March 17 – Our Lady of the French (Nagasaki, Japan) – Saint Patrick (Ireland, d. 464)

He noticed the bust of the Madonna, with her burnt eyes

In October 1945, Father Kaemon Noguchi, a former Japanese soldier who had become a priest, entered the ruins of the Nagasaki Cathedral (destroyed by the atomic bomb) to pray there. He was looking for a souvenir from the church of his youth to take with him to the Trappist monastery of Hokkaido, Japan. After more than an hour of searching among the debris, he noticed a bust of the Madonna, with burnt out eyes that had become two black orbits, with her right cheek blackened and cracked along that side of the face.

Japanese Catholics interpreted the reappearance of the small statue as a miracle. The priest took it to his monastery and kept it there for 30 years. Then, in August 1975, he entrusted the relic to the Women’s Japanese University, in Junshin, until 1990, when the statue was returned to the Church, which placed it in the Nagasaki Museum.

In August 1998, a rich Japanese industrialist convinced the Church that the statue was not a mere memory of the nuclear holocaust, but a sacred object that had to be returned to an altar. Thus the Madonna was installed in the cathedral in May 2000.

A symbol of peace, in 2010 the statue embarked on a pilgrimage of peace to Spain and the United States, then on April 21, 2010, to Rome where Benedict XVI blessed it.

The Mary of Nazareth Team 

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