The Basilica of Sacred Heart

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The reason why this simple picture of the Basilique of the Sacré Cœur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris) speaks to me is because it represents the careful balance between preserving the past and living in the present that France seems to have figured out.  The basilica was built in 1914 and consecrated in 1919, however the idea to build a basilica on Montmartre originated in 1870 after both a French defeat in the Franco – Prussian war and during the Paris Commune uprisings that lasted for a year.  The belief at the time was that the French lost the Franco – Prussian war because God had abandoned them for their wicked ways and that by building a place of worship on the area known as the “Mount of Martyrs,” God would return to France and aid them in future wars.  However, at the same time, many new inventions and concepts around math and science were being introduced to France at the same time.  The fact that these two very different ideals could coexist so easily speaks to France’s ability to manage both the old and the new.  Currently, the balance has to be struck between retaining rich history and keeping up with current technological advances; however the coexisting of different notions is something that comes up throughout the history of France.  It is that coexistence of the past and the present that the Basilique of the Sacré Cœur reminds me of every time that I look at it.

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