June 11

Our Lady of Mantara, Maghdouché, Sidon, South Governorate, Lebanon

While Jesus preached in Sidon, Mary is said to have waited here in the cave of Mantara ("awaiting" in Arabic). Emperor Constantine's wife Helena replaced Astarte's shrine here with one to the Holy Mother, donating to it an icon and altar furnishings. Three centuries later, after takeover by an intolerant Arab ruler, Christians sealed up the cave and fled Maghdouché. In 1683, descendants of the exiles returned to their homeland under the inclusive Prince Fakhreddin II. On September 8, 1721, when a goat fell through a gap in the porous limestone, its young herder made a rope from vine twigs, tied it to a tree, and followed the animal into the hole, but the rope broke. The boy fell into the darkness, where eventually he made out the golden glimmer of an icon of the Madonna and Child. On seeing the image, the Melkite Catholic clergy recognized it as St. Helen's icon. Christians now celebrate its rediscovery annually on September 8, Feast of the Virgin's Birth. A cathedral was added to the site in 1860 and a modern tower topped with a bronze statue in the 1960s. On June 11, 1911, some 400 people saw a silent, luminous apparition of the Madonna and Child near the cave. Our Lady of Mantara is invoked for the healing of eye diseases and the protection of children, so the shrine is a popular site for infant baptisms. (Information from en.wikipedia.org. Picture from www.churchesforjesus.org.)   

Also celebrated this date:

bulletNotre-Dame-du-Bon-Secours, Val-d'Izé, Ille-et-Vilaine, Brittany, France (Our Lady of Good Help). Current church blessed, 1884.
bulletNotre-Dame des Ardilliers, Saumur, Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire, France. First stone of chapel placed, 1634.
bulletNotre Dame de Pibèque, Castelnau d'Auzan, Gers, Midi-Pyrénées, France. Chapel dedicated, 1889, on site of old miraculous spring. Pilgrimage August 15.

bulletMadonna di Viganale, Montecrestese, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Piedmont, Italy. Festa commemorates fresco's bleeding June 11, 1651.
bulletMadonna dei Miracoli, Casalbordino, Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy. Apparition, 1576; painting crowned, 1899.
bulletSanta Maria della Purità, Oppido Lucano, Potenza, Basilicata, Italy. Statue crowned, 1939.
bulletMatka Boze Fatimska, Szczecin, West Pomerania, Poland. Pope John Paull II crowned statue, 1987.
bulletMother of God “Surety of sinners,” Karachev, Bryansk, Russia (Julian calendar May 29)
bulletVirgen de la Capilla, Jaén, Andalucia, Spain. Fiesta commemorates apparition June 11, 1430.
bulletSt Mary-le-Bow, London, England, UK. Church bombed in 1941, rebuilt, reconsecrated June 11, 1964.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly