Friday of the Fourth Weekof Easter +2021
Onze Liewe-Vrouw van Afrika / Heilige Maria van Afrika / Notre Dame d’Afrique / Our Lady of Africa , Algiers (1876) (Feast) – 30 April:
North Africa, the land of Saints Monica, Augustine, among others, as part of Roman Empire began to become Christian in the 3rd century under Emperor Constantine. It remained Christian until the Arab invasions in later centuries. The French re-established themselves early in the 19th century.
The first Bishop, Bishop Dupuch, found it impossible to build a Church because the local population was hostile to the French. He went back to France for assistance. The Sodality of Our Lady in Lyon offered the Bishop a bronze statue of the Immaculate Conception ,with the understanding, that she would be the Protectress of both the Mohammedans and the natives. It was brought from France in 1840 and was entrusted to the Cistercian Monks of Staueli. Later, Cardinal Lavigiers, Founder of the White Sisters, enshrined it in the new Basilica at Algiers, where in 1876 the image was crowned. This bronze statue, very dark in colour, is known as Onze Liewe-Vrouw van Afrika / Heilige Maria van Afrika / Our Lady of Africa.
Pilgrims began to come to venerate the image where the lame, the blind and the crippled were miraculously cured and sailors came also, to beg for protection of their long and perilous voyages.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Africa, or Notre Dame d’Afrique, was eventually built, and is situated on a height overlooking the Bay of Algiers. It took fourteen years to construct in an attractive Neo-Byzantine style and was consecrated in the year 1872.
The Statue venerated in Algiers today, is this same bronze image, very dark in colour but with European features. The walls of the basilica are now covered with votive offerings testifying to the assistance the faithful have received from the Mother of Mercy.
At this and other North African Shrines the veneration given to Mary by Mohammedans is very marked. The full name of Cardinal Lavigiers’ congregation of White Sisters is Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa. There is an indulgenced prayer to Mary under that title for the conversion of the Africans on the apse: Notre Dame d’Afrique priez pour nous et pour les Musulmans (Our Lady of Africa, pray for us and for the Muslims.)
This feast commemorates the crowning of the Algiers statue.
St Marie Guyart of the Incarnation OSU (1599-1672) Ursuline Religious and Missionary ( Optional Memorial)
St Pope Pius V (1504-1572) Bishop of Rome, Ruler of the Papal States, Pope of the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, the Battle of Lepanto, the Holy Rosary and the Pope who declared St Thomas Aquinas as a Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
Wonderful blessed St Pius V:
St Adjutor of Vernon
St Aimo of Savigny
St Amator of Córdoba
St Aphrodisius of Alexandria
Blessed Benedict Passionei of Urbino OFM Cap (1560– 1625) Priest
St Dedë Plani
St Diodoro of Aphrodisias
St Donatus of Euraea
St Erconwald of London (Died c 693) Bishop, Monk, Abbot, Confessor, “The Light of London”
About this “The Light of London”:
St Eutropius of Saintes
St Genistus of Limoges
St Giuse Tuân
Bl Gualfardus of Augsburg
Bl Hildegard the Empress
St Joseph Benedict Cottolengo (1786-1842) Priest, Founder, Confessor, Apostle of Charity.
About St Joseph Cottolengo:
St Lawrence of Novara
St Louis of Córdoba
St Mariano of Acerenza
St Maximus of Ephesus
St Mercurialis of Forlì
St Peter of Córdoba
St Pomponius of Naples
St Quirinus of Rome
St Rodopiano of Aphrodisias
St Sophia of Fermo
St Swithbert the Younger
Bl Ventura of Spello
Bl William Southerne