Basilica of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, Paris

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Template:Refimprove thumb.]] Located at 6, rue Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, Notre-Dame-des-Victoires is one of ten minor basilicas located in the Île-de-France region of France. The closest Metro station is 'Bourse'.


In 1619 the Discalced Augustinians (colloquially referred to as the "Petits Pères") established their convent, Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, on three hectares of land they had purchased by the bourse (market) of the city, located at the intersection of the Place des Petits-Pères and Rue de la Banque. Notre Dame des Victoires is the former chapel of the Augustinian fathers (Petits-Pères), built in the years 1629-1740.

On December 8, 1629 the foundations were blessed by the Archbishop of Paris, Jean-François de Gondi. The next day, King Louis XIII himself laid the cornerstone in the presence of the Court's 'seigneurs' and the city's officials. The construction was funded by King Louis on the condition that it be dedicated to his victory over the Protestants at La Rochelle, which he attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Mother.<ref name=eymard>"Notre-Dame des Victoires", Eymardian Places</ref>

The first church being too small, reconstruction commenced in 1656 according to the plans of Pierre Le Muet. Libéral Bruant, Robert Boudin, and Gabriel Leduc oversaw this work. The new church, not yet completed, was consecrated in 1666. Work was finalized in 1737 under the supervision of Sylvain Cartaud. He oversaw the expansion of the nave, the construction of the façade as well as the construction of the transept's striking spherical roof.

The sanctuary is graced by several paintings by the French painter Louis-Michel van Loo (1707–1771).<ref name=eymard/>

A large garden and a double-cloister existed at the site until the Revolution. At that time, they were confiscated and fell into disuse. The church was converted into the home of the national lottery and a stock exchange during the Directory,<ref name=history>"An Historical Background", Basilique Notre Dame des Victoires</ref> but was returned to the practice of worship under the First Empire.

The remnants of the monastery were destroyed in 1858 and a police station as well as an office for the mayor of the arrondissement were constructed in their place.

19th century

After 1809 Notre Dame des Victoires became a parish church, but as it was located in a business area, it had few parishioners. Abbot Charles Desgenettes thought he had failed in his ministry and wanted to resign his functions in Our Lady of Victories when on the 3 December 1836, he received what he believed to be interior locutions from the Blessed Virgin directing him to consecrate the parish to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Fr. Desgenettes subsequently founded the Confraternity of Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners. In 1838 it was raised to the status of an archconfraternity by Pope Gregory XVI.

Many of the famous French Catholics of the period maintained a connection to the Church. These included Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne, Ven. Francis Libermann and the refounders of the Holy Ghost Fathers and a whole host of Foreign Missions seminarians and priests, including St. Theophane Venard. Blessed John Henry Newman went there to give thanks for his conversion, which had been the subject of prayer there. Later, the young Therese Martin prayed before the same statue for Our Lady's help in realizing her vocation.

Notre-Dame des Victoires was elevated to basilica status in 1927.<ref name=eymard/>

Ex Voto

Notre-Dame-des-Victoires is famous for the ex voto offerings left there by the faithful.<ref name=history/> Over 10,000 devotional plaques, silver and gold hearts, as well as military decorations, have been left at the Basilica. The faithful leave these items at the Basilica in thanksgiving for favors believed to have been received from the Blessed Mother. The Basilica once served as a stational church along the pilgrimage route to Compostela. As such, many of the ex voto offerings have been left by faithful unable to make the long journey to the Shrine of Compostela itself.

Ex Voto Gallery



External links

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