May 24, 2022

Indre-et-Loire: the construction of a district intended for Christians raises questions

At L’Île-Bouchard, in Indre-et-Loire, a neighborhood for Christians is planned. But the idea questions some residents and elected officials, even arouses some controversy.

The project is carried by the real estate company Monasphere. Founded at the end of 2020 by Damien Thomas – former director of the Louis and Zélie Martin Sanctuary, in Alençon – and Charles Wattebled – former musician -, the latter thus wished to create housing estates close to places of worship intended for the Catholic community.

The first execution of this project will therefore take place in Île-Bouchard (37). On the Internet, the district is described as: “In the heart of Touraine, under the veil of the Virgin and in the shadow of the Angel”.

Entitled “Clos Saint-Gabriel”, the hamlet will consist of 17 dwellings from 84 to 180 m².

The land was purchased in 2021 and the project was validated by the town hall as well as by an architect from the Buildings of France. Today, Monasphere is waiting for the building permit to be issued.

The risk of communitarianism pointed out

According to Damien Thomas, “no less than 150 people” have already contacted the company. In addition, the website has no less than “13,000 visits in three weeks” and “2,500 files” have already been downloaded.

However, if some are enthusiastic, this is not the case of Guy Jouteux, municipal councilor of the opposition: “Some people perceive it (the project, editor’s note) as being an increasingly important seizure of the Community of the ‘Emmanuel on the village of L’Île-Bouchard.’

The Emmanuel Community is a public and international religious association. “It brings together lay people (married, celibate, consecrated in celibacy) and priests, who live in the heart of the world and place themselves together at the service of the mission of the Catholic Church through adoration, compassion and evangelization. .,” according to their site.

Until then, it was the Community of Emmanuel who owned the land where the Clos Saint-Gabriel district will be born. Moreover, it is also the community that is in charge of the management of the Saint-Gilles church, one kilometer from the future district.

Asked about the community aspect of the project, François de Laforcade, parishioner of the Sanctuary of L’Île-Bouchard, admits that the project can be perceived as such, but he affirms that a “mixing will be done.”

On this subject, Damien Thomas wanted to be reassuring: “We have a base where there are many Christians, but not only. We work like a normal promoter. […] We are open to everyone. We are not going to ask people if they cross themselves to mass on Sunday to buy a house!

New arrivals that can be beneficial

For her part, the mayor of Île-Bouchard, Nathalie Vigneau, does not wish to take sides. Nevertheless, the potential arrival of 17 families would not displease him.

Recently, a primary school class had to close for lack of children in the village. The moving of these families will make it possible to “increase the population and welcome children into our schools, it is only beneficial for us”, declared Nathalie Vigneau to the New Republic.