Nossa Senhora da Arrábida / Our Lady of Arrábida, Portugal (16th Century) and Memorials of the Saints – 17 April

Saturday of the Second Week of Easter +2021

Nossa Senhora da Arrábida / Our Lady of Arrábida, Portugal (16th Century) – 17 April:

The Shrine of Our Lady of Arrábida is popular with sailors and with all those who travel by water. It owes its beginnings to a miraculous occurrence during the 16th century.
At some time during this century, an English merchant named Hildebrand, was standing off the entrance to the Tague River when a great storm caught his ship and immediately plunged him into the dangerous waters at the mouth of the river. The ship was in great danger and the merchant, being a pious Catholic, knelt before a picture of Our Lady which he always kept on board his ship.
Soon after, he began praying a bright light was seen shining through the darkness and the ship came to rest in calm waters. When daylight came, it could be seen, that the vessel was safely anchored at the foot of a very steep wooded mountain.
Hildebrand went back below decks to kneel before the illustration of Our Lady in thanksgiving, when he found that the picture was no longer there. Since it had been from that direction of the mountain that he had seen the light, the night before, Hildebrand went on land and climbed the steep trail to the top.
There, on the very top of the mountain, amid the dense woods, was his picture of Our Lady, before which he had prayed in his hour of need. Greatly moved, Hildebrand finished his business as soon as possible, in England and returned to Portugal. He gave away his goods to the poor and settled down in a small hermitage at the top of the mountain, where the picture had indicated that Our Lady wished a Shrine to be.
The Shrine is there today and still popular with the local peoples and all sailors, fisherman and those who travel by water. Numerous votive tablets surround the picture, testifying to miracles worked by Our Lady of Arrábida for those who come to her in need. Sailors going on a long voyage usually go for a farewell visit on departure and return to give thanks when they come home.

The Chapel and Shrine of Our Lady of Arrábida
The Convent of Our Lady of Arrábida

The Ancient Statue of Nossa Senhora da Arrábida is in the Chapel of the Convent.

The original ancient Statue of Our Lady of Arrábida

It is a replica that is taken in procession and like the original, has a natural head of hair and a silver crown, a blue mantle over an embroidered dress bedecked with silver sequins. In one hand the Blessed Virgin carries the Baby Jesus who wears a similar crown to that of His Mother. In the other hand, Our Lady holds a silver scepter. Only half a meter tall, she has a profound physical and spiritual presence. The procession winds through several City streets, accompanied by a band, banners, and flags. A great crowd processes each year to pay homage to Senhora da Arrábida, or in thanksgiving for answered prayers and many climb the mountain barefoot.

There are fishermen who are going to fulfil vows made in moments when they feared that their vessels were sinking and women, accompanied by their children, who go in thanksgiving for their husbands and fathers, who came back safely through heavy storms. Still others speak of cures from serious illnesses or severe accidents and several miracles which are attributed to Our Lady of Arabida. Ave Maria!

Bl essed Andrés Hibernón Real OFM (1534-1602)

St Agia of Hainault
St Pope Anicetus (Died 168) 12th Bishop of Rome and Martyr Papacy 157-168
St Anthia of Illyria
St Athanasia of Aegina
St Bitheus
St Calocerus of Brescia
St Cogitosus
St Corebus
St Donan of Eigg (Died 617) Priest and Martyr
His Life and Death:
St Eleuterius of Illyria
St Elpidius of Melitene
St Eusebius of Fano
St Galdinus of Milan
St Gebuinus of Lyons
St Genocus
St Hermogenes of Melitene
Bl Idesbald of Dunes
Bl James Oldo
Bl Joseph Moreau
St Laserian of Leighlin
Bl Louis Leroy
Bl Luca Passi
St Perfecto of Córdoba
St Pusicio
St Robert de Turlande/Chaise-Dieu OSB (c 1000-1067)
His Life:
Bl Roman Archutowski
Bl Savina Petrilli
St Stephen Harding O.Cist. (1050-1104) Co-Founder of the Cistercian Order
About St Stephen:
St Ursmar of Lobbes
St Wigbert of Augsburg


Saint of the Day – 17 April – St Robert de Chaise-Dieu OSB (c1000-1067)

Saint of the Day – 17 April – St Robert de Chaise-Dieu OSB (c1000-1067) Priest, professed religious of the Order of St Benedict, Monk, Abbot, Apostle of Charity, Marian devotee.   He was of noble stock, was related to Saint Gerald of Aurillac (c 855–c 909) and was a descendant of St Caesarius of Arles (470-543).   He is best known for the establishment of the Benedictine Convent of La Chaise-Dieu (‘Home of God’) and for his total commitment to the poor.   He became a spiritual inspiration for Pope Clement VI (1291–1352) – whose own origin,s in the religious life ,were based at that Convent – and it was Pope Clement who confirmed the Canonisation of the Benedictine Abbot on 19 September 1351 in Avignon.   He is also known as Robert de Turlande, Robert of Casa Dei. Patronages – Abbots, Monks, Hermits, the Monastery of robert of chaise-dieu art

St Robert was born in 1000 to a family of Margeride nobility and became the Canon Count of Brioude.   His mother went into labour while in the forests near the castle she lived in and so gave birth to him there, locals perceived this as a sign that the child would become a hermit.

Robert’s education was overseen at the Church of Saint-Julien in Brioude where he later became its canon after he was ordained to the priesthood in 1026 – it was there that he founded a hospice for the poor of the region.   He later became a monk at Cluny and placed himself under the direction of Saint Odilo, (c 962–1049), the fifth Abbot of Cluny, also a a relative of St Robert.

Dissatisfied with canonical life and his relative, St Odilo, Robert wished to found a monastery.   After a pilgrimage to Rome, Robert went with two of his companions to Monte Cassino for further training in the Rule of St Benedict.

When he returned to France, upon reaching the bleak Livradois plateau he settled next to a chapel dedicated to Saint Vital and Saint Agricole to live in solitude with God.   He named this place ‘Casa Dei’ ‘House of God’, which later became known as La Chaise-Dieu.

In 1046 he and two of his companions received the permission of Pope Gregory VI to establish a hermitage and embark on a life of commitment to the poor.   It was Gregory VI who suggested that the trio consider the contemplative life as a greater method of achieving their aim of providing for the poor, this prompted him to move to Auvergne. He has been credited for the construction and the restoration of around a total of 50 churches in his robert engraving of chaise-dieu

Robert’s influence was such that at the time of his death in 1067, the Abbey and its dependent priories numbered some 300 monks.  He inspired others through his faith, he placed great emphasis on the cult of Mary and his charity through which he made the Abbey a welcoming and giving place – which became its enduring symbol and undoubtedly, his dynamism (as early as 1052 he had gained the protection of the King of France, Henry I and also that of Pope Leon IX).

st robert statue in chaise-dieu Church
Statue and shrine of St Robert at the Church of St Robert in the village names for him.

Robert died on 17 April 1067 and his funeral was set on 24 April due to the large numbers of people who desired visiting his remains.   Hundreds of miracles were reported to have been performed due to his intercession which started a local ‘cultus’ to him.   He was interred in his own convent, though most of his relics were burnt due to the Huguenots.   He was Canonised in 1070 and his tomb became a place of pilgrimage. So much so, that in 1095 before beginning his first Crusade from Clermont, Urban Pope II insisted on praying at Robert’s Tomb.header st robert of chaise-dieu.jpeg

There is a beautiful village called Saint Robert after our Saint.   It is rich in history and heritage and ranks among the most beautiful villages in France.   It is organised around its Romanesque church of the twelfth century (also named after St Robert and probably built by his Monks) and its narrow streets are lined with old shops and manor houses in stone.     To see wonderful images of this village, visit here: