Saturday, June 15, 2013

People, sculpted

 "Blessed be the Lord, my God, who disposes my arm to war,
my hands at combat", " Ps 143.

One's hands in prayer, one's hands at the ready, for combat
[on plaque behind the figures, the words "à  la guerre ... mes mains au combat, Psalm. 143"]

". . . aux pauvres", Luc 4-18 , preaching to the poor

These sculptures form part of a monument, erected in 1926, to Bishop Louis-François Richer Laflèche (1818-1898) on rue Bonaventure, beside the cathedral across from Parc Champlain in Trois-Rivières, Québec.   [Photos taken with an Olympus SZ-14 pocket camera, during a trip to the public library downtown, April 7, 2013.]

For an interesting (and more detailed) bio on Monsigneur Laflèche, go here.  Son of a farmer,  this  ultra-conservative Catholic clergyman, who traveled the Prairies evangelizing the natives,  hunted buffalo with the Metis, taught math and philosophy to schoolboys, saved his parish from bankruptcy by succeeding to wipe out its debt, was actively engaged in politics, and lectured on nationalism.   Laflèche served as a bishop for 27 years.  

Cropping segments from a group photo to individualize its participants, observing the expressions in their chiseled eyes, wondering what it must have been like to live here then.  Sometimes when you write, paint,  sculpt or photograph  a thing, and return to look more closely at it later,  the words or images or objects come to life in ways you never imagined.  This happened for me when I spent some time really looking at each of these sculpted faces. What would they say if they could talk, I wonder, as pedestrians stroll by, oblivious, as pigeons shit on their heads; the eloquent, impassioned discourses of their bishop aging in some paper or digital archive.  Who were the models for these statues?  What is their story?

 what's left are things . . .
A people comes . . .  a people goes
maps change, wars stay, 
but all the woes  can't cloud the joys
that love still brings
of Life! despite 
what's left are things
Or something like that.  Thank you for visiting this little impromptu photo gallery.   I almost didn't take my camera that day.  Am so glad I did.