November 13

Notre-Dame des Sept-Joies, Sion, Valais, Switzerland

Die Sieben Freuden Mariens, Altarpiece from Cologne, c1480, by Maître de la Sainte Parenté, now in Louvre (source: "Les Sept Félicités de la Vierge,"

In 1422, during an apparition of the Virgin, Italian Franciscan St. James of the Marches learned a new devotion. The "Franciscan Crown" is a rosary of seven decades, one for each of the Joys of Mary: the Annunciation, Visitation, Birth of Jesus, Adoration of the Magi, Finding in the Temple, Resurrection, and Ascension of the Lord. The Franciscan Order spread this devotion rapidly through Europe. A chapel of Our Lady of the Seven Joys was founded in 1445 in the Swiss village of Sembrancher. The Virgin of Seven Joys was especially loved in this area of southern Switzerland after the Battle on the Planta, November 13, 1475. A Savoyan army of 10,000 invaded the region, destroyed the church and villages of Savièse, and massacred those who couldn't escape. They threatened to attack the regional capital of Sion, but at the sound of the warning bell, the local militia arose en masse to defend the city. Quickly exhausted, they were about to surrender when a reinforcement of 4,000 poured through the mountain pass from Berne and Soleure, and soon helped defeat the Savoyards. 

Perhaps the defenders had prayed to Our Lady for such relief, for that evening, after the enemy's horses and arms paraded through Sion, Bishop Walter Supersaxo ordered "that in the future the anniversary of this triumph will be a holiday, that the feast of the seven joys of the Holy Virgin will be celebrated throughout the diocese, and on that day the penitential psalms and collects for the dead will be read, after having read the names of those who took part in combat." The Diocese of Sion celebrated the feast of Our Lady of the Seven Joys on November 13 until its removal from the diocesan calendar in 1915. 


bulletAdolphe Magnin, Pèlerinages aux sanctuaires suisses de la Sainte Vierge,
bullet"Notre-Dame des Sept-Joies," Paroisse St-Didier,

Also commemorated this date:

bulletVirgen de la Elevación, Santa Rosa, Ambato, Tungurahua, Ecuador. Apparition, 1695.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly