Yagma: Our Lady of Yagma

The site of Yagma, a few miles from Ouagadougou, was especially chosen in 1968 for the purpose of building a Marian shrine. On that small hill a replica of the Lourdes grotto was built out of  lateritic stone.

The influx of pilgrims has steadily increased over the years

Currently parish pilgrimages to the shrine are held weekly, and thousands of people from all of Burkina participate in the annual pilgrimage. Until the large church under construction at the foot of the hill open its doors to the faithful, the pilgrims will have to stand in the sun, but this does not deter them from coming and joining in the ceremonies. [1]

Saint John Paul II visited the Marian shrine of Yagma on January 29, 1990. Here is an excerpt of his homily:

John Paul II comments on the readings (Gal 4; Mt 12):

"When the fullness of time had come, God sent his son, born of a woman... so that we might receive adoption." (Ga 4: 4-5) 

According to the teachings of Saint Paul, who wrote these words to the Galatians, the fullness of times happened with the earthly birth of the Son of God, Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary by the action of the Holy Spirit. In this new era, the sons and daughters of the human race are adopted and raised to the dignity of children of God, brethren of the eternal Son of God.

This is the essence of the Gospel message of today.

Saint Matthew confirms this truth in the Gospel reading that we just heard. He tells us that one day Jesus was teaching- ulfilling his mission as Messiah-when someone told him that his Mother and his brothers, meaning some family members, were in the crowd and wanted to talk to him.

Jesus didn't interrupt his teaching, but took this opportunity of the presence of Mary his Mother and some of his relatives, to show the real relationship that unite men in God, with bonds stronger than blood!

"Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" (Mt 12 : 48), Jesus asked. And, "pointing his hand toward his disciples he said: "Here are my mother and my brothers" (Mt 12 : 49).

Yes, thanks to the Son of God made man, new spiritual bonds are formed. These come from the "filial adoption" that the eternal Father granted us by sending into the world his only Son, born of a woman. [...]

John Paul II spoke to the poor, then to the families:

I would like to greet the poorest, in particular. I know the generosity with which they help those that are even poorer than themselves, rebuilding the collapsed house of a destitute family, as it has been described to me.

Even without belonging to a group, each one receives a mission for the Church, to serve God, his brothers, and society. It was for you that I wrote the exhortation "Christi fideles laici" following the Synod of Bishops.

In this period of renewal that your country is experiencing, the Church, and the laity in particular, are called to work to help make this renewal on the basis of the respect for the human person and the family. [...]

We must ensure stable homes and help couples to be responsible fathers and mothers, by resisting the invasion of methods that go against the dignity of women, and therefore dishonor men also. I urge all the lay faithful to fight for the purification and the sanctification of the family.

John Paul II addressed the youth:

I would like to also encourage the youth of your country, so numerous and dynamic. They must face the modern plagues, the seduction of drugs or a misunderstood sexuality, the difficulty of getting a decent education and of earning a living. I want to tell the youth my esteem and affection, and also my trust: I believe they are able to build their life and orient it toward the truth, freedom and sense of service.

Dear young people, be the worthy heirs your people's human riches. Keep your courage up in your work and keep the will to overcome and win, which characterize the Burkinabe. Keep this sense of dignity that is your pride. Remain in unity and concord, which are the fruits of reconciliation between the sons of this country! [...]

John Paul II encouraged the people to pray to Our Lady of Yagma:

In this high place of prayer that is Yagma, dear sons and daughters of Burkina, we turn to the Mother of Jesus: Our Lady of Yagma, as you like to call her. It is through her that the Son of God "was born of a woman" (Gal 4: 4), because she accepted to become his Mother, in faith and obedience to the Word that was spoken to her. In her virgin body, Mary, whom God had chosen, merited to conceive that Son, keeping in her heart the Good News contained in the name "Jesus"-which means "God saves." Blessed Virgin who listened to the word of God and kept it!  (cf. Lk 11: 27).

I know that you come here often to pray to her, and I formulate the hope that you will be able to build a shrine worthy of the Virgin Mary, this will be the visible sign of your trust in her. Pray to the Mother of the Savior faithfully. One of you wrote to me that the rosary is like the "beggar's bag." Guided by the words of the Angel, you can always address yourself to her as her children. [2]


Shrine of Our Lady of Yagma

01 BP. 1472 Ouagadougou - Burkina Faso

Tel : + 226/ 30.67.04 - Fax : + 226/ 30.72.75


[1] www.sanctuaire-poponguine.sn/pe-sanctuaires.php

[2] www.vatican.va