Onze Zoeten Dame van Den Bosch , Arras / Our Lady of Arras, Netherlands (1380) – 7 July:
The image known as the “Kind Mother” at Sint Hertogenbosch, or “Our Sweet Lady” of Den Bosch, as she is also known in the north Brabant Province of the Netherlands, was an object of derision when it was first heard of in 1380. It had been found dirty and damaged in a builder’s junk-yard, but it soon became celebrated for the wonders connected with it.
It was in 1380, when Saint John’s Cathedral was being renovated, that the Statue was found. An apprentice stone mason, was looking for wood for his fire when he uncovered a scruffy wooden Statue in the rubble. The Statue was in such poor conditio, that he didn’t recognise it as the Mother of God. The mason in charge somehow recognised Her, even without the Infant Jesus in her arms.
The Statue was placed on the Altar of Saint Martin, in the Cathedral,but the faithful did not like it and were upset that such a dilapidated Statue was exposed for veneration. It wasn’t long before one of the Priests attempted to remove the Statue but found that it had become so heavy, that he could not move it.
It was soon noted, though, that any who spoke disapprovingly of the Statue became weak, fainted, or had nightmares. One woman mocked the Statue, and became partially paralysed. That night, she had a vision of Our Lord, who ordered her to repair the Statue and honour it. The next day she was able to drag herself to the Cathedral to begin the work. At the end of each day, she was able to walk a little more.
It was an entire year later when a Brother Wout ,found the missing image of the Infant Jesus that berlonged to the Statue. Local children were using if for a toy but now the Statue was reunited and complete.
There were still some who ridiculed the Statue but now they fainted on the spot. Many experienced strange pains, headaches,and even indigestion. On the other hand, those who prayed before the Statue received a cure of their illnesses and otherwise were greatly favoured. Due to the presence of the Statue, the Church became a place of pilgrimage. Emperor Maximilian, Holy Roman Emperor, and King Fernando of Castile were among the notables who visited the miraculous Statue.
The Statue of Our Sweet Lady is of oak and is nearly four feet tall and is of an unusual pattern – Our Lady stands upright, while her forearms are extended at right angles to her body. The Child is balanced on her left hand and in her right she holds an apple.
The dedication of the new Church of Our Lady of Arras occurred in the year 1484 by Bishop Peter de Ranchicourt, who was Bishop of that City. The first Church which had been built at the site had been constructed by Saint Vaast, who had been the Bishop of Arras, in the year 542, using the liberal donations of the first Kings of France.
The desolation caused by the Calvinists began in 1566 and many Churches were plundered. The Kind Mother was hidden and saved from the destruction. Years later, when the City was seized by the Spanish, two Carmelites took the Statue to Bishop Ophovius, who gave it to one of the women of the parish to safeguard.
Eventually it was feared that the Statue of the Kind Lady would not be safe if it stayed were it was and so, it was decided to take the Statue to Brussels for safety. The Statue had to be hidden and was placed in a chest and smuggled through the Town gates. It was then taken to St Geradus’s Church in Belgium before being taken to Koudenberg Church in Brussels.
It wasn’t until the year 1810 when the Cathedral at Den Bosch was returned to the Catholics by Napoleon. Then, it took the prolonged efforts of Bishop J. Zwijsen, the Bishop of Hertogenbosh, to have the beloved Statue of Our Sweet Lady returned to his Cathedral in 1878. It was Crowned by the grateful Bishop in the name of Pope Leo XIII that same year and the Feast is 7 July with proper Mass and Office in certain places.
INTERESTING NOTE: Around 7% of the men in the Netherlands are called Maria. Yes, over 1/20 of Dutch men are named after the Virgin Mary. In 1954, a Marian Year, 17% of Dutch men where named after the Blessed Virgin. Incidentally, most of those men named Mary live in or around Den Bosch, and Mary is one of the Patron Saints of this beautiful City.
St Angelelmus of Auxerre
St Antonino Fantosati
St Apollonius of Brescia
Blessed Pope Benedict XI OP (1240-1303) Cardinal-Priest of St Sabina, Bishop of Ostia then of Rome, Dominican Friar, Prior Provincial of Lombardy prior to becoming the Master of the Order in 1296, Apostolic Papal Legate to Hungary and France, Teacher, Preacher, Writer and renowned Scholar with special emphasis on Biblical commentary. His Papacy began on 22 Ocober 1303 and ended at his death on 7 July 1304.
Bl Bodard of Poitiers
St Bonitus of Monte Cassino
St Carissima of Rauzeille
St Eoaldus of Vienne
St Ethelburga of Faremoutier
Bl Francisco Polvorinos Gómez
St Hedda of Wessex
Bl Joseph Juge de Saint-Martin
Bl Juan Antonio Pérez Mayo
Bl Juan Pedro del Cotillo Fernández
Bl Justo González Lorente
Bl Manuel Gutiérrez Martín
St Marcus Ji Tianxiang
Bl María del Consuelo Ramiñán Carracedo
Blessed Maria Romero Meneses FMA (1902-1977) “The Social Apostle of Costa Rica” and “The Female John Bosco” – a Salesian Religious, Apostle of Charity and Social Reform, Teacher, Catechist, establishing whole villages with work opportunities for the poor, Mystic and Apostle of the Holy Eucharist and of Mary, Mother of God.
Bl Marie-Gabrielle-Françoise-Suzanne de Gaillard de Lavaldène
Bl Oddino Barrotti
St Odo of Urgell
St Palladius of Ireland
St Pantaenus of Alexandria
St Pantænus (Died c 216) Father of the Church, Theologian, Philosopher, Teacher, Confessor and Defender of the Faith, Writer and interpreter of the Bible, the Trinity and Christology, |Missionary. Convert ofthe disciples of the Apostles. Head of the Alexandrian School of Learning – a famous pupil was St Clement of Alexandria.
Bl Pascual Aláez Medina
Blessed Peter To Rot (1912-1945) Martyr, Layman, Catechist and Defender of the Faith, Defender of the Sacrament of Marriage – (died c 1912 in Rakunai, East New Britain (part of modern Papua New Guinea) .
About Bl Peter:
St Prosper of Aquitaine
St Syrus of Genoa
St Willibald of Eichstätt (c.700 – 787) Bishop, Prince, Missionary
Martyrs of Durres – 7 saints: Also known as – Martyrs of Dyrrachium/ Martyrs of Durazzo. A group of seven Italian Christians who fled Italy to escape the persecutions of emperor Hadrian. Arrived in Dyrrachium, Macedonia to find Saint Astius tied to a cross, covered in honey, laid in the sun and left to be tortured by biting and stinging insects. When they expressed sympathy for Astius, they were accused of being Christians, arrested, chained, weighted down, taken off shore and drowned. We know little more about each of them than their names – Germaus, Hesychius, Lucian, Papius, Peregrinus, Pompeius and Saturninus. They were born in Italy and were martyred at sea c117 off the coast of Dyrrachium (Durazzo), Macedonia (modern Durres, Albania).