Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Statue Story
The statue I sculpted of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament has a unique history steeped in a tradition of over 800 years.
A statue was created for the Joyeuse family in France in the 12th century as a gift for a fiancée. The statue is of Our Lady holding the child Jesus in her left hand. Jesus is holding the world in one hand and in a cross in His other hand. Mary is holding an olive branch in her right hand. This 11 inche statue of Our Lady of Peace is associated with many healings attributed to the intercession of Our Lady.
In the 1500’S the statue was given to Henri de Joyeuse. The deeply religious duke built an oratory for the statue near his chateaux on the Rue Saint Honore. Shortly afterwards, he donated some of his land to the Capuchin Fathers, sacrificing even his oratory. The statue was then placed on a rich platform above the gateway of the monastery. Here it remained for 70 years, with a lamp burning before it night and day.
According to the memoirs of the time (1630), a brilliant light was seen for several years shining around the statue during the night. This phenomenon attracted vast crowds. Pilgrimages were made and public prayers said before the statue. On July 21,1651, voices of many children were suddenly heard singing the Salve Regina at the site. The news of this event spread throughout Paris: processions were organized; the sick were brought to Mary. The people’s devotion is said to have reached the peak when several miraculous cures were recorded. The most sensational was the cure of Louis XIV in 1658.
In light of these prodigies, the Capuchins deemed it wise to remove the celebrated statue to safety. On September 24, 1651, the little statue was removed from its humble place and solemnly installed in the Capuchin convent chapel. It was placed in a place of honor near the tomb of Henri de Joyese. Henri upon the death of his wife became a Capuchin monk in 1588.
In the late 1600s, to satisfy the great devotion of the people, it was decided that a larger chapel for the statue was needed. Mlle. De Guise, a descendent of the Joyeuse, provided funds for this endeavor to accommodate the crowds who flocked to implore Our Lady’s aid. When the chapel was ready, all Paris assembled to witness the solemnity of the transition. On July 9, in the presence of the King and Queen of France, and surrounded by an immense gathering of Church dignitaries and faithful, the Papal Nuncio officiated, and carried the statue himself to it’s new chapel.
There the statue continued to be honored until 1790, when the religious persecution of the French Revolution drove the Capuchin fathers out of their monastery. The statue was given for safekeeping to Mlle. Papin, who in turn left the statue to the Duchess of Luynes, Mlle. Pauline-Sophie d’Albert. Madame Coipel received the statue upon the death of her sister, Mlle. Papin in 1800. Within years, her daughter–in-law, the young Mme. Coipel inherited the statue. In 1804, Mme. Coipel thought that the best place to keep such a precious statue was in the chapel of a religious community. She knew Father Coudrin, co-founder of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and Perpetual Adoration, she suggested to him that the statue be entrusted to the care of the Sisters of the Order.
Accordingly, on May 6, 1806, the renowned statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace became property of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary of Perpetual Adoration. The famed statue was placed in the chapel of the Motherhouse at Paris, where the good Sisters still keep and honor it as a most precious gift.
During all these years, only once have they feared for the safety of their treasure. It was during the troubles days of the Commune, in 1871 where the populace, incited by atheistic leaders, invaded churches, chapels, and convents, destroying every emblem of religion that they could find. The chapel of the Queen of Peace became their target. The Superior, with tears in her eyes, begged them to spare their beloved shrine, and miraculously the rabble went away, leaving the statue unharmed. When the tempest of the persecution subsided, the statue was again returned to its usual place and honored and venerated by devout souls.
On July 9, 1906, his Eminence Cardinal Amette, Archbishop of Paris, solemnly crowned the statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace, in the name of Pope Pius X, the pope of the Eucharist. He was given that name because he made it possible for children to receive the Eucharist.
Pope Pius X’s successor Pope Benedict XV put the title Our Lady Queen of Peace in the Litany of Loreto. This made the title an official name for Mary. At that time on May 5, 1917 Pope Benedict XV asked the world to begin a novena to Our Lady Queen of Peace to heal the world from World War I and to pray for peace in the world.
It was within this novena to Our Lady Queen of Peace that Our Lady came to Fatima on May 13, 1917. This is the feast day of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament is the chosen patroness of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. Her feast day is celebrated on May 13, the date on which this new Congregation, founded by Saint Peter Julian Eymard, received Archdiocesan approbation in Paris in 1856.
The title, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, was given to Our Blessed Mother in May 1868 by Saint Peter Julian Eymard to honor her relationship to the Holy Eucharist and to place her before us as a model in our devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
The image of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament is a reflection of the statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace. Mary is holding Jesus in the same position. In her left hand is Jesus and he is holding the Chalice and the Eucharist while Mary has her right hand in the gesture in blessing.
In 1916 an angel appeared to the children and taught them this prayer. “My God, I believe I adore, I hope, and I love you. I implore your pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love you.”
Another time an angel came with a chalice and above it he was holding a host. From the host drops of blood fall into the chalice leaving the chalice and host suspended in the air the angel prostrates on the ground and repeats the following pray three times.
“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I adore you profoundly and offer you the most precious Body and Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the earth in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He Himself is offended. And by the Infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and those of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I beg of you the conversion of poor sinners.”
Then rising he takes the chalice and host again and places the host on Lucia’s tongue. To Jacinta and Francisco he gives to drink of the contents of the Chalice. As he distributes the Sacred Species to the two he says, “Take and drink the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for the sins and the console your God.”
The children prostrated themselves on the ground, as the angel showed then and repeated this prayer every day of that year before Mary appeared on May 13, 1917, the feast day of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and during the novena to Our Lady Queen of Peace, thus drawing together the two titles and images.
As the children saw Mary on that May 13th they were moved by an inner impulse. They threw themselves upon their knees and repeated with great fervor this prayer.
“O Most Holy Trinity I adore you, my God, I love you in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
What do I understand about this history of Mary and the prayers said through out history to Mary Queen of Peace and Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament?
The oldest working Cathedral in the United Stated is Our Lady Queen of Peace, in Honolulu, Hawaii and was founded by the Order of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and has Our Lady Queen of Peace as their Patroness. This is the same order to which the statue historically was first entrusted in 1804. They came as missionaries and Blessed Fr. Damien of Molokai was ordained in this Cathedral. They dedicated all the Hawaiian Island to Our Lady Queen of Peace.
The United States has been richly blessed and I feel getting this opportunity to make this statue of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and tell the story of the need for prayer and conversion and adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament is part of my journey in sharing the creative gifts God has given me.
I was privileged to be asked to duplicate the statue of their patroness, Our Lady Queen of Peace by a member of the Order of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. I was then requested to sculpt the statue of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus holding the Eucharist in His mother’s arms originated in France through the grace of St. Peter Julian who was canonized by Pope John XXIII during Vatican II council. Pope John XXIII knew the need for us to have a total reverence for the Eucharist as developed and expressed by St. Peter Julian Eymard.
In Medjugorje Our Lady has told the visionaries she is the Queen of Peace. Her apparition there is a fulfillment of Fatima and She always points to the Eucharist. That’s why Medjugorje has so much adoration. I believe Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament connects all of this in the fulfillment of what is revealed in the Medjugorje apparitions as they come to full fruition.
I began showing my work on www.joshuastone.net / www.finecatholicgifts.com after a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in 1990. I came home with the understanding I needed to stay at the cross, all graces flow from the cross. For me I could stay at the cross by making them. I have been making crosses and other sacramentals ever since. Mary said she wants sacramental’s in the home and around us. I wanted to help spread that message by making them and making them available. It is with great joy I get to bring Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament to our time in this way.