St James' Hospice
Belpech, a village to discover
From yesteryears to nowadays, what a history…
In 1361, the Cardinal Curti requested in his will that a hospice was built to take care of strangers, heal and feed the poor. He left colossal wealth and mandated the abbot of Boulbonne to achieve his wish.
Four farms belonged to the hospice : Saint-Quirc, Ferran, Jauze and the Coumet tenancy. Tenancy products were used to feed residents or were sold to guarantee revenue for the institution. Originally located in the bridge quarter, the hospice was completely destroyed during the great fire of 1791 and was temporarily relocated within a house in Bishopric Street (rue de l'Evêché), next to the Church square, loaned by the bishop of Mirepoix. The facility was rebuilt on its current location, outside the walls, starting in 1821.
In 1841, three sisters were in charge of teaching children and taking care of the poor. Ten years later, five nuns created a "shelter room", designed for looking after the little ones (3 to 6 years-old): a kindergarten ancestor!
In 1868, a "sewing room" was created to educate young women and teach them needlework. This in turn would become a girl school, communal and open to all, which relocated to its current place in 1954. The old hospice then became a "retirement home".
Renovated and enlarged to conform to current safety, accessibility and comfort regulations, this EHPAD (Institution for the housing of dependent elderly people) offers 85 beds, of which 16 are earmarked for specialist care.
Thanks to L. and T. Guillosson
The hospice chapel
The hospice chapel was dedicated to Saint James the Great (son of Zebedee) and consecrated on the 25th of July 1824 by abbot Aragou.
In 1840, the chapel was enlarged: stained glass was put in place, a marble altar was set up. A century and a half later, the derelict building is pulled down as part of the renovation of the retirement home (EHPAD). It was decorated with statues that are now kept in the church.