Aventures missionaire

The divine mercy illuminates Port Bergé

Publié le 14/06/2024

Launched in 2020, the project of building a mosaic to adorn the pediment of a church in Port Bergé became reality in 2023. The fruit of a huge team work, symbol of the art at the service of the mission, was blessed by Mgr Georges Varkey, MEP. Let’s dive into this unprecedented human and artistic adventure.

Father Gabriel de Lépinau and some of his team members on the building site of the mosaic, on the pediment of the church of the Divine Mercy in Port Bergé, Madagascar.

“Every passer-by should feel called out by Christ and have a taste of God’s mercy.” This is how Father Henri, founder of a small local community in charge of spreading the divine mercy, described the huge artistic project adorning the pediment of the latest church in Port Bergé. It is located along the only road connecting the northern and southern parts of the country, right at the entrance of the city.


Merciful Jesus

Through the mosaic, our intention was to represent a merciful Jesus similar to Sister Faustina’s version, measuring four by three meters. Why a mosaic? Because Father Bertrand had this original idea, and Father Gabriel loves artistic projects that promise to be an adventure. In Madagascar, mosaics are a suitable format, because there it is easy to find all sorts of stones, with a great variety of shapes and colours. If it is solidly made, it can endure cyclones and last from a few decades to even a hundred years. However, a gigantic amount of work was ahead of us, and even Ian Knowles, a highly experienced English artist we consulted on the project, sometimes doubted its feasibility. When I arrived in 2018, the church had already been built and the idea had started taking a seed in people’s minds. Even if there aren’t any art schools in Madagascar, the Madagascans have golden hands. They are extremely skilled, and the earth is rich with all types of colourful stones. Even though I didn’t know anything about mosaic art, I was trained in iconography, and the project immediately attracted me. We then implemented a national contest on the radio in order to create a team. We had to find the rocks, select them, cut 50 000 to 100 000 tesserae of 2 cm each, make the preparatory drawing, gather a team of local craftsmen, find funding, etc. We started building it in June 2020.


The lovely adventure of Sary Masina Boriziny

Today, numerous passers-by, believers and non-believers alike, are compelled by the power and the greatness associated with the vision of Sister Faustina. The mosaic, inspired by the Byzantine style, spreads this image inherited from the divine mercy. Now, the parish has been elevated to the rank of diocesan sanctuary of the Divine Mercy and gathers various pilgrims.


Father Gabriel de Lépinau, MEP