Our Lady, Queen of Peace

 

The History of the Title of our Blessed Lady as

‘Our Lady of Peace’


From The History of the Benedictiines of St Mary’s Priory, Princethorpe, by Sister Frideswide Stapleton OSB, Samuel Walker, Hinckley, 1930.


The feast of the Queen of Peace is kept on July 9. The original statue under this title is a wooden statue of nine inches high, the Divine Infant being held on the left arm of His Mother. Its antiquity cannot be called in question.

For many generations it was in the possession of the Joyeuse family, and then the Duke of that house became a Capuchin, Père Ange de Joyeuse took this precious relic with him to the convent of the fathers, Rue St Honoré, Paris. The Capuchins had then only a Hospice, but towards the end of the sixteenth century, Henri III of France built them a monastery on some land which formed part of the domain of the Duke de Joyeuse and the venerated statue was placed over the enclosure door. For sixty years there it remained, and the faithful brought offerings of candles and flowers. One young man of striking appearance went every Saturday to lay his flowers before Our Lady and then disappeared without anyone discovering who he was, It was believed that he was an Angel, and his loving attentions only ceased with the statue was removed into the Chapel of the Capuchins.

A lay brother, of humble origin, whose duty it was to make the habits of the Community, worked day by day near the little statue in the Porte, and form his garden he used to pluck the fairest flowers for it. On being questioned, why he chose to honour this statue above many others of artistic merit, he replied, that this little statue over the doorway touched his heart and that God would make use of it before long to work great wonders. In 1651 his prediction was accomplished. In July of that year, without any apparent cause, a chorus of children’s voices began singing the ‘Salve Regina’ before Our Lady of Peace. They were heard by those living near, and several people ran from their houses and joined in the chanting of the children. The news spread through the city, and the following day many sick went hither in the hope of being cured. Their faith was not misplaced, and the joyous songs were frequently interrupted by the cry of ‘a miracle, a miracle.’

The wonders worked were being talked over on all sides, and several religious asked to have the statue removed to a church where it could be honoured with greater pomp; but it would have been an injustice to deprive the Capuchins of their treasure. Père de Joyeuse, to whom it had originally belonged, and who all his life had attributed to the prayers he said before it the many graced he had received from our Lady, was buried in this church of the Capuchins, and it was decided to build a Chapel to Our Lady of Peace near his tomb, in which to place the statue. New prodigies were soon manifested around his tomb, for not only did Our Lady cure the sick, but took under her protection the unjustly accused.

It will be well to say a few words about the saintliness of Père de Joyeuse, as an incident has been handed down to us.

Madame Marie de Beauvilliers was named Abbess of the famous Benedictine Abbey of Montmartre in 1598, the Abbey much needed reform, and she undertook the task, aided by Père Ange de Joyeuse, as her Director. With an art only known to saints, he brought about the desired reform. What prayers he poured forth in the meanwhile to Our Lady of Peace! Even during the lifetime of Madame de Beauvilliers, so fervent had the monastery become that it was making foundations, and when, in 1630, one was made at Montargis, under a Prioress, the perpetual Abbess and first Superior, elected by a unanimous vote, was our Lady, Queen of Peace.

The chapel to which the statue of Our Lady of Peace had been transferred, became all too small for the increasing crowd of pilgrims who went to visit her. the daughter of the Duke de Joyeuse, Madame de Guise, came forward with an offer to build a larger Chapel in the same church of the Capuchins; she died before it was accomplished, but her daughter carried out her pious design, and the statue was transferred to its new shrine on July 9, its feast day.

On the French Revolution the statue was entrusted by the Capuchins to Mademoiselle Papin, sister of the great Penitentiary of Paris, and she retained it till obliged to leave the capital in 1792. Then she gave it to Mademoiselle Sophie de Luynes, formerly a Canoness of Riremont, in whose family the precious heirloom remained till 1806 when it was decided that is should no longer be the monopoly of a private family, but should be handed over to the sisters of the Sacred Hearts and of the Perpetual Adoration. A little altar was constructed for it in the Chapel of Picpus where the Queen of Peace continues to shower her graces on all who seek her aid even to the present day.