. I thought King Louis was killed, but I guess they were able to negotiate his release from the Egyptians, hunh?

Bergson said...

a wonderfull building

Birdman said...

You show us so much here. Each shot deserves an expanded story. Wow!

JM said...

The building looks fantastic on the top pic and I also like that blue ceiling.

Teuvo Vehkalahti said...

Greetings from Finland. This blog is fun to explore, through other countries, people, culture and nature. Come see Teuvo pictures on my blog. And tell all your friends, why should he go Teuvo pictures on my blog. That is why you get your country's flag to rise above the pictures to Teuvon images blog flag collection, a lovely end of February, Teuvo Vehkalahti Finland

Francisca said...

Your world is just amazingly rich, Dina. It's a gorgeous building, inside and out. De Piellat was sure persevering!

Pietro said...

Fantastic the painted walls!

Dhemz said...

wow! what a very nice place....:)
Hope you can check out my ABC Wednesday entry as well. Thanks!