Notre-Dame de Chartres / Our Lady of Chartres, (Pèlerinage de Chartres / The Chartres Pilgrimage) Mother of Youth (1935): also known as the Pilgrimage of Christendom, has been gathering thousands of people on the Solemnity of Pentecost for a three-day trek from the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris to the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Chartres.
Our Lady of Chartres, or Notre-Dame de Chartres, is a beautiful Gothic style Cathedral located in Beauce, France, which is about 80 kilometres southwest of Paris. This Cathedral, which was first built in the time of the Apostles, was demolished several times over the centuries. It was re-erected in its present state by Saint Fulbert, the fifty-fifth Bishop of Chartres at the end of the 12th Century into the beginning of the 13th century.
The Pilgrimage was inspired by French-Catholic writer Charles Péguy, who made a solitary Pilgrimage from Notre Dame of Paris to the Marian Sanctuary of Chartres in 1912, covering more than 136 kilometres in four days, 14-17 June, to ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary to help his ill son. He undertook the same Pilgrimage a year later, shortly before losing his life on the battlefield at the beginning of World War I in 1914.
The student’s Pilgrimage to Chartres started in 1935 with a group of fifteen young men and girls of the Sorbonne, who sacrificed their Pentecostal holidays in prayer to the Holy Spirit and to Mary. They marched 100 kilometres to the Shrine in Chartres and prayed there together. The next year there were 36 who went and in the following year 150. Then the war came but during the eight hard years that followed, the Pilgrimages were not deserted. The numbers increased, until in 1948, about 6,500 students formed a line to march to Mary.
Most of the Pilgrims were in their early twenties or late teens, from the universities, colleges and schools of Paris and the Provinces, although some were from foreign countries. The number of unbelievers, atheists and Communists has always been high even among the students; while Protestants and Jews also make up a goodly portion of the number (very much like the Santiago de Compostela). Some come out of curiosity, some following the persistent urgings of a friend; some for the sport of hiking, or to answer an invitation to test their grit and endurance but whatever their reasons for starting, few end, without a definite spiritual “joy.” Many make the Pilgrimage in bare feet over gravel roads; the sick and crippled go, too.
In our day there are thousands, perhaps 10,000 Pilgrims who walk through the French countryside to Chartres. Their trek is an open act of faith and reparation, something almost never seen in modern times.
In making the Chartres Pilgrimage, these young people help to give France a new birth of devotion to Mary; something new and spotless has been born as in the warmth of endless glorious Saints – re-lit in the hearts of young moderns. France must now place her hope in youth, the youth of France and the youth of the Church, through Our Blessed Mother, Mary the Lady of Chartres. Although this is primarily a Pentecost Pilgrimage, many smaller groups commence a Pilgrimage on 22 December to be in time for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and, in fact, all year round. Below, a French flag displaying the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus with ‘Hope and Salvation of France.’ A Priest hears confession while other Pilgrims participate in Adoration in the background (at the final campsite of the pilgrimage in Gas, France, about 12 miles from Chartres).
St Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917) – Universal optional memorial (except in the USA which is on 13 November) Italian-American religious sister, who founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
About St Frances:
St Abban of New Ross
Bl Adam of Saxony
St Amaswinthus of Málaga
St Athernaise of Fife
St Bertheid of Münster
St Chaeremon of Nilopolis
St Flavian of Acquapendente (Died 363) Martyr Layman
St Honoratus of Toulouse
St Hungerus Frisus of Utrecht (Died 866) Bishop of Utrecht
St Ischirione of Alexandria
Blessed Jutta of Disibodenberg OSB (c 1084-1136) Nun of the Benedictine Order, Foundress and Abbess, Spiritual Director (most notably of St Hildegard of Bingen), Mystic, miracle worker.
Bl Ottone of Toulouse
Blessed Thomas Holland SJ (1600-1642) Priest of the Society of Jesus and Martyr. of England and Wales.
His Life and Death:
St Zeno of Nicomedia
Martyrs of Ostia – (3 saints): A group of Christians martyred together. The only details about them to survive are three names – Demetrius, Florus and Honoratus. They were martyred at Ostia, Italy.
Martyrs of Rhaitu – (43 saints): 43 monks martyred by Blemmyes, in Raíthu, Egypt, date unknown.
Martyrs of Via Lavicana – (30 saints): A group of 30 Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian.
c 303 in Rome, Italy and were buried between two bay trees on the Via Lavicana outside Rome.