The chapel of the Sacred Heart

In 1889, Father Six built the chapel of the Sacred Heart of honeyed ironwood. The front door of this chapel is a masterpiece of wood carving, with a profusion of minute details. A French officer at the time marveled at the sculpture, then he asked Father Six to allow the woodwork to be taken to Paris for an exhibition. The answer was no, and Father Six declared that the sculpture was dedicated in perpetual offering to the Lord and must remain on site.

Returning to the interior of the chapel, it seems that the design of the building and its ornamentation are a feast for the eyes of the thousand year history of  Vietnamese architecture. We find majestic forms, the solemnity of the imperial city, and the harmonious aspects of the temples and pagodas. The altar of carved stone is a powerful symbol. It features animal figures that evoke Christ as a lamb, for Christ is the Lamb of God. There is also a pelican nourishing its young with its own flesh and blood. At right, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.