January 10

marian calendar     january

Notre-Dame de Spéluque, Ampus, Var, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France

Built in thanksgiving for a victory over Saracen marauders in 973, St. Mary's chapel in The Plains area (Le Plan, near Ampus in Provence) soon attracted a community of monks. In 997, the landowners gave them the chapel and surrounding property for their priory. In gratitude for their ministry, a woman named Guisla funded a larger church, consecrated on January 10, 1090 to Beate Marie de Speluca, a somewhat mysterious name. It seems to mean "St. Mary of the Cave," suggesting that a thousand years ago there might have been a cave in this area of southern France where none is now: a Christian refuge from Saracens, some say; or a reference to St. Victor, who was buried in a cave. Others speculate that "speluca" was a corruption of "spissus locum," "dense place," in reference to the surrounding grove, possibly a site of pagan worship. In 1793, the revolutionary government closed the priory and sold the property. For 40 years the chapel served as a barn, until bought and restored for worship by a local family. The building of 1090 is still there, partly under a 1700s addition, cared for by the Friends of Notre-Dame de Spéluque and a resident community of contemplative Dominican nuns, the Fraternité Saint Charbel. On the second Sunday of September (the Sunday on or following the Feast of Mary's Nativity, September 8), Ampus celebrates the "Fête du Plan" with mass at the chapel, a procession for blessing of fields, and entertainment at a local farm.   

"Miraculous" 900s statue of the Virgin and Child in the chapel, from the diocesan site, "Notre-Dame de Spéluque - Ampus," Eglise Catholique du Var, www.diocese-frejus-toulon.com/
Other sources include:
Chapelle Notre-Dame de Spéluque, Wikipédia, fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapelle_Notre-Dame_de_Sp%C3%A9luque
Gilbert Giraud, July 10, 2009, "La Chapelle Notre-Dame de Spéluque," Tourtour, tourtour.village.free.fr/?La-Chapelle-Notre-Dame-de-Speluque
Jeannine de Ridder and Émilie Michaud-Jeannin, "Var, grottes et sanctuaires," Itinéraires archéologiques, www.itarkeo.com/var.php
"Notre-Dame de Spéluque," Le Toupin: La vie du village au jour le jour, villageampus83.blog.lemonde.fr/2006/09/06/2006_09_notredame_de_sp/

Also commemorated this date:

Madonna del Pianto, Rome, Italy

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly