Folleville Church Model Unveiled at DePaul University

by | Feb 3, 2018 | News

Detail of a scale model of the Church at Folleville, France, on display on the second floor of the Richardson Library on the Lincoln Park Campus. The church is where on Jan. 25, 1617, St. Vincent de Paul preached a sermon which led to the foundation of the Congregation of the Mission and all of his works. The model captures what the church looked like on that day. The church is still in existence but has undergone many changes over its 500 year history. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

On January 26, a tabletop model of the parish church in Folleville, France was unveiled at the John T. Richardson Library on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus. The church model, which was created using traditional craftsmanship and 3-D printing, was a way for DePaul to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian mission and honor its Vincentian heritage.

From the DePaul pressroom:

The 2 feet wide by 5 feet long model was commissioned by DePaul University’s Vincentian Studies Institute. DePaul is the nation’s largest Catholic university. It was founded in Chicago in 1898 by the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians), a Roman Catholic religious community begun by Vincent in 1625. Vincent, popularly known as the “apostle of charity,” dedicated his life to serving the poor.

The Rev. Edward R. Udovic, C.M., a historian and DePaul’s vice president for mission and ministry, described the project as “a long time coming” as planning started in 2012. He wanted to find an appropriate way to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian mission and believed creating a model of the church located roughly 75 miles northwest of Paris would be an important and unique contribution to the anniversary celebration.

The model will be a permanent exhibition in the Richardson Library. Interactive kiosks providing information on the church’s art, architecture and its Vincentian significance flank the structure.

The model shows the church as it was in 1617 prior to the ravages of history and renovations through the centuries. It depicts the original front façade and steeple and the original choir screen made of richly carved wood. Visitors will be able to peer through cross-sections of the model to appreciate the full beauty of both the interior and exterior of the church.

History meets high tech

Jeff Wrona, who created the St. Lazare diorama in the Richardson Library in 1992, provided the architectural research for the concept and structure of the Folleville model. Architectural model firm Presentation Studios International LLC (PSI) of Chicago completed the model.

“The model came together like a large Lego set,” Udovic said. “Each of the major pieces were individually printed out, joined together, hand-finished and painted.”

The interior is without pews or pulpit because those church furniture items were not present in 1617, he added.

Folleville, then and now

In 1617, the church was on the lands of the powerful and noble Gondi family who served as Vincent’s great and generous patrons.

The church, which is no longer an active parish, continues to attract visitors because it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a stop on the northern medieval pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, a Spanish city home to the shrine of St. James the Great.

The church at Folleville is significant in art and architectural history as well as Vincentian history. Originally built as a simple parish church at the beginning of the 15th century, it was remodeled at the beginning of the 16th century with the addition of a flamboyant gothic chapel decorated with important Italian late-medieval sculptures and tombs.

Source: DePaul Newsroom, Author: Sandy Antunez  


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