Reims, Basilica of St. Remi

///Basilica of St. Remi
Basilica of St. Remi 2018-02-05T12:48:28+00:00
View from the main altar of the Basilica of St. Remi in Reims.

De La Salle had a very great devotion to St. Remi and would very frequently spend the whole night in prayer in the Basilica of St. Remi

To the south of the place where the community first came together in Rue Neuve, one can walk past the Church of St. Maurice (where Nyel started his first school) and the General Hospital (previously the Jesuit College) toward the Basilica of St. Remi.

St. Remi baptizes Clovis I, in turn bringing Nicen Christianity to Franks in the late 400th century.

St. Remi baptizes Clovis I, in turn bringing Nicen Christianity to Franks in the late 400th century.

This is the oldest church in the city and one of the finest in northern France. It was built in the Romanesque style in 1005-49 on the site of a still earlier church and was given Gothic vaulting in 1162. In actual size the church is as long as Notre Dame in Paris. It contains the thousand year old tomb of St. Remi, archbishop at the age of 22 and patron of the city. It was St. Remi who baptized Clovis, the first King of France. The Basilica was badly damaged in the First World War.

De La Salle had a very great devotion to St. Remi and would very frequently spend the whole night in prayer in the Basilica of St. Remi, with the “connivance” of the church sacristan who would lock him in at night, opening the church only the next morning. For some years, De La Salle would spend Friday and Saturday nights at the Basilica.

De La Salle’s nephew, Dom Elie Maillefer, was librarian of the Benedictine Abbey here, of which the basilica was a part. He is the one who, after De La Salle’s death, wrote one of the early biographies of De La Salle’s life.

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Questions to Consider

  • This key historical monument in Reims became one of De La Salle’s interior touchstones. Why was that? Why spend so much time at this church so far removed from the cathedral?
  • De La Salle would often spend all night in prayer at St. Remi. Do you have any similar experience to help understand that? What must it have been like?
  • Prayer became a key component in De La Salle’s personal growth. What are some of the things that are key components of your growth as a teacher and/or a person?

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