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The five statues of the Virgin

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The 13th Century chapel received a wooden statue of the Virgin and Child. And, since the wood was dark, the faithful called it

Our Lady the brown

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Copie en albâtre de Notre-Dame la Brune

One can see an alabaster copy of this statue above the corner where candles are lit in the left-hand side-chapel nearest to the entrance.

Virgin with the ostensory

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Vierge à l’ostensoir

In 1651 the managers of the sanctuary ordered a statue to be made of silver. One called it the « Virgin with the ostensory » because on the Virgin’s right arm one might place an ostensory to expose the Holy Sacrement to the view of the worshipers. And, when the Holy Sacrement was not exposed, the ostensory was replaced by the statue of the baby Jesus which, on the engraving, is seen at the feet of the Virgin. However, the statue of Our Lady the brown remained in the sanctuary.

The Virgin with the Bouquet

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La Vierge au bouquet

During the French Revolution, both statues disappeared, the silver one sent for melting down. When services started again in 1807, a devotee of the Virgin offered the sanctuary a wooden statue bought in an auction sale. One started the habit of putting a bunch of flowers into Mary’s hand and she was called « The Virgin with the Buqueot » This statue now stands behind the altar in the crypt.

The Virgin of Chanuel

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La Vierge de Chanuel

In 1837, one ordered from the artist Chanuel a new silver statue of the Virgin. It is the one which now dominates the main altar of the basilica. It weighs 80kg. She was crowned in June 1931, during solemn festivities which lasted four days and which attracted vast crowds to Marseilles. Forty-nine bishops attended and the pope had appointed as pontifical legate Cardinal Louis Maurin, archbishop of Lyon and former rector of Notre-Dame de la Garde.

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La Vierge d’Eugène Lequesne

In the crypt, near the lit candles, there is a copy of this statue. As it is much lighter to carry, it is the one used for the evening procession on the 14th August.
Finally, in 1870, the monumental statue which surmounts the bell-tower was erected. It is not all of a piece but was created in four sections by the Christofle company using a process new to the period: galvanoplasty.

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