April 15

marian calendar     april

Notre Dame de la Divine Miséricorde, Allada, Atlantique, Benin

Isidore de Souza, Archbishop of Coutenou in West Africa, conceived the idea of a pilgrimage center dedicated to Our Lady of the Divine Mercy and entrusted the undertaking to the Franciscans of the Immaculate. They chose the site near Allada because of its central location in the diocese and easy access by road and train. Since 1992, a big annual pilgrimage takes place on the Sunday after the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8. But construction of the church complex did not begin until 2001. René Derlin Zinsou of Benin provided most of the funding in memory of his wife, Celuta Benjamin of Guyana. The shrine was consecrated on April 15, 2007, on the Sunday after Easter, Feast of the Divine Mercy. The statue of Our Lady over the main altar revives the imagery popular among Misericordia confraternities in the 1400s but discouraged during the Catholic Counter-Reformation, showing Mary protecting people under her mantle. Instead of clerics or burghers, this Mother of Mercy enfolds children of the races of the world. (Information and picture from the Franciscans of the Immaculate, www.mediatrice.net.)

Also commemorated this date:

Notre-Dame de la Peinière, Saint-Didier, Ille-et-Vilaine, Brittany, France. Chapel blessed, 1900.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly