Saturday, December 29, 2012


Now that I have had  a year’s sabbatical from my blog (I had a year away from writing it for a variety of personal reasons), I’m wondering if there is a word specific to a blog sabbatical. Perhaps I could make up a word, something like “Sablogital.”

One of my recent pleasures was to watch Barbara Freed’s film called “A Model for Matisse.” I had found information on the film on the Internet and suggested to the Guelph Public Library that they order it to add to their holdings. To my delight, the GPL did just that, and in only two months’ time I received an email saying the film was being held for me at the main branch, which is within walking distance of where I live.

This film is the little-known story of how the Matisse Chapel in Vence, France came to be. Toward the end of his life, when Matisse required nursing care, he advertised in Nice for a young, pretty nurse. The ad was answered by the twenty-one-year-old nursing student, Monique Bourgeois.

Bourgeois later joined a Dominican convent and became Sister Jacques-Marie. One day she showed Matisse a drawing she did of the Assumption, and he suggested it would be suitable as a stained glass window. It was this sketch that inspired Matisse to design and oversee the building of the Chapelle du Rosaire, which included the floors, the walls, the windows and even the vestments for priests. Over a four-year period Sister Jacques-Marie worked as the liaison between Matisse and her religious community as he planned and built the chapel.

The film beautifully tells the story of the friendship between these two, the artist and the nun.