Some churches bear a starkness that evokes their origin. The church’s stone and light are her only decoration. There is very little evidence of the individual worshipper, of the community that surrounds her. Perhaps a little bouquet of flowers, or a candle or two for a personal request can be found in a small side chapel. But in the modest church at Thuret, there is a riot of hopes and prayers.
The original painted decoration of the church walls is almost lost beneath the lives of her parishioners. Needs fulfilled, needs hoped for fill every possible space. Statues of various saints and images of Christ are surrounded by needlepoint prayers, flowers, marble “mercies” and every other form of votive.
Saint Benilde, canonized in 1967, a patron saint of educators was baptized at this church and is particularly adored evidenced by hundreds of votives. He has a popularity that could only be marveled at by the biggest pop star. Lives are everywhere in this church. We came here to photograph the church but I was overwhelmed by the history of the emotions that are on display and the power of belief that they represent.
I realized that this church could never be empty even when no one is here. I added my candle to the rest unable to resist the fervor of belief, placing it before the statue of the 12th century vierge.
Saint Benilde looked a little busy.