We would like to discover an aspect of the life in a Sub-Antarctic Base, I mean the one connected with Spirituality. Well we have to assume that, not everybody know that on Possession Island (Crozet Archipelago) French Austral Territories, there is a Chapel called “Notre Dame des Oiseaux” (Our Lady of Birds).
Before talking about this little Church in such a remote place, I would like to use what Father Emmanuel Duche (thanks so much) did report after his visit to TAAF on last July-August 2000, to introduce the subject.
Father Duche wrote: It is certainly the rare privilege to find oneself for a month, the priest of the vastest parish of the world. This privilege was mine as I had the opportunity to accompany the trip of the M/V Marion Dufresne between July 18th and August 16th, 2000. As chaplain of the French Navy, I am doubtless in the habit of visiting the oceans but until now, no mission had driven me so much to the South…. then Father Duche did end his notes with a great consideration: It’s the honor of our Country to
guarantee the freedom of conscience and also to allow a priest to visit
every year these territories at the end of the world where manifestly,
the wind of the Spirit blows in abundance.
The Chapel of Crozet, is located not too far away Alfred Faure Base. It’s a small sober cubic building, built on the winter season of 1984 in memory of Pierre Frigola, a young researcher tragically perished here, the year before. It was the 1993 when the 31st Mission to Crozet (TNX Jean-Luc Verselin MD) found the Chapel
in poor conditions. Thanks to the ability and generosity of the members
of the mission, little by little they did restore it and its small bell
wooden tower just over the building and made it a real place of prayer.
The Chapel now offers itself
to the overwintering personnel as a place of silence and peace. A
useful refuge able to reveal and relish the depth advantage of the
experience lived in this archipelago at the end of the world, where the
wind mingles with the Sea and all the birds of the sky.
A nice Philatelic emission of 1997 did show all the Chapels located on Crozet, Kerguelen and Amsterdam Islands of the French Antarctic Territories (TAAF). WAP wish also to praise the French Government and Ecclesiastic Authorities, for taking care of this particular aspect of the life: the Faith.
It is a great honor for WAP to guest histories like this. We are still fighting with the Italian bureaucracy to find out a solution about our proposal to build a little Chapel at the Italian Antarctic Station MZS. Italy, the place where the Roman Church was born, the place where the Pope lives … Italy that have a huge Research Base in Antarctica, does not have a small place to allow a propitious recollection! Our hope will never get lost.
We catch what Father Duche said as a good hope: It
will be the honor of our Country to guarantee at the end of the
world as well, the freedom of conscience and having a little place to
pray, to thank Lord to allow the wind of the Spirit blowing in abundance over the world in a peaceful life. Thanks and credit to: