Second Sunday after July 2

Notre-Dame de Bon Secours, Ham-sur-Heure-Nalinnes, Hainaut, Wallonia, Belgium, Nalinnes district

The story of Our Lady of Good Help, honored with extraordinary pomp on this day in the French Belgian town of Nalinnes, begins some 50 miles east in Péruwelz, near the French border.    

On Mount Péruwelz, a hill south of town, there had been a medieval devotion to Our Lady of the Oak Between Two Woods. By 1603, when Catholic pastor Martin Lebrun learned of the old shrine, the oak tree was dying and the statue it had sheltered was gone. From its wood, he made two statues of Our Lady. One he took with him on becoming abbot of St. Adrian's in Geraardsbergen in East Flanders, where it is known now as Our Lady of the Old Mountain. The other remained on Mount Péruwelz under the name Notre-Dame de Bon Secours, Our Lady of Good Help. The revived devotion surged when Péruwelz was spared during the plague of 1636. The following year, the first of a series of increasingly large churches was built on the holy hill.

In 1652, monks of the Order of the Holy Savior (Bridgettines) moved from Péruwelz to a hilltop in Nalinnes, bringing with them a small statue of Our Lady of Good Help (left). In 1685 the monks moved on. Their monastery and its chapel were demolished in 1725. People moved the altar and statue of Our Lady of Good Help into the Church of the Visitation in town. But twice, the statue disappeared from the church, to be found in a tree in the monks' old orchard on the Mount. Usually interpreted as a sign to build a chapel on the spot, this phenomenon of the miraculous return of a devotional object to its original place occurs in the history of many Marian shrines. In this case, clergy decided that the Virgin would be happier with the move of her statue to the church in the context of a solemn procession, which took place on the second Sunday after July 2. The statue has resided in the Church of the Visitation ever since. 

For many years, the Catholics of Nalinnes repeated the procession of Notre-Dame de Bon Secours on this day. In 1990, it was revived as a "Marche Folklorique" or costumed reenactment. Men and boys in Napoleonic uniforms and women and girls in long skirts conduct the statue to and from the Mount.

Sources include:

bullet"Marche Notre-Dame de Bonsecours de Nalinnes,"
bullet"ND de Bon Secours," Jeune Marche,
bullet"Visite guidée," Syndicat d'Initiative de Nalinnes,
bullet"Basilique Notre-Dame de Bon-Secours," Wikipédia,

Also commemorated this date:

bulletSanta Maria della Visitazione, Enna, Enna, Sicily, Italy. After a week in Montesalvo, the statue of Enna's patron processes by sea and land back to the cathedral.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly