Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our Lady of Brebières (Notre Dame de Brebieres)

 The ancient madonna
statue known as Notre
Dame de Brebières (Our Lady of the Shepherds) was found by a shepherd in the fields near Albert France during the middle ages.  The shepherd's flock kept returning to the same green patch of grass day after day.  In an effort to drive them somewhere else, he struck the patch of grass with a hoe to dig it up, and to his amazement, found a statue of the Madonna and Child underneath!  It was taken to a local church where miracles were soon attributed to Our Lady's intervention.  During the French revolution the statue was saved from destruction by being buried in a barrel in the basement of a local shop.  It was returned to the Basilica of Notre Dame de Brebières in 1802.

There is another famous statue of the madonna and child at the Basilica, but this is not the one pictured on the medal.  The exterior statue of Notre Dame de Brebières became famous during World War I when it was damaged by a German mortar shell, but did not fall from her place.  She became known as "The Leaning Madonna" and rumor said the the war would end when she fell.  She did fall in the Spring of 1917, but unfortunately, the war did not end until November of that year.  The statue has been replaced with a copy and is once again a famous landmark for the region.

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