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cloister-hazebrouck-1854It was 1854. In those days , the people living in Hazebrouck spoke Flemish. Some different sects appeared in the region and the archbishop of Cambrai, Monseigneur Régnier was very worried about such a decline of Catholicism. But in 1851, in Morbecque, a village near Hazebrouck, the Monseigneur saw a Belgian capuchin priest, called Isidore who was such a good preacher that he asked him to come and live in Hazebrouck.So, a monastery was built for the monks who moved to their new residence on the 20th of November 1854.Their chapel was dedicated to saint Anthony of Padua. The monastery was built in a field far from the town centre but next to the railways inaugurated in 1848.In 1861, they were forced to leave France because they were regarded as an illegal congregation. The monastery stayed empty for four years except for one French monk who was allowed to stay.

In 1865, one of its three owners, Mr Dehaene, the principal of the Hazebrouck municipal college who had just been dismissed , decided to create a new college. It was called Saint Francis of Assisi and opened on the 9 th of October 1865. There were 15 teachers and 175 pupils. A very big college at that time. 
t became a religious seminary in 1873. From 1865 to 1973, there were 8 headmasters and about 5000 pupils who came to Saint-Francis’ and 1500 of them became priests.

1900_facade7.jpg (96052 octets)The most famous of its pupils was certainly Jules Lemire, a French priest and social reformer, who was born at Vieux-Berquin (Nord) on the 23rd of April 1853. 
He was educated at the college of St Francis of Assisi  where he subsequently taught philosophy and rhetoric. In 1897 he was elected deputy for Hazebrouck and was returned unopposed at the elections of 1898, 1902 and 1906. He organized a society called "La Ligue du coin de terre",  the object of which was to secure, at the expense of the state, a piece of land for every French family desirous of possessing one. The abb Lemire sat in the chamber of deputies as a conservative republican and Christian Socialist. He protested in I893 against the action of the Dupuy cabinet in closing the Bourse du Travail, characterizing it as the expression of a policy of disdain of the workers. In December 1893 he was seriously injured by the bomb thrown by the anarchist Vaillant from the gallery of the chamber. He died in 1928.

More about Jules Lemire? 

The canteen was used as an hospital - click to enlarge

This college was occupied during the First world war by the British Army (n°12 ccs) and more than 1200 wounded soldiers stayed in the college. On the 24th of May 1915 there were more than one hundred corpses lying on the playground.  
The daily diary of the british army   is held at the Public Record Office, in Kew, London.  
(It is document WO95/498).

English tents
The british camp during the war -1915-1917

AUGUST 1915 - JUNE 1917

more about Casualty Clearing stations

the First world war    http://www.theotherside.co.uk/tm-heritage/background/first-war.htm#top
Hazebrouck and the first world war                         > search    worldwar.com

1945-the prison camp 

The new cloister and the memorial were inaugurated in 1929 and during the second world war, the school was occupied first by the English army and then by the nazis and used as a prison camp.


The seminary closed in 1973 and the buildings are now used by St Jacques school.

                                                                      Saint-Jacques Chapel

Saint-Jacques, an independent secondary school, is established in a monastery built by Belgian Capuchin friars in Hazebrouck in the 19th century. 
The monks were forced to leave France in 1861 and the empty buildings were then used by Jacques Dehaene, a priest who decided to create a school of secondary education (1873-1894), which later became a religious seminary. 
From 1985 onwards, the buildings have been part of Saint-Jacques secondary school.

The Chapel is large and highly ornate.
The retable was designed by Léonard Barbier, an Hazebrouck architect. 
Built in an eclectic neo-baroque style, it covers all the wall of the choir going up to the vault and is now listed in the additional inventory of historic buildings. 
We can observe the Franciscan style of the retable with its various symbols and its central painting
The painting is a copy of a masterpiece by Anton Van Dick, "The miracle of the mule". It is signed ‘A.Vandersck...’ (the end of the name is unreadable) and dated 1858. 
There are four statues on this retable: Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen (1577-1622), a missionary and patron saint of the Capuchins; Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660); Saint James (Jacques); and Saint Peter.The tabernacle is situated above a very simple altar and looks like an eclectic temple. 
The retable looks like the retables built in the seventeenth century.
At the top you can see St Mary standing on the moon with 12 stars around her head. At her feet there is a snake, symbol of the original sin.
Two memorials pay homage to Jacques Dehaene and Paul Baron, both priests and key figures of Saint-Jacques and of the religious seminary.
Nine stained-glass windows brighten up the Chapel. Eight of them make reference to the litanies of the Virgin Mary.
The last one represents the coat of arms and motto of the school. "Strong in Faith"