Le Prado

(The Prado)
North-east corner rue Sébastien Gryphe and rue Père Chevrier, Lyon, France [ Map ]

Chapel House: 9 rue du Père Chevrier
Prado Association of Priests: 13 rue du Père Chevrier.

The Prado is located on the original site of a dance hall in the former industrial district of Guillotière in Lyon. The venue, known as the Prado, was in poor condition and had a notorious reputation when it was acquired in 1860 by Fr (now Blessed) Antoine Chevrier (1825-1879). Fr Chevrier converted the site into a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, a centre for evangelising and educating street children, and a residence. From that starting point in 1860, an international organisation of priests, brothers, nuns, and lay people emerged, who were poor themselves and dedicated to working for their fellow poor in the name of Jesus Christ.

The Prado site is primarily significant as the foundation place of Antoine Chevrier’s mission to the poor, which now operates in over fifty countries.

Blessed Antoine Chevrier.
Blessed Antoine Chevrier.

Eymard’s association with the Prado dates back to the early 1860s, when Bishop Armand de Charbonnel (the former Bishop of Toronto, Canada) encouraged the possibility of Chevrier and Eymard working together. Both priests had similar apostolates to street children: Eymard in Paris and Chevrier in Lyon. They met at the Prado in April 1861. The fragmentary evidence that survives suggests that Chevrier may have been at the point of bringing his work under the umbrella of the Blessed Sacrament Congregation. According to Eymard’s correspondence, Chevrier and Charbonnel were about to make representations to higher church authorities in mid-1861. Nothing more came of the proposals and, as far as is known, the reasons are not recorded.

The tomb of Antoine Chevrier is located at the Prado. Following Chevrier’s beatification in 1986, Pope John Paul II made a personal pilgrimage to this site. Through Blessed Antoine Chevrier, the pope said, he wished to pay homage to all those apostles who made themselves ‘bread for their people’ in response to their people’s hunger for bread, for dignity, and above all for God.

Interior, Prado Chapel, Lyon.
Interior, Prado Chapel, Lyon.

The Prado (official site) [French]

Blessed Antoine Chevrier by Ferdinand Holböck, New Saints and Blesseds of the Catholic Church, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2003), vol. 2, 140-8. [Google Books]

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