March 4

Notre Dame des Victoires, Yaoundé, Cameroon

From 1922 until his death in 1943, French priest François-Xavier Vogt served as Apostolic Vicar of Cameroon. During World War II, he vowed to build a sanctuary to Our Lady if the conflict spared Cameroon – a vow fulfilled after he died. On March 4, 1952, Msgr. René Graffin placed the first stone of the future Cathedral of Our Lady of Victories in the capital city of Yaoundé. In 1955, the cathedral was dedicated; Yaoundé became a Catholic archbishopric, rather than a missionary vicariate, and Msgr. Graffin became its first Archbishop. After his death in 1961, the Church gave Yaoundé its first native archbishop, Jean Zoa, who in 1978 asked another native prelate, Engelbert Mveng, to create an image of Our Lady for the Cathedral. A Jesuit thinker, writer, and poet, who formulated an approach to spirituality and faith history incorporating African contributions, the artist based his mosaic on Revelation 12:1,5: "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars ... And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations ..." The Pan-African Congress of Catholic Laity has adopted the image as its logo. Our Lady of Victories Cathedral celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2002. (Information from Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Victoires de Yaoundé, cathedrale-ndv.org; and other sources; picture from "Timeline Photos," Engelbert MVENG, www.facebook.com.)   

Also commemorated this date:

bulletNotre-Dame de Bonport, Pont-de-l'Arche, l'Eure, Normandy, France. Abbey dedicated, 1191.
bulletNotre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle, Paris, France (Our Lady of Good News). Designated patron of the radio, 1936.
bulletMadonna della Neve, Bordolano, Cremona, Lombardy, Italy (Madonna of the Snow). Local cyclists took her as patron March 4, 1979, and open the biking season on the first Sunday in March with mass at her shrine. Pilgrimage on a Sunday near August 5.
 

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly