Sunday within the Octave of Ascension
Notre-Dame des Ardents / Our Lady of Ardents, Arras, France (1095) – 29 May:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “A wax candle is kept in the Cathedral of Arras, which is held to have been brought thither by Our Lady, in the year 1095.”
Our Lady of Ardents, or Notre-Dame des Ardents d’Arras in French, is a small, charming red brick Church in the lower part of Town in Arras.. It was built in the beautiful style unique to the twelfth Century, in order to celebrate the appearance of the Blessed Virgin and to commemorate the miraculous assistance, she gave to the people then living in the region.
According to Tradition, there was a terrible epidemic that was given the name ‘the hellfire’ that ravaged the countryside in that year of 1105 and all men felt, that they were in the clutches of the specter of Death. The Evil of Ardent, the disease caused a kind of gangrene in the limbs and the strange sickness, caused terrible suffering in all parts of the body and laid low, both men and women and even their children, throughout the whole of the region.
There were, at that time, two minstrels, one named Itier, who lived in Brabant and the other, named Norman, who lived in the Chateau de Saint-Pol. They had vowed a mortal hatred, as Norman had killed Itier’s brother.
One night they both had the same dream – the Virgin Mary, dressed in white, appeared to them and told them to go to the Cathedral. Norman, who was closer, arrived first. As he entered the Cathedral he saw all the patients who had taken refuge there. He found the Bishop and told him of the apparition but Bishop Lambert thought that Norman was mocking him and sent him away. Itier arrived the following day and also spoke to the Bishop. When the Bishop told Itier that someone named Norman had come to tell him of the same vision, Itier asked where he was because he intended to kill him on the field, to avenge his brother’s death. Bishop Lambert then understood, that the Blessed Virgin had sent the two men to be reconciled. The Bishop spoke to each separately and then put them in each other’s presence and asked them to give each other, the kiss of peace and then spend the night in prayer, inside the Cathedral.
It was Pentecost Sunday, 28 May 1105, at about three o’clock in the morning, when the Virgin Mary appeared to the two minstrels in the Cathedral. Norman and Itier witnessed a sudden light as the Blessed Virgin descended from the height of the nave, carrying a lighted candle in her hands. She gave the men the candle intended for the healing of the sick and explained to them, what they must do. A few drops of the wax that fell from the candle were to be mingled with water, giving it miraculous properties the people would then drink this water.
All who believed were healed. The two minstrels, now brothers, distributed the miraculous water and the epidemic ceased. There were many prodigies of healing that went on for hundreds of years, especially with wounds, inflammations and ulcers. All of this shows how reconciliation and prayer, are pleasing to God and can precipitate great miracles, as well as ending or preventing wars. The Bishop of Arras wanted to build a Church worthy of Our Lady of Ardents and to receive the relic of the Holy Candle. The Church was consecrated in 1876 just before the definitive establishment of the Third Republic.
This relic, the Holy Candle, can still be seen today. On the eve of Corpus Christi and the four following days, the Holy Candle was lit and shown to the people. It has not diminished!
The reliquary of the Holy Candle is a masterpiece of art, which preserves the relic of the Holy Candle. The content of the reliquary has been the object of veneration and every year, it is presented to pilgrims, during the time period which runs between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost.
St Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi O.Carm (1566-1607) Carmelite Nun and Mystic, Ecstatic, she bi-located and was the intercessor of many miracles, Stigmatist. She was Beatified in 1626 by Pope Urban VIII. At her Canonisation in 1668, her body was declared miraculously incorrupt. Her Feast day was moved in 1969 to 25 May.
St Bona of Pisa
St Conon the Elder
St Conon the Younger
St Eleutherius of Rocca d’Arce
St Felix of Atares
St Gerald of Mâcon
Bl Gerardesca of Pisa
Bl Giles Dalmasia
St Hesychius of Antioch
St John de Atarés
St Maximinus of Trier (Died c 346) Bishop and Confessor
St Maximus of Verona
St Restitutus of Rome
Bl Richard Thirkeld
St Theodosia of Caesarea and Companions
St Votus of Atares
St William of Cellone
Martyrs of Toulouse: A group of eleven Dominicans, Franciscans, Benedictines, clergy and lay brothers who worked with the Inquisition in southern France to oppose the Albigensian heresy. Basing their operations in a farmhouse outside Avignonet, France, he and his brother missioners worked against heresy. Murdered by Albigensian heretics while singing the Te Deum on the eve of Ascension. They were beaten to death on the night of 28 to 29 May 1242 in the church of Avignonet, Toulouse, France and Beatified on 1 September 1866 by Pope Pius IX (cultus confirmation).
• Bernard of Roquefort
• Bernard of Toulouse
• Garcia d’Aure
• Pietro d’Arnaud
• Raymond Carbonius
• Raymond di Cortisan
• Stephen Saint-Thibery
• William Arnaud
• the Prior of Avignonet whose name unfortunately has not come down to us.
The Church in which they died was placed under interdict as punishment to the locals for the offense. Shortly after the interdict was finally lifted, a large statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was found on the door step of church. Neither the sculptor nor the patron was ever discovered, nor who delivered it or how. The people took it as a sign that they were forgiven, but that they should never forget, and should renew their devotion to Our Lady. They referred to the image as “Our Lady of Miracles.”
Until recently there was a ceremony in the church on the night of the 28th to 29th of May, the anniversary of the martyrdom. Called “The Ceremony of the Vow”, parishioners would gather in the church, kneel with lit candles, and process across the Church on their knees, all the while praying for the souls of the heretics who had murdered the Martyrs.
Martyrs of Trentino: Three missionaries to the Tyrol region of Austria, sent by Saint Ambrose and welcomed by Saint Vigilius of Trent. All were Martyred – Alexander, Martyrius and Sisinius. They were born in Cappadocia and died in 397 in Austria.