The imprints of the Virgin’s knees are still visible at this shrine

Around the year 456, the Shrine of Our Lady of Grau near Montpellier (southern France), established by the hermit Saint Sever (originally from Syria) was threatened by fierce rains that caused the Herault River to burst its banks. A strong easterly sea wind caused sea water to be forced up-river, aggravating the flooding. Just to complicate things, an earthquake happened at the same time, creating tidal waves and increasing the terror of the local population and the monastic community established at Grau. The monks prayed for God’s mercy through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Looking up, one of them saw Our Lady kneeling in prayer on a rock that could be seen above the churning waters, joining her prayers with those of the monks. The waters stopped rising at her feet, and the storm abated.

The monks built a chapel on the spot where the Blessed Virgin had knelt, with the marks of her knees still visible on the rock. From then on, Our Lady of the Kneeling (Agenouillade) also known as Our Lady of Grau, became an important site of pilgrimage, believed to have served as a pilgrim’s stage on the way to Saint James of Compostela. The imprints of the knees of the Virgin Mary are still visible today in the chapel of the Agenouillade, protected by a grating in the middle of the nave.

The Capuchin Fathers, entrusted with the church and monastery, built 15 chapels on the road from Agde to Our Lady of Grau, each representing a Mystery of the Passion of Christ. This added to the popularity of the pilgrimage.

The French Revolution destroyed all the chapels, and pilgrimages to Our Lady of Grau only resumed in the 19th century, under the impetus of the White Penitents.

Our Lady of the Kneeling is celebrated every 2nd of August.



Source: The imprints of the Virgin’s knees are still visible at this shrine

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