Tibet Museum, the house – chaplaincy and St Joseph chapel
The Tibet Museum is located in the chaplaincy and the chapel of the old Chateau St Germain dedicated to St Joseph.
This building originally housed an institution for deaf and mute children run by catholic nuns. They made it their duty to teach these children in order to give them access to communication and to the outside world
The institution left Gruyères in 1920, and the chaplaincy and the chapel were bought by a private family. From then on the chapel served as a storage room and sometimes as a playroom for local children.
The religious symbolism of the chapel is of great importance. Beside Christ, Maria and Joseph, a stained-glass window represents St Pancras, the healer and protector of herds. On one of the walls, a fresco represents St Francis of Assisi communicating with birds, like Milarepa, his contemporary in Tibet. Milarepa cared with love and compassion for his flying friends and all living beings. Next to it, yet another painting shows Christ healing a deaf and mute youth by saying: “Be thou opened (EPHPHETHA)”.
By housing the Tibet Museum in this chaplaincy and this chapel, the Alain Bordier Foundation has chosen to perpetuate the vocation of openness of this place. The museum offers an access to Himalayan Buddhist art and philosophy to the public and opens the doors of a historic religious monument in a spirit of respect and openness. This place of enrichment and open-mindedness is able to approach what appears to be two different worlds, although they both belong to the same humanity.