Last year I had the pleasure to capture a wedding at St Anthony Chapel in the Valley. What a beautiful little Chapel and the surroundings is ideal for some rustic wedding photo’s…
Here are some information from a website on St Anthony Chapel in the Valley.
The story of St Anthony in the Valley. 10 December 1999
The year 1997 was financially a low point in the history of the farm. The vineyards needed to be replanted with better cultivars. Some of the farm equipment had to be replaced. I then made a promise to God that if I succeeded in selling a portion of the farm, I would use some of the money to build a chapel for the community. In December 1997 a portion of the farm was sold.
Part of the chapel was an existing building, dating from the early 1960’s. The building was originally used as a dairy and at one stage as a house. In 1980 I realised the farm staff needed a hall/meeting place and we changed this building into a community hall. It was used for religious and other community purposes, at one stage even as a crèche and afterwards a clinic. Today this building has been altered, extended and is now the chapel.
The chapel is dedicated to my late parents, Pieter & Inah Visser, who taught us children to respect every one else, their religion, their beliefs and their “mens wees’. The two windows at the entrance are dedicated to our family lines. The “wheat window” representing the bread or the Body of Christ in the Eucharist is dedicated to my mother’s side, the Jordaan’s. They were wheat farmers in the Bredasdorp area. The “grape window” representing the wine or the Blood of Christ in the Eucharist is dedicated to my father’s side, the Visser’s. They were wine farmers in the Stellenbosch area.
The tabernacle doors are made from Oregon pine. This wood comes from the original interior window shutters of the farmhouse (Villeria) which was on the portion that I sold. The altar top is made from solid Burmese teak. This wood comes from a huge vat that stood outside the Nagenoeg house. When I was a child it was used to store our drinking water. The same wood was used for the 14 Stations of the Cross (which represent the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem), the cross section of the crucifix, the shelves for the statues and the hymn notice board. No explanation is needed for the two wine vats at the altar. This is a wine farm and my father was a trained cooper, and Jesus’ first miracle was changing water into wine at Canaan, at a wedding feast. Wine plays a big roll in Christianity and in the Bible. Each year on St Vincent’s day we have a blessing of the harvest. He is the patron saint of wine growers and his feast day is on 21 January.
During my pilgrimage in September 1999, I bought the St Anthony’s statue in Fatima, Portugal. His feast day is 13 June. He is the Patron Saint, not only of Portugal but also of lost causes and couples. In the chapel there are two statues of Our Lady, namely, Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Lourdes, France. Both are very special places for me. I visited these places firstly as a non-Catholic in 1989 and then as a Catholic in 1999. The small “Sacred Heart” has a long history. When my father bought Villeria in 1963, the statue was left behind by the previous owners. I have always kept it with me wherever I moved. It now has found its rightful place in St Anthony’s. The Crucifix figure was bought in Oberammergau, Germany where the Passion Play is performed once every 10 years. The olive wood Sacred Heart was bought by me in Shepherd’s Field outside Bethlehem in Israel as well as the Crusader’s Cross (also known as the Jerusalem Cross), which hangs above St Anthony’s statue in the back of the chapel above the doors.
Most of the other articles in the chapel have been donated by various people. There are too many names to mention them all. I would like to say once again thank you to everyone for their generosity.
Different denominations, mostly through staff members, use the chapel. Sometimes there is up to three or four church services on a Sunday. On the 4 December 1999, His Grace, the Archbishop of Cape Town, Lawrence Henry blessed the chapel. In his sermon he mentioned that he would like the chapel to become a place of pilgrimage for all the people from the Cape Town area. Today the chapel and community hall are used very frequently for retreats, not only Catholic but many other religious denominations from all over the Western Cape.
As you can see everything has its special God given place in St Anthony and in my life.
I would like to thank God for all these privileges. I am truly blessed.
Schalk W Visser
082 414 8333 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The money that we receive for the weddings will help pay the school fees and school clothes for the children from the workers on the farm.