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
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!