In the old butchers’ district of Limoges, France, there stands a little chapel that is dedicated to the patron saint of butchers. Chapelle Saint-Aurélien was built in the 1470s and was eventually acquired by the guild of butchers, which became the Confrérie Saint Aurélien. This group has maintained it through the years, and venerated the relics of Saint Aurélien, who was also Limoges’s second bishop.
You can see more views of the charming historic chapel on this website.
The miniature chapel was enlarged in the 17th century, when the chestnut-shingled tower was added. During the French Revolution, the butchers of Limoges purchased the private chapel and protected it through that turbulent period.
Inside you will find this notable statue of Saint Anne, the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus. What is unusual about this gilded trio? The infant Jesus is holding something to his mouth, which is said to be a kidney. This is consistent with an old practice of butchers, namely to give nutrient-dense kidneys to young mothers who had just given birth, and to small children. A fitting statue for the butcher’s chapel.
Click here for more photos of the interior and the statues in the chapel. To learn more about the chapel and butchering, past and present, in Limoges, read this interesting Paste Magazine article. And if you visit Limoges, don’t miss this unique, historical curiosity.
Featured photo: Jean Louis Capdeville