Notre-Dame de Ardilliers de Saumur / Our Christmas Novena to the Christ Child, Day Eight, Notre-Dame de Ardilliers de Saumur / Our Lady of Ardilliers, Saumur, Anjou, France (1454) and Memorials of the Saints – 23 December

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child, Day Eight:

Notre-Dame de Ardilliers de Saumur / Our Lady of Ardilliers, Saumur, Anjou, France (1454) – 23 December:

Our Lady of Ardilliers, located at Saumur, in Anjou, France. Its name is illustrious throughout France, as well on account of the concourse of people who were attracted there, as from a fountain which cured several maladies. This image represents Our Lady of Pity, who holds in her arms her dead Son, whose head is supported by an Angel.
Notre Dame Ardilliers has a Statue, a fountain and a Church dedicated to Our Ladye.
In 1454 a farmer, while ploughing his field, discovered in the “ardille” ( meaning “clay” – a word which will give its name, according to the legend, to Notre-Dame-des-Ardilliers) a stone Statuette of about thirty centimeters high representing a Pietà . The peasant took it home. On two occasions he discovered the Pietà had returned to its place of discovery, near a fountain already known for its beneficial virtues. From then on, devotions began. It was placed in a niche under a stone arch at its place of discovery.
Jean Olivier , Bishop of Angers , laid the foundations of the Notre-Dame-des-Ardilliers Chapel in Saumur on1 August 1534 in the presence of Jean de Castagnier, Mayor of Saumur and Guillaume Bourdeau, Alderman. Msgr Gabriel Bouvery , Bishop of Angers, Consecrated the new Church on 30 July1553
Crowds of people were attracted to the Shrine and its name was illustrious throughout that country, for there Our Lady cured many maladies.
The Sanctuary attained magnificent proportions as successive additions were made, notably by Cardinal Richelieu. Devotion to Our Lady became widespread as many miracles occurred.
Mary’s clients at Ardilliers number such illustrious persons as Louis XII, Anne of Austria, Marie de Medici, Henrietta of England, Cardinal Richelieu and others. The Founders of the Sulpician Company went there for inspiration; Saint Louis de Montfort begged blessings and Mary’s help on the Institute of the Fathers of the Holy Ghost and the Daughters of Wisdom he was about to found.
Cities placed themselves under the protection of Notre-Dame des Ardilliers and promised annual pilgrimages. During the Revolution the Church and Shrine were despoiled of their treasures but not destroyed and the image was left unharmed. In 1849 the ravages of time necessitated the renovation of the Chapel and pilgrimages became more frequent than ever.

And today? We hardly speak of the Pilgrimages to Ardilliers but guided tours of the remarkable architectural continue.  In July and August, except on Sundays, the Association Patrimoine Religieux en Saumurois, in partnership with the City of Saumur, provides guided tours of the Notre-Dame des Ardilliers Chapel. We are very saddened aren’t we, that this former great Marian Shrine has become today, above all a tourist destination. So why shouldn’t one of our readers launch a Pilgrimage to Notre-Dame des Ardilliers. This would justify its second name, Notre-Dame de Bon Retour, Our Lady of Good Return.

St John of Kanty/Cantius (1390-1473) (Optional Memorial) Priest, Theologian, Scholastic Philosopher, Physicist, Teacher, Confessor, Philosopher, Apostle of Charity – Patron of Poland and Lithuania
His Feast Day is 20 October (Poland, General Roman Calendar 1770–1969)
Full Biography:
AND more:

St Besa of Egypt
Bl Bincema
St Dagobert II of Austrasia
Bl Epifanio Gómez Alvaro
St Frithbert of Hexham
Bl Hartmann of Brixen
Bl Herman of Scheda
Bl James Aymerich
St Ivo of Chartres (c 1040-1115) Bishop, Confessor
St John Cirita
St John Stone
St Joseph Cho Yun-ho
St Mardonius of Rome
St Mazota of Abernethy
St Migdonius of Rome

Blessed Nicolás Factor-Estaña OFM (1520-1583) Priest of the Order of Friars Minor, Painter, Preacher, Ascestic, Spiritual Director.
His Life:

St Servulus (Died c 590) Layman, Beggar, paralysed by Palsy from birth. Saint Servulus was a perfect model of submission to the divine Will; it would be difficult to offer a more consoling example to persons afflicted by poverty, illnesses and the other miseries of life. It is Saint Gregory the Great who narrates for us his edifying story.
St Servulus’ Life of devotion:

Martyred Dominicans of Santander – (9 beati) – Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Bernardino Irurzun Otermín
• Blessed Eleuterio Marne Mansilla
• Blessed Eliseo Miguel Lagro
• Blessed Enrique Cañal Gómez
• Blessed Enrique Izquierdo Palacios
• Blessed Epifanio Gómez Alvaro
• Blessed José María García Tabar
• Blessed Manuel Gutiérrez Ceballos
• Blessed Miguel Rodríguez González
• Blessed Pedro Luís y Luís

Martyrs of Crete – (10 saints): A group of ten Christians who died in the persecutions of Decius. They were –
• Agathopus • Basilides • Cleomenes • Eunician • Euporus • Evaristus • Gelasius • Saturninus • Theodulus • Zeticus They were martyred in 250 on the island of Crete.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 23 December – Saint Servulus (Died c 590)

Saint of the Day – 23 December – Saint Servulus (Died c 590) Layman, Beggar, paralysed by Palsy from birth, – born in the 6th century in Rome, Italy and died in c 590 of natural causes.

Saint Servulus was a perfect model of submission to the divine Will; it would be difficult to offer a more consoling example to persons afflicted by poverty, illnesses and the other miseries of life. It is Saint Gregory the Great who narrates for us his edifying story:

“We have seen under the portico of the Church of Saint Clement, a poor man named Servulus, who is known to all the people of Rome as to Us. He was deprived of all the goods of this world; a long illness had reduced him to a pitiful state. From his youth he was paralysed in all his members. Not only could he not stand up but, he was unable to rise from his bed; he could neither sit down nor turn himself from one side to the other, nor bring his hand to his mouth. Nothing in him was sound except his eyes, ears, tongue, stomach and entrails.

This unfortunate man, who had learned the mysteries of religion, meditated unceasingly on the sufferings of the Saviour and never did he complain. He was surrounded by the loving care of his mother and brother. Neither the mother nor the children had ever studied, yet the paralytic had pious books bought for himself, in particular the Psalms and the Holy Gospels and he would ask the religious who came to visit him on his cot, to read from them to him. In this way he learned these books by heart; he spent days and part of the nights in singing or reciting them and meditating them and he constantly thanked the Lord for having taken him to be a victim associated with the pains and sufferings of Jesus Christ.

Many alms came to the little house of the paralytic, to such an extent that he became rich in his poverty. After having taken from these what was necessary for his subsistence and that of his mother, he gave the rest to the indigent, who often assembled around him to be edified by his words and his virtues. His bed of pain was a pulpit of preaching, from which he converted souls.

When the time came which was decreed by God to reward his patience and put an end to his painful life, Servulus felt the paralysis spreading to the vital parts of his body and he prepared for death. At the final moment, he asked those in attendance to recite Psalms with him. Suddenly he cried out: “Ah! Don’t you hear that melody resounding in heaven?’” At that moment his soul escaped from his body, which, until his buria,l gave forth a marvellous fragrance.”

St Gregory the Great concludes the account he gives of Servulus, in a sermon to his people, by observing that the behaviour of this poor sick begger loudly condemns those who, when blessed with good health and fortune, neither do good works nor suffer the least cross with tolerable patience. He speaks of him as one who was well known both to himself and his hearers and says, that one of his monks, who was present at his death, used to speak of the fragrant smell which came from the dead beggar’s body. Servulus was a true lover of God, not careful and troubled about his own life but solicitous that God be honoured and all that he could suffer for this end, he looked upon as reward. By his constancy and fidelity, he overcame the world and all bodily afflictions.

St Servulus was buried at Saint Clement’s Church, Rome, the place that had been his habitual place of prayer and veneration and where, so many came to pay their respects to him and learn from his holy and learned words. From the porch of this Church he was called to heaven. His feast is annually celebrated in that Church on the Coelian Hill outside of which he was wont to lay.