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Our Lady of Boulogne, France

Commemorated on July 10
Our Lady of Boulogne, France Our Lady of Boulogne appeared on a sailboat in the seventh century and asks St. Ide to build a temple. In the thirteenth century it was a place of pilgrimage the size of Lourdes.


After the cathedral goes through various vicissitudes until it is completely destroyed during the French Revolution.
In 1820 a Benedictine abbot dedicates her life to rebuilding greening of its former splendor. His big moment was during the Great Return of 1943-1948 where 4 pilgrim images of Our Lady of Boulogne traveled 16,000 French parishes.
Boulogne-sur-Mer is in the Pas de Calais, diocese of Arras. This shrine is one of the three cathedrals of the diocese, along with that of Arras and St Omer, its history has been through the centuries a testimony of faith, conversion, reconciliation, peace.
The appearance of the Virgen del Mar in Bologna is recorded in manuscripts of the late Middle Ages. The story is simple, with two variants:
A very beautiful lady comes by boat from the sea in a small boat without sails, without oars cordless. The bourgeois who were asked their name appears. She replies that it is the advocate of sinners, a source of grace, source of mercy. Then post delivered them: "I want a divine light descend upon you and your city" .... Friends, do build a church in my name. " (source: Sbalchiero)
Around the year 636, in the time of King Dagobert, Saint Omer was bishop of this region. By late afternoon, the people of Bologna were gathered in an indoor chapel of reeds and branches, located in the upper part of the city, when the Mother of God appeared and told the faithful that they went to the bank where he expected them a wonderful visit.
They ran to the place appointed, and there found a boat without sails, without oars without masts on which the inn a Virgin of wood, about three feet high with Jesus which he held with his left arm. Both light flashed an extraordinary impression of calm, peace, happiness. (Source: website of the cathedral)
By 1100, the Countess of Boulogne Ide, who later become St. Ide, built a Roman church. The work lasted 200 years. The Gothic choir closes the early fifteenth century.
From the XII and XII centuries, pilgrims flocked to Bologna becomes a stage on the road to Santiago de Compostela. In Boulogne stop when they come from England or Belgium, or when rising from Spain or Italy.
There are numerous testimonies of pilgrims celebrated passage: Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, Saint Bernard, who came from the Middle East, around 1050, the bishop of Antioch and Mount Sinai.
Then in the thirteenth century, King Philip Augustus, St. Louis, Henry III of England, Francis I and many healings occurred through Our Lady of Bologna.
In 1553, Emperor Charles V sent raze Therouanne, 20 km. Bologna, where the bishop of the region was. The bishop comes to reside at Bologna and the church became a cathedral (seat of a bishop).
But the sixteenth century is the century of religious wars. In Bologna, the Huguenots no mercy against the cathedral, break the windows, burn the woodwork and especially trying in vain to break and burn the statue. This is finally thrown in a pile of manure and then a well.
Huguenot woman, who was very pious, secretly removed from the well and hiding in his attic where he remained for over 30 years before returning to the cathedral. Was in very poor condition, but then you start miracles and proves its authenticity.
In 1630, Monsignor Le Bouthiller rebuild the cathedral.
In 1789, with the revolution, churches and convents were declared state property. The furniture was sold and destroyed. The statue was burned in 1793.
The right hand, which had fallen earlier, is the only remnant of the original statue. (A piece is kept in a reliquary under the dome).
The cathedral serves arsenal, depot, and is then sold to foreign traders in the city, sold and demolished stone by stone.
From 1820, Abbot Haffreingue devotes his life to the construction of the cathedral, of which he is the architect, inspired by St. Paul's in London and the great Roman basilicas.
Agathon Haffreingue, Benedictine, a teacher in a school near the Cathedral, through its ruined walls, feels like a call to meet them.
With money donated by his family, purchased the land and the rubble of the cathedral and built a small chapel for College. A generous donor gives a sum of 48,000 francs, bending them a few months later.
At this time, public opinion is mobilized and funds from all over France and even England began to arrive.
Pilgrimages resume. Pilgrims come from Boulogne and Abbeville, Amiens, Belgium and England.
Donations flowed. The Emperor Napoleon III donated 1000F. An English lady donated the altar of the axial chapel.
The most notable donation is the high altar, offering a Royal Princess Torlonia, with 147 different types of marble from around the world. The cost in 1860 was half a million francs and artists worked for over 10 years.
Its campus employs 160 construction workers whose jobs he joined with the greatest pleasure. She wanted to be able to see from England and it was as high permanent prayer to heaven by the union of the Protestant and Catholic communities in one church.
The Haffreingue abbot was very modest. Outside the cathedral, in front of the court, you can read under the central portal "A domino factum est": this is the Lord's work.
The axial chapel is 1st Haffreingue's father built. In the background, Our Lady, crowned, standing in the boat, surrounded by two angels. These two angels accompany the statue on arrival in port.
The windows: left, San Luis knees in front of Our Lady, on the other side, St. Ide and her 3 children: Eustaquio III, Godefroy de Bouillon and Baldwin of Jerusalem, before the start of the crusade in 1096.
The ship consists of 6 sections, ending in domes, once decorated with frescoes. In 1921, the ship collapsed, it was rebuilt, but the frescoes were not repainted.
The mausoleum of Bishop Haffreingue is the work of a regional sculptor, Mr. Duthoit.
The carved oak pulpit comes from a convent in the lower part of the city. It was donated by Mr. Bouthors who bought it during the revolution.
08/24/1866 The Cathedral consecration took place in presence of 6 bishops and 200 priests. More than 10,000 pilgrims from France, Belgium, England were present, including the London Times devoted several columns to this event.
From 1943 to 1948 four reproductions of the Virgin of Bologna, also called "Our Lady of the Great Return", each mounted on a car, they traveled 120 000 km. throughout France visited parishes and 16,000 caused a great revival of faith, prayer and conversion in its path.
The statue of the Virgin carried boat was accompanied by a release request from France that makes complete sense in the context of the end of World War II.
In 2004, the diocesan pilgrimages to June and August, the Chariot of the Great Return was in Lourdes during the Diocesan Pilgrimage from 21 to 28 June, with the elderly, and from 4 to 11 August with young people.
The slogan "BIG RETURN", from 1943 to 1948 was the "reconciliation between peoples." That matches the theme of Lourdes in 2004: "The Grotto Is not Peace which can accomidate ... Rock, brotherhood, which is their foundation!




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