Agde: Our Lady of the Kneeling (Notre Dame de l’Agenouillade)

Agde (southern France, Hérault, diocese of Montpellier):

Sometime after 450 AD (the date is uncertain), the Virgin Mary appeared, after an earthquake, to a monk of Saint-Severus of Syrian origin. She was kneeling at the edge of a rock. The kneeling Virgin allegedly stopped a flood by her prayers. According to legend, the rock kept the imprint of the apparition's knees. Hundreds of faithful still venerate Our Lady of the Kneeling today (Notre Dame de l'Agenouillade).

The city undertook an ambitious project of renovation in 2004, to give back to this shrine the original splendor it had in the Middle Ages when the locals came to pray in front of the statue of Notre Dame de l'Agenouillade. The statue itself is being restored and will soon recover the appearance it had a century ago.

In 1583, a Capuchin convent was erected on the premises. The Chapel of the Agenouillade (16th c.) for its part stands by itself near a pine forest. It is a pilgrim's stage on the way to Santiago de Compostella. At the time, the Capuchin fathers had erected fifteen chapels along the wayside between Agde and Notre Dame du Grau (Our Lady of Grau), to assist the pilgrims in their devotions. These fifteen chapels represented the mysteries of the Lord's Passion.

The shrine was destroyed during the French Revolution in 1789, but was later restored by the White Penitents in the 19th century.


Yves CHIRON, Enquête sur les apparitions de la Vierge, Perrin, Paris 1995.

Patrick SBALCHIERO, article "Agde" in: René LAURENTIN and Patrick SBALCHIERO, Dictionnaire encyclopédique des apparitions de la Vierge. Fayard, Paris 2007.