Bonjour mes belles,
I hope that you all had a fabulous weekend. Ours was spent shifting stock into the new boutique and I have a feeling that is a lot more of this to come. We have two garages full of stock and this combined with a lot of boxes that arrived from a chateau in Normandy, is resulting in space issues and we thought that we would have trouble filling what we initially thought, was a large space.
One of the first items that I unwrapped was the fabulous antique benitier that you see in the photos above and below.
It is the first that I have ever come across from Notre Dame de la Delivrande and it is not an subject that I am familiar with so I searched on the internet and this is what I found......
It says that the first chapel of Our Lady of Deliverance was built by St. Regnobert in the 3rd century. The saint was the closest disciple and successor of St. Exupère, the first evangelizer and bishop of the area. It is said that while Regnobert and his parents were still Pagans, his mother and father would often go worship “idols” on Mt. "Phaunus", while their son preferred a little Christian chapel in the village. Latter place had been dedicated by St.
Exupère by turning a Pagan holy site into one consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Later, when St. Regnobert himself was bishop, he followed in the footsteps of his spiritual father and turned another important Pagan holy site into a sanctuary of the Mother of God, installing in it the original Madonna of Délivrande. – Again, they don’t sound like idol smashers, but like idol baptizers.
St. Regnobert’s 3rd century oratory was burnt and destroyed by Norman invaders in 830. But as it turned out later, the statue of the Madonna, though darkened by the smoke of the fire, had survived the attack and lay buried under the rubble for three centuries.
One day around 1150, a shepherd noticed that one of his rams kept withdrawing from the herd. He would go to a certain place and strike the earth with his feet and horns, digging until he’d tire and go to sleep on the spot. He wouldn’t eat during this time and yet remained the fattest of the sheep. Eventually the owner of the meadow recognized the strange behavior of the ram as a sign from Heaven and ordered the hole the animal had started to be excavated further. That’s how the statue of the Black Madonna was found. She was carried in a joyful and solemn procession to the parish church and installed there. But soon she miraculously appeared back at the place of her discovery. So a church was built for her on top of the ruins of the original Pagan holy site, where she insisted on dwelling.Only a couple of Romanesque arches remain of this church. It was replaced by the present basilica in the 19th century. There Our Lady of Deliverance rests on a pillar on which are carved angels pulling souls out of purgatory.
For more on the significance of the pillar
On the wall behind the Black Madonna is a case containing a set of hand cuffs. This commemorates a well attested 16th-century miracle concerning a merchant who found himself at sea as the prisoner on a Turkish ship. He prayed to Our Lady for Deliverance, promising he would make a pilgrimage to her shrine if she heard his prayer. Suddenly his irons came free from the wall of the ship and he was able to flee.
As promised, he went straight to the feet of Notre Dame de la Délivrande, with a seemingly irremovable iron ring still around his neck. As he prayed, the neck-piece fell to the ground with a clatter.
The Black Madonna of Deliverance’s feast day is celebrated on the Saturday following August 15th. The shrine and its pilgrims are taken care of by a special order of priests, the Missionaries of the Délivrande. They did a good job spreading her fame. In the late 19th century a bishop from Brittany, a neighboring region, brought a copy of the Black Madonna of Normandy to Senegal and founded a sanctuary in her honor, where she continues to be loved and revered by her African children.
There are not a lot of religious souvenirs from Delivrande remaining so this is a rare and interesting piece and the history makes it that little bit more special....
Back to the boxes I must go, très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x
p.s. I am happy to report that the fabulously french domain name is back up and running!