Wednesday of the Sixth week of Easter +2021
Notre-Dame-des-Vertus / Our Lady of Power, Aubervilliers, France (1336) – 12 May:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “This image has wrought so many miracles in this Church, that it is called Our Lady of Power, though the Church is dedicated to Saint Christopher.”
Known now as Notre-Dame-des-Vertus, this is the 14th century Church in Aubervilliers that is the very location that experienced so many miracles during the Middle Ages. As noted by the Abbot Orsini, the Church was originally dedicated to Saint Christopher, yet the name soon changed to honour the Mother of God, in recognition of the graces and miracles obtained there due to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Parish had been built around the Saint Christopher Chapel and after whom the road leading to the Church is named.
The first miracle occurred on 14 May 1336 and is known locally as the Miracle of Rain. It was during a time of terrible drought when a small girl entered the Church of Saint Christopher with flowers to adorn the Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. While praying that Our Lady would send rain to save the crops, the girl suddenly noticed, that the Statue had become covered, with what appeared to be drops of sweat and the sky turned dark, as the weather began to turn.
The inhabitants of the Parish flocked to the Church, alerted by the sound of the Church bell, to see the wonder and give thanks to God for this miracle. This was but the beginning of the pilgrimages to the Church that began almost immediately, especially from the Parishes of Paris. These pilgrimages were encouraged by the authorities of the Church, as well as by the example of the many distinguished visitors and the continued occurrences of many other miracles over the following centuries. These miracles included many cures, as well as the miracles of two children who were brought back to life. Kings and Queens were among the many pilgrims who came during the Middle Ages, including King Louis XIII, who came to pray for the capture of Rochelle.
The Archbishop of Paris confirmed the celebration of the festival on the second Tuesday of May, which is the month of Mary. After all these miracles, the Chapel was far too small to contain the influx of pilgrims, in particular the processions coming from Paris to the Basilica that stopped at the miraculous little Chapel on their way.
The small Sanctuary was later replaced by a more imposing Church whose construction began in the fifteenth century. Particularly remarkable are the stained glass windows that adorn the Church and remind the visitor of the extraordinary history of this place, for they relate to the many different miracles performed by the Blessed Virgin in the Chapel, of which there were many. Virtually every great Saint is depicted in these windows too – if you wish to see them, although they are not professional photographs, go here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g3347617-d10980848-Reviews-Eglise_Notre_Dame_des_Vertus- There are numerous Statues and Altars of the Blessed Virgin in the Sanctuary, all of them highly venerated by pilgrims.
During the French revolution, in 1789, the Statue of the miraculous Virgin was profaned. It was dragged on the road leading to Saint Denis with a rope around its neck; the Sans-Culottes movement burned it singing the French song “Carmagnole et Ah! Ca ira!” proof of the Satanic roots of the French Revolution. One of her hands was saved from the flames and was preserved.
The present Statue of the Virgin, located in the left Chapel, was sculpted in wood by Baffet House in 1873. It is a copy of an ancient Statue found that year in the Chapel Saint-Julien-Le-Pauvre at Hotel-Dieu. It was inserted into a Neo Gothic frame, flanked by two angels holding phylacteries, (a coiled-end speech scroll bearing legends) which recall the miracle in 1582 when the Virgin restored a stillborn child to life.
St Achilleus of Terracina Martyr (Optional Memorial)
St Nereus of Terracina Martyr (Optional Memorial)
Together with St Flavia Domitilla, their mistress and fellow hermit, were Martyred for Christ:
St Flavia here:
St Pancras of Rome (c 289 – c 303) Martyr Child of 14, Roman Convert (Optional Memorial)
St Cyril of Galatz
St Dedë Malaj
St Diomma of Kildimo
St Dionysius of Asia
St Dominic de la Calzada
St Ejëll Deda
St Ephrem of Jerusalem
St Epiphanius (c 315 – 403) Bishop of Salamis (Cyprus) known as the Oracle of Palestine, Church Father, Theologian, Confessor, Writer, Defender of the Faith, Monk and Ascetic.
St Erc Nasca of Tullylish
St Ethelhard of Canterbury
St Euphrosyna of Terracina
Bl Francis Patrizzi of Siena
Bl Gemma of Goriano
St Germanus of Constantinople (c 640-733) Bishop
Blessed Joanna of Portugal OP (1452-1490) Religious of the Second Order of St Dominic, Virgin, Princess of Portugal of the House of Aviz, daughter of King Afonso V of Portugal and his first wife Isabella of Coimbra, Penitent.
About Blessed Joanna whom the Portuguese called “Saint Princess Joanna”:
Bl Juan de Segalars
St Lucien Galan
St Maria Domenica Mazzarello
St Modoald of Trier
St Palladius of Rome
St Philip of Agira
St Richrudis of Marchiennes
St Theodora of Terracina
St Thomas Khampheuane Inthirath