Ablain-Saint-Nazaire (Pas-de Calais Department in northern France): Our Lady of Loreto

A Marian shrine

A man of this village was cured during a pilgrimage to the Italian shrine of Our Lady of Loreto (where the holy house of Nazareth is preserved). Upon his return, he built an oratory in 1727, which later was transformed into a church, and was destroyed in 1915.

The hill of Loreto is therefore a Marian shrine first, and it attracts an increasing number of pilgrims.

A shrine for peace

During WWI, the battle of Loreto was terrible, with 100,000 casualties on both sides.

The cemetery covers 32 acres, with 22,000 individual tombs and 8 ossuaries. The tombs are arranged in order of re-inhumation, with generals next to the simple soldiers.

This site has become a memorial for all wars, and a place of prayer for peace.

Principal feast days:

September 8 (Nativity of Mary); August 15 (Assumption); Memorial of the Armistice (November 11).


Source: L'Europe Spirituelle (Spiritual Europe), Les Clés de l'Europe, Marseille 1993.