Chapelle de Lourtier

Lourtier Chapels

Historic site and monument, Religious heritage, Chapel in Lourtier

  • This is dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel.

  • Lourtier formerly had two small chapels. The first, dedicated to St George, was built in Les Morgnes in 1659 and was where Masses for special intentions were held. The second, dedicated to St John before the Latin Gate (feast celebrated on 6 May) was where the Rosary was recited. At the beginning of the 20th century, however, the parishioners in Lourtier still had to walk the considerable distance to Le Châble for Sunday Mass, and expressed the desire for a larger chapel in Lourtier, capable...
    Lourtier formerly had two small chapels. The first, dedicated to St George, was built in Les Morgnes in 1659 and was where Masses for special intentions were held. The second, dedicated to St John before the Latin Gate (feast celebrated on 6 May) was where the Rosary was recited. At the beginning of the 20th century, however, the parishioners in Lourtier still had to walk the considerable distance to Le Châble for Sunday Mass, and expressed the desire for a larger chapel in Lourtier, capable of accommodating worshippers for its own Sunday Mass.

    In 1930, Canon Jean-Marie Boitzy, curate, supported this request and created a committee to take on land offered for acquisition. Designs by Italian architect Alberto Sartoris were accepted, and Emile Troillet from Lourtier and Louis Maret from Bruson headed up the works; volunteers also got the chance to work. In April 1932, the first stone was blessed and on the third Sunday in September, the new stone chapel was inaugurated and dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel. A record time. And Lourtier, for posterity, can pride itself on being the first bold and resolutely new religious building in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

    The residents of Lourtier were happy and got their Sunday Mass but there was also plenty of criticism directed at the building referred to as “the garage” or “the macaroni box” and the international press echoed this sentiment.

    The mono-pitched roof did not stand up well to the weight of the snow, and in 1954 a new committee discussed transforming and augmenting the building. Alberto Sartoris said he was “happy to help finish this building”. From 1956 to 1957, they added 100 seats in the nave, a choir made of grey granite, a second roof pitch and external lateral stone pillars. The organ came from the Allen workshop.

    The patron saints, in memory of the old chapels, are St George (celebrated without fail every 23 April by the whole village) and St John before the Latin Gate (on 6 May but not celebrated). They are depicted on the stained-glass windows in the choir, which were painted by Gaëng and produced by the Chiara workshop. St George is on the left and St John is on the right. The other windows depict the Litany of Mary and the checked pattern was produced in 1956.

    Let us not forget Our Lady of Good Counsel, who is represented on the apse by a remarkable wooden statue. Originally from Spain, and a true younger sister of the “Black Madonnas”, she is a masterpiece in the pure Romanesque tradition.

    It is worth noting that this chapel on the edge of a torrent was miraculously spared in an avalanche in February 1999, which only struck the entrance porch and a stained-glass window.
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