prominent medieval shrine to Mary is located at Chartres, an old
French city surrounded by fertile farm country about 50 miles southwest
of Paris. In an ancient crypt under the magnificent 12th century
cathedral, medieval pilgrims honored a prized relic of Mary -- her
tunic -- which tradition said had been brought to Europe from the
east by Charlemagne in the 8th century.
There, too, pilgrims reverenced a holy well, traditionally the burial
site of the region's early Christian martyrs. From all of Europe,
people came to Chartres to be healed and to be renewed in their
faith. The great cathedral, with its vast treasury of sculpture
and stained glass illustrating the Old and New Testaments, is a
visual catechism welcoming all her enter the massive doors. Like
Mary, modern pilgrims are invited to remember and to ponder the
great things God has done for his people.
In this century, thousands of Christian young people from the universities
of France participate each August in a student pilgrimage to the
shrine of Our Lady of Chartres. They walk the old road from Paris
to Chartres like their ancestors did centuries ago.
to Europe as "holy land" in the 11th - 15th centuries
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