A visit to the Shrine of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, in Rochefort-du-Gard

FR - Overlooking the small Gard commune, the shrine of Rochefort-du-Gard stands on the site where a small chapel was built in 798 during Charlemagne's time, dedicated to Notre Dame de Victoire "to honour the action of his father Pepin the Short, conqueror of the Muslim Arabs".


Sanctuaire notre dame rochefort du gard l esplanade


After taking Avignon, the Franks entered Septimania. They defeated the Muslims twice,

at Montfrin and on the Signargue plateau, near Rochefort-du-Gard (Umayyad invasion of Gaul, source).



A brief history of the shrine

Situated around thirty kilometres from Uzès and only 6 from Tavel the shrine, like many other religious buildings in the region, spreading from Valence to Uzès, suffered devastation during the French Wars of Religion ("a series of civil wars between French Catholics and Protestants (called Huguenots) from 1562 to 1598", source).

However, when the Edict of Nantes was signed in 1598, it became "a regional example" of the "Catholic reform", in opposition to the Protestant reform. Pilgrimages in devotion to the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, not to mention several miracles dating from this period, gave the shrine a special place among the faithful. Taken care by the Benedictines from 1637, it is to them that we owe its current architecture, the final touches to which were added around 1696, and completed in 1709.


Notre dame de grace rochefort du gard l esplanade de la madone



"Anne of Austria (Queen of France from 1615 to 1643 by marriage to King Louis XIII, source)

was particularly fond of the shrine dedicated to Notre Dame de Grace...

When she was about to die, she asked that this place be prayed to for the royal family in perpetuity...

The most Christian King of France, Louis XIV, in his filial affection for Anne of Austria, his pious mother,

founded, for the relief of the august and late queen, six masses to be celebrated each year, in honour of the King of kings,

and of Our Lady of Graces, in this sanctuary and on this holy mountain. The year of the Lord 1666" (commemorative plaque at the entrance of the church).



However the revolution of 1789 marked a new stage in the life of the shrine. Stripped of its treasures, particularly after the looting of 1793, it became national property. Although a new pilgrimage took place in 1815, it was not until "the arrival of 3 Marist fathers in 1846" that it found a new status, a new impetus. After being "the property of the hospice of Uzès between 1804 and 1831", it was extended to include a hostel (1855/1861), a Way of the Cross, road access and a monumental calvary, blessed in 1869.



Among the most assiduous pilgrims was Father d'ALZON (1810-1880), Vicar General of the Diocese of Nîmes

and founder of the Augustinians of the Assumption, of a college in Nîmes and many other works...

He came to Rochefort many times between 1846 and 1875, either by himself or accompanied by students from Nîmes.



After the Benedictines and the Marists, the shrine was entrusted to the care of charitable institutions until 2006, when the diocese took over its management. Today, the team consists of "a lay director, a priest, a deacon, a couple and many volunteers".

The church features a painting by the painter Nicolas Mignard, known as Mignard d'Avignon, the Coronation of the Virgin in the choir and a number of votive offerings.

The right address: Sanctuaire de Rochefort-du-Gard, on the road to Tavel. Care for a visit? Guided tours are available in summer at 10 a.m. and from September to June, every Sunday at 3.30 p.m.

Source. More information on Rochefort-du-Gard.

Postcard L'esplanade devant le sanctuaire, featured in the book Sanctuaire de Notre Dame de Rochefort, Eugène Trinquier, 1852 (source).

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