First Pilgrimage of the “mois sulpicien” 2015
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On Saturday July 11, 2015 the participants of the “Sulpician month” went on pilgrimage to the Church of Notre-Dame des Vertus in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers. It is the first of several planned pilgrimages to important sites in France related to Sulpician history and spirituality.
Notre-Dame des Vertus was an important pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages. Pilgrims would come on foot from the center of town, the Isle de la Cité where the Cathedral of Notre-Dame is located, to the distant Church of Our Lady of Miracles (one of the meanings of the word “Vertus” at the time). In the seventeenth century, the site was popular for pilgrimages among many members of the French school of spirituality, including Jean-Jacques OLIER, founder of the Sulpicians. Various plaques in the church commemorate these pilgrimages.
In 1641, Father Olier made an important pilgrimage there in which he had a vision that encouraged him to found a seminary. The participants went there, following the example of our founder, to pray for vocations to the priesthood and to the Society of Saint-Sulpice, and to celebrate Mass together on the feast of Saint Benedict, one of the patron saints of Europe.
Bishop Georges SOUBRIER, PSS, Emeritus Bishop of Nantes, was the principal celebrant and homilist. He was assisted by the Superior General of the Sulpicians, Father Ronald D. WITHERUP, PSS, and one of the young Sulpicians from Benin, Father Apollinaire TOMEHO, PSS.
Exterior of Notre-Dame des Vertus just across from the city hall of Aubervilliers
Father Lawrence B. Terrien, PSS, former Superior General, explaining the plaque dedicated to Father Olier
Father Witherup, Bishop Soubrier, and Father Tomeho in the sacristy after Mass
Stained glass window illustrating the pilgrimage from Notre-Dame de Paris to Notre-Dame des Vertus