March 24

Notre-Dame de l'Epine, l'Epine, Marne, Champagne-Ardenne, France

On March 24, 1400, Annunciation Eve, so the story goes, a mysterious light attracted some shepherds to a thorn bush, where they found a painted stone statue of the Virgin and Child. In 1406, construction of a church began. Not completed until 1527, the lacy building is a Flamboyant Gothic wonder, towering over the fields of Champagne. Pope Pius X named it a Basilica Minor in 1914. The statue is also of the Gothic type, but with its fully clothed Child suggests an earlier date, c1300. Possibly it goes back to an earlier shrine at the site, believed to have been a pilgrimage location since the late 1100s. The feast of Our Lady of the Thorn is celebrated on May 8 with rosary and mass, and a diocesan pilgrimage on the following Sunday. (Information from the Sanctuary's site,, and other sources. Picture by Sébastien L. uploaded 2007-01-15 to "Photo of Notre Dame de l'Epine,"

Also commemorated this date:

bulletVigil of the Annunciation, Catholic Church
bulletSantissima Annunziata, Florence, Tuscany, Italy. Painting completed by unseen hands, 1252.
bulletAnnunziata, Amendolara, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy. Festa.
bulletNuestra Señora de la Encina, Ponferrada, El Bierzo, Léon, Castilla y Léon, Spain (Our Lady of the Corner). Third (present) church blessed, 1571.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly