Notre-Dame de la Délivrande, Morne-Rouge, Saint-Pierre, Martinique
||In 1851, Étienne-Jean-François Le Herpeur, rector of the pilgrimage
church of Notre-Dame de la Délivrande in Douvres, Normandy, became the
first Catholic bishop of Martinique, a French island in the eastern
Caribbean. During a storm at sea en route to his new post, Msgr. Le
Herpeur vowed that if saved he would build a chapel to Our Lady of
Délivrande and consecrate his diocese to her. On March 25, feast of the
Annunciation, the storm subsided.
Just as his party arrived, an epidemic of yellow fever struck. The
group took refuge in the heights of the Saint-Pierre district, in a wooded
and sparsely settled area at the foot of Mount Pelée. To honor his vow,
the new bishop chose to build a sanctuary there at a place called Morne
Rouge (Red Hill), which resembled his native land. On December 13, 1851,
he issued a decree establishing the "diocesan shrine to Our Lady of
Délivrande." From a Norman artist he commissioned a statue of the
Virgin, which reached Martinique in February 1853. The wooden church was
completed in time for the statue's coronation on December 8, 1868.
When the shrine grew larger, evolving from a modest chapel into a true
church with nave, transepts, and bell tower, the Holy Spirit Fathers came
to direct it. In 1891, a terrible cyclone devastated the town and
sanctuary, leaving nothing but ruins, but the statue remained intact.
Thanks to the work of volunteers, a new stone church was completed in
But on August 30, 1902 Mount Pelée erupted. The town of Saint-Pierre was
completely destroyed, without only 3 of 30,000 people surviving. The church of
Notre-Dame de la Délivrande lost its roof and all its furnishings except the
statue. Rebuilding took until 1912. Preceded by a novena, an annual pilgrimage
commemorates the eruption and the continuing presence of Our Lady in Martinique.
|Abbé Patrick-Alexis, "Les homélies du mois de aout,"
Épi gràs Bondyé, www.premiumwanadoo.com/ephata/2005_2006_homelies-aout.htm|
|"Martinique," Marie de Nazareth,
|"L'église Notre-Dame de la Délivrande du Morne-Rouge,"
Martinique Découverte, www.martinique-decouverte.com/noseglises/page30.html|
|"98: Martinique: ND de Délivrance," Notre
Dame de France, la Vierge Pélerine, notre-dame-de-france.com/fr/98-martinique-nd-delivrance|
Also commemorated this date:
|Notre-Dame du Suffrage, Brussels, Belgium (Our Lady of Intercession).
Confraternity established at Church of the Madeleine, 1697.|
|Notre Dame des Dunes, Dunkirk, Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.
Procession & blessing of sea Aug. 15; annual novena Aug. 30 - Sep. 8.|
|Maria im Elende, Bleicherode, Nordhausen, Thuringia, Germany. "Church
of Roses" completed on apparition site, 1419.|
|Madonna del Boschetto, Camogli, Genova, Liguria, Italy (Madonna of the
Grove). Painting crowned, 1818, at 1518 apparition site.|
|Nuestra Señora del Perdón, Cizur, Pamplona, Navarre, Spain, Astráin
district. Romería to mountain location of original chapel.|
|Our Mother of Africa, Washington, D.C., USA. Chapel in Basilica of the
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception dedicated, 1997.|