FSSP Versailles: Chapelle de l'Immaculée Conception

Versailles is a magnificent place to visit. It is also a place where the Classical Rite always existed - it was celebrated here, even at unknown places during the particularly difficult time of the post-conciliar years. 

Today the FSSP have a vibrant parish in the heart of Versailles known as the Chapelle de l'Immaculée Conception, located within walking distance of the Cathedral of St. Louis (where Pius IV once visited) and the Palace of Versailles (with the old walled vegetable gardens just down the street from the church). 

This is the largest FSSP apostolate in Europe, with 1,400 faithful, 180 altar servers, 5 priests, and 5 Sunday Masses. The chapel is small and simple, also known as the chapel of the Poor Clares. It was dedicated in 1867 for a community of Poor Clare nuns who remained until 1999. 

In 2008 the church was given to the FSSP. It had already been unoccupied since 1999 when the last of the sisters left, vacating the property for some time. Unfortunately, the interior sanctuary had already been gutted and so a new altar had to be installed. The sanctuary design is interesting, with the main altar raised quite high on a series of steps in the sanctuary. 

There is no attached rectory and so the clergy commute to their nearby home, a flat in a residential neighborhood within driving distance.  

Visiting here for Sunday High Mass is an inspiration. The choir has an amazing repertoire, and the well-trained servers compliment the solemnity of the liturgy. Because the church is small, there are multiple Sunday Masses to accommodate the crowds. 

The FSSP does not have a parish in Paris, and so that is a dream that hopefully one day will come to fruition, as this community in Versailles continues to grow, with some parishioners commenting from as far as Paris and beyond. 

Many vocations are flowering from this parish and the harvest is plentiful.  The youth are being taught the Roman Rite, young families are plentiful, and the liturgical arts are flourishing. God be praised. Below are several images to help illustrate parish life.  

Meanwhile, Versailles has always been a special place. While Paris is the acknowledged capital of France, Versailles is a bastion of high culture with an underlying note of all that is good and noble. Wherever the influence of European civilization has reached, it is to France and Versailles that recognition is given for the primacy of its language, good taste, its culture, and its fashion. Not to mention courtesy, a social rite nourished by charity and court life in Versailles.  


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