(Church of Charity site)
Place Bellecour and Place Antonin-Poncet, Lyon, France [ Map ]
The site of the former Church of Charity is approximately located on the southern side of the intersection of Place Bellecour and Place Antonin Poncet (in front of a modern post office). Nearby, an ancient Bell Tower (mid-1660s) is a solitary remnant of the former Charity Hospital (Hôpital de la Charité), originally the General Almshouse, which was located on this site from about 1622 to 1934.
The tower was designed to complement the architecture of the church, allegedly according to a sketch produced by the great Italian sculptor and architect Bernini (1598-1680) who was responsible for many of the major works at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome (including the Chair of St Peter in 1647-53).
On 22 February 1845, when Eymard preached at the Church of Charity in Place Bellecour, Lyon, he first met Marguerite Guillot (1815-1885) who lived and worked nearby as a launderer in Place Bellecour.
After choosing Eymard to be her spiritual director, Guillot became a close friend and collaborator with Eymard in Eucharistic projects, initially as a leading member of the Third Order of Mary and later as the foundation superior of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament (a Eucharistic religious congregation for women) which Eymard established under her leadership in 1858.
Lyon, Place Bellecour, Église de la Charité : Postcard c. late 19th /early 20th century, Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon image collection.
L’Ancienne église de la Charité, Bellecour, au début du XXe siècle : Photo by Jules Sylvestre, c. 1900, Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon image collection.
Place Bellecour: at VisiteLyon.fr website [French]