The Illumination of Patrice Viviere IMG_0793

Five months before his death Patrice Viviere sat in the nave of Seville’s Santa Maria de la Sede cathedral. He had been coming to the cathedral every morning – ever since he had been abruptly “retired” from his post at the Ministry of Agriculture. Patrice had not informed his wife Marthe of his abrupt “resignation”. For over a month now Patrice had left for work at the usual time, taking his sandwich and red apple. But he came to the great Iglesias instead of to the office.

Seeking religion, meaning, salvation. Patrice had never been a religious man, but perhaps it was not too late to begin.

Patrice regarded the large crucifix of our Lord high above his head and assumed the proper attitude of reverence. Shifting forward onto the kneeling bar, hands clasped, his gaze raised toward the giant crucifix, Patrice waited for an answer to his prayer.

But no answer came. The Son of God did not respond. The other day the kindly Father Pedro had advised him “Wait, my son. Jesus, the Son of God will talk to you”.

But the Son of God, the long, beautiful personification of human suffering and forgiveness on the giant cross was silent. Patrice waited.

But while he waited, while he sat in his pew, Patrice noticed that his gaze, his attention, generally came to rest on the stained glass rosette high above the crucifix.

The rosette was beautiful. Simple and clear, it’s symmetry called to Patrice. Patrice realized that it was this simple rosette which had brought him back to the Iglesias each morning. It was the circular window that called to him. The sunlight beamed through the stained glass in a sort of celebration. Patrice returned his gaze to the crucifix. He struggled to pray a bit. He repeated the rosary. But always it was the rosette window, high on the church wall, that called to him. Patrice could not comprehend why this should be. But surely it was so. IMG_0842