February 21

marian calendar     february

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe van Gratie, Anderlecht, Brussels, Belgium

In 1443, Pierre Van Assche planted a linden and two hawthorn trees on a hilltop in the Scheut area (now a borough of Anderlecht) along the road to Brussels. To one of these trees (which tradition sometimes transforms into an oak) the old farmer affixed a wooden statuette of the Virgin and Child. In 1449, on the night before Pentecost, people saw a glow coming from the place, and so began the pilgrimage to Our Lady of Grace. On February 21, 1450, Charles the Bold, then Count of Charolais, laid the foundation stone for a chapel and heardhttp:// the first mass there. The Gothic church of the Mother of Grace was consecrated in 1531. Damaged and rebuilt during the Reformation, the chapel was sold under the French Republic around 1795. The little statue survived and now occupies the chapel of Notre Dame de Grāce in the Collegiate Church of Sts. Peter and Guy in Anderlecht. It goes through the streets in the reenacted medieval procession of St. Guy on the Saturday closest to his feast day, September 12. (Information from "Histoire des Chartreux," Scheutbos, www.scheutbos.be/pages/histoire/histoire-des-chartreux.html. Photo from Yvonne Yiu, "Discipline or Security? An analysis of the power mechanisms used to regulate the late medieval pilgrimage to Notre-Dame de Grāce at Scheut near Brussels," Peregrinations, 2:1, peregrinations.kenyon.edu.)   
 

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly