July 5, 2011

beyond the simple pleasures de la table

The door of the Sainte-Marie-Reine-des Coeurs boutique opens wide and a sister dressed in the white habit grabs my two hands and tells me how happy that we made it. I smiled, overwhelmed by such a greeting. Then she hesitates, telling me that my accent is not so very French. No. Are you not the father of sister .... Everyone looks at me. We laugh. I tell her that we are here to buy pottery. She invites us in with a warm welcome that I am almost envious of.

As we look through the boutique sister Lux Bruna (light + St Bruno) tells us about the order which began in the 1951 in France based on Pope Pius XII the dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, but they only came to Québec in 1993. The story ended there and she wanted to know all about Renard Artisan Bistro. It seemed strange describing this to her, in a place that seemed to be beyond the pleasures of the table. I picked up a plate of pure stoneware and she asked me what I would serve on it. Elk heart. She smiles. Beauty, she tells me, can be translated into objects and are there to remind us of good things. When they make the pottery they are in a constant act of prayer. I have to admit that there is something very powerful about their collection, and do not doubt that in large part it is because they are passionate, dedicated and trying. As for the simple pleasures of the table, I think that such plates and bowls are an amazing addition and is an honour to serve food on them.

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