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LE PUY

French Shrine of Our Lady of the Peak. Its central interest is an ancient statue of the Blessed Virgin and Child, perhaps the oldest in Christendom. Carved of cedar, eighteen inches high, the image was given to Le Puy by King St. Louis IX when he returned from his Egyptian crusade. Devotion to Our Lady of Le Puy was at its height in 1095 at the time of the First Crusade. Pope St. Urban II knelt before her, Sts. Bernard, Dominic, Anthony, Vincent Ferrer, and John Francis Regis came to see her as pilgrims; seven popes left her rich gifts, the French Revolution saw her stature burned but directly reconstructed from memory. The early story of this shrine relates it was built around A.D. 46 in thanksgiving for a cure. Over the centuries, thousands have visited the Rock, as Le Puy is called, singing the "Salve Regina," said to have been intoned the first time at this sanctuary.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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