Notre-Dame-de-Gray / Our Lady de Gray, France (1602) – 30 July:
The Shrine of Notre-Dame-de-Gray, or Our Lady of Gray, is located near Besancon in Northern France near Franche-Comte. The Statue of Our Lady of Gray is made of an oak tree from Montaigu, has a dark wooden colour and is only 14.5 centimeters tall. It is much honoured in the country and there are many miracles and graces granted to petitioners that are attributed to Our Lady’s intercession at this Shrine.
It is believed that about five centuries ago, on a hill near Montaigu, a pious person placed a small Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary upon an old oak tree. The tree itself is believed to date from the time of the Druids and crested one of the hills in the Diocese of Malines. Soon the faithful began to come in crowds from throughout the region, for there were miraculous cures and various miracles granted to the pilgrims who invoked Mary under the name of Our Lady of the Oak.
In the year 1602 a small wooden Chapel was built on the hill of Montaigu. The oak upon which the Statue of Our Lady had once been displayed was now cut up into small pieces and carved by a local craftsman into statuettes of the same image. These Statues were presented as a mark of respect to patrons of the Shrine. Even the wood of the oak was considered almost a precious relic, for it had once touched the miraculous Statue of the Blessed Virgin.
Wherever they went these figures were enshrined with honour and it seemed as if Our Lady of Montaigu sent her favour, for her miraculous power went with them.
In the year 1613, a poor, seventy year old widow named Jeanne Bonnet de Salins made a pilgrimage to the Shrine. She obtained a piece of the venerable old oak and took it to a sculptor named Jean Brange to carve into a statue similar to that of the original. On 4 April 1613, the Archbishop of Besancon blessed the Statue and allowed it to be exhibited for public veneration.
It is reported, that Jeanne Bonnet was rewarded by signal graces she obtained through Our Lady’s intercession. She intended to give the Statue to a local Church but, in 1616, yielded to the repeated entreaties of Father Gabriel Appremont, who wanted to have the image for the Capuchins of Gray. A special Chapel was richly decorated to receive it. The news soon spread in the region of Gray and the faithful flocked to pay their respects to the new Madonna, Our Lady of Gray.
Our Lady of Gray holds in her right hand a gleaming sceptre of gold that a parishioner donated in the year 1807. It was at this time that the Chapel – now a Basilica (see below), was undergoing reconstruction after the ravages of the French Revolution. There are also three semi-precious stones set in the front of the base of the statue that were given by grateful petitioners to the Blessed Virgin. Finally, the two gold crowns were created in 1909 on the occasion of the celebration of the coronation of the Statue of Our Lady of Gray.
St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) (Optional Memorial) “Golden Words,” Father and “Doctor of Homilies” of the Church
Dear Golden Words:
Bl Antonio di San Pietro
Bl Edward Powell
St Julitta of Caesarea
St Leopold Bogdan Mandic
Blessed Manés de Guzmán OP (c 1168-1235) Dominican Priest and Friar, Brother of Saint Dominic
St María de Jesús Sacramentado Venegas de La Torre (1868-1959) Nun and Founder of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Guadalajara
Bl Richard Featherstone
St Rufinus of Assisi
St Tatwine of Canterbury
St Terenzio of Imola
Bl Thomas Abel
St Ursus of Auxerre
Bl Vicenta Chavez-Orozco
Martyrs of Castelseras: Three Dominicans, two of them priests, one a novice, who were martyred together in the Spanish Civil War for refusing to renounce Christianity.
• Joaquín Prats Baltueña
• José María Muro-Sanmiguel
• Zosimo Izquierdo Gil
They were shot on 30 July 1936 at a farm house outside Castelserás, Teruel, Spain and Beatified on 11 March 2001 by Pope John Paul II.
Martyrs of Tebourba – 3 saints: Three girls martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know little else about them but the names – Donatilla, Maxima and Secunda. 304 at Tebourba in North Africa.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions of the Spanish Civil War from 1934 to 1939. Today’s list includes the following:
The Martyred Hospitallers of Spain and
Bl Alejandro González Blanco
Bl Eugenio García Tribaldos
Bl Guillermo Álvarez Quemada
Bl Juan Lanz Palanca
Bl Luis Herrero Arnillas
Bl Miguel Solas del Val
Bl Pablo Díaz de Zárate y Ortiz de Zárate
Bl Racardo Pla Espí
Bl Sergio Cid Paz