Q:Who is Our Lady of
|A: Our Lady of Hope at Saint-Brieuc /
Brittany (France) compared to other Marian shrines is of
relatively recent date. Situated on a hill overlooking the
town of Saint-Brieuc, the shrine was first dedicated to Saint
Peter, approximately from 1500 on. In 1717, the property was
added to the corporation of merchants associated as
confraternity under the auspices of the Immaculate
Conception. They built a new chapel on the hill of
Saint-Brieuc, and in 1719 dedicated it to Mary Immaculate. A
lively pilgrimage tradition developed. In 1724, Benedict XIV
endowed the sanctuary with rich indulgences.
During the French Revolution the statue
of Our Lady was decapitated, and in 1796 the chapel was
acquired by the then major of Saint-Brieuc, M. Prud'homme.
His son, Father Paul Prud'homme, was eventually to become the
soul of the re-baptized shrine and pilgrimage. In 1848, the
old confraternity changed its name to arch-confraternity of
Our Lady of Hope, and under the directorship of abbé
Prud'homme committed itself to the promotion of the now
shrine of Our Lady of Hope. The membership of the
arch-confraternity increased rapidly, and within months
counted more than one hundred-thousand associate members.
|The activities of this pious
association expanded beyond the diocese of Saint- Brieuc, and
in 1862, thanks to the enthusiastic support of Pius IX were
given universal scope. Meanwhile, the shrine of Our Lady of
Hope had become a center of religious zeal and ardent
devotion. The humble chapel was replaced in 1854 with a
splendid neo-gothic church, which in 1902 was elevated to the
rank of basilica. The miraculous image – there was a first
reported healing in 1848 – was crowned in 1865. There is a
canticle in honor of Our Lady of Hope composed by Father
Prud’homme in 1849.
The patronal feast is celebrated on September
Here are the stanzas in French:
Dont le nom est si doux,
Protégez notre France,
Priez, priez pour nous
- Souvenez-vous, Marie,
Qu’un de nos souverains
Remit notre patrie
En vos augustes mains.
- La France tout entière
A redit nos serments:
Vous êtes notre Mère,
Nous sommes vos enfants.
- La crainte et la tristesse
Ont gagné tous les coeurs;
La paix et le bonheur.
- En ces jours de souffrance
Sauvez-nous du danger,
Épargnez à la France
Le joug de l’étranger.
- Des mères en larmes
Raffermissez les coeurs;
Venez sécher les larmes,
O Mère des douleurs!
- Vous calmez les orages,
Vous commandez aux flots,
Vous guidez aux rivages
Les pauvres matelots.
- Apaïsez les tourmentes
Qui grondent dans les coeurs;
Des passions violentes
Éteignez les ardeurs.
- De la rive éternelle
Secondez nos efforts,
Guidez notre nacelle
Vers les célestes bords.
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Michael P. Duricy
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