Our Patron: OUR LADY OF PEACE

Our Lady of Peace

Our Parish Patron

July 9 is the feast of Our Lady of Peace

The original 500-year old statue of Our Lady of Peace enshrined in the Sacred Hearts Congregation’s convent chapel in Paris.

The story of Our Lady Queen of Peace begins with a certain Jean de Joyeuse, who  presented the statue as a wedding gift to his young bride, Francoise e Voisins. Excluding its pedestal, the figure stands only 11 inches tall, and is fashioned in the Renaissance style of the period. Mary is depicted as a dignified Grecian matron with the Christ Child on her left arm and an olive branch in her right hand.

The statue was known as the “Virgin of Joyeuse” and became a cherished heirloom of the Joyeuse family through the years that followed. Our account of this little Madonna is derived from scattered historical conjectures.

In the 1570s, the statue was passed down to Henri Joyeuse, a grandson of Jean de Joyeuse. After Henri’s young wife Catherine died early in their marriage, Henri made a significant personal decision that would determine the destiny of the “Virgin of Joyeuse.” Around the year 1588, he joined the Capuchin Franciscans in Paris and, under the religious name Brother Ange, faithfully served this religious community for the remainder of his life.

When Henri entered the monastery, he brought the family statue with him. And here with the Capuchin community she would remain for the next 200 years.

 

Through these two centuries this sacred figure was venerated and invoked by the people of the region. With the olive branch in her hand and the Prince of Peace on her arm, she was acclaimed Notre Dame de Paix … Our Lady of Peace! Her popularity increased. In 1657 the Capuchin community erected a larger chapel to accommodate the growing number of faithful who sought her intercession. That year, before a large crowd which included King Louis XIV, the papal nuncio to France blessed and solemnly enthroned the Blessed Mother’s statue.

The date was July 9. Pope Alexander VII would later designate this date for the Capuchin community to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Peace.

The French Revolution

The French Revolution, which erupted in 1789, added a major twist to the continuing saga of Our Lady of Peace. Amid the political upheaval the relentless attacks on the Catholic Church drove the Capuchin Franciscan monks from their monastery. They took with them their beloved Madonna to prevent her destruction by the ransacking rebels. Our Lady would quietly remain hidden throughout this chaotic period of France’s history.

 

When peace had been restored in the land, a certain pious woman, Madame Coipel, brought the statue out of hiding and entrusted it to her spiritual director, a priest in Paris. The priest gave the statue to a nun who, on May 6, 1806, enshrined it in a convent chapel in the Picpus district of Paris. The priest’s name was Father Marie-Joseph Pierre Coudrin and the nun was Mother Henriette Aymer de la Chevalerie. Together they were the co-founders, in the year 1800, of a community of sisters, brothers and priests — the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and the Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The members were also known more simply as the Picpus or Sacred Hearts religious.

The original statue of Our Lady of Peace was ceremonially crowned on July 9, 1906 by the Archbishop of Paris in the name of Pope Pius X. Every July 9 since then, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary have celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Peace. During the troubled years of World War I, Pope Benedict XV added Our Lady of Peace to the Litany of Loreto, which is a sacred prayer. 

In 1954, during the Marian Year, another honor was bestowed on her. Our Lady of Peace, along with Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, both from Paris, were privileged to join the assembly of “crowned Virgins” of the world in a celebration at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Today the little Madonna continues to stand tall in a high niche of an elaborate shrine in the convent chapel on Rue de Picpus (Picpus Street) in Paris.

 

In 1989, Pope St. John Paul II dedicated a basilica to Our Lady of Peace in Cote d'Ivorie, which is the largest place of worship in Africa. Also of note is the EDSA shrine in the Philippines dedicated to Our Lady, Queen of Peace. Lastly, in the apparitions of Our Lady at Medjugorie, Our Lady assumes the title "Queen of Peace" through which she will help her Son to return the world to God.