Our Lady of St Fort

October 31: Miracle at St. Fort, Chartres, France (1116)

The Abbot Orsini wrote: “In the year 1116, a chorister having fallen into the well of Saint Fort, which is in the church of Chartres, was saved by Our Lady. All the time that he was in the well, he heard the angels answering the public prayers which were chanted in the church; whence the custom arose at Chartres that the choir never answer aloud to the Dominus Vobiscum, chanted at High Mass and canonical hours.”

The Roman General Julius Caesar wrote that the area around Chartres, in the land belonging to the Carnutes, was the yearly meeting place of the Druids. It is said that since pre-historic times they assembled there from all over Western Europe.

The Cathedral of Chartres is built entirely upon a large subterranean crypt which dates from the 11th century. The crypt is unusually large, which accounts for the wide nave of the present Chartres Cathedral. Few people who visit the cathedral ever think to enter the crypt, though it is here in the depths beneath the famous cathedral that one can see the foundation of the great pillars that uphold the soaring heights of the nave, and also where the well of Saint Fort is located.

Our Lady of St Fort

The Well of Saint’s Fort is from the ancient name of Locus Fortis, or The Strong Place. It used to be located outside the old, smaller church, and is where the bodies of the martyrs Saint Altin and Saint Eodald were thrown by the Vikings in a raid in the year 858. The well was filled in about the 17th century, but it has been restored, as the earth was removed again in 1901.

If one continues, and passes the well, they will come upon something that the very first Christians are said to have witnessed when they came to Chartres. They found there a statue of a woman seated upon a throne with a child on her knee, a statue that had been venerated by the Druids. It appears that they were aware of Isaiah’s prophesy that a virgin would conceive and bear a son. The statue was described by a 17th century thus:

“The Virgin sits on a chair, her Son sits on her knees and He gives the sign of blessing with His right hand. In His left hand He holds an orb. He is bare-headed and His hair is quite short. He wears a close-fitting robe girdled with a belt. His face, hands and feet are bare and they are of a shining grey-ebony color.

The Virgin is dressed in an antique mantle in the shape of a chasuble. Her face is oval, of perfect construction, and of the same shining black color. Her crown is very plain, only the top being decorated with flowers and small leaves. Her chair is one foot wide with four parts hallowed out at the back and carved. The statue is twenty-nine inches tall.”

It is interesting to note that the eyes of the Divine Child were open, while the Madonna’s eyes were closed. According to Cecil Headlam, the Druids “intended by this device to signify that faith was still in darkness, and that she whom they worshipped was not yet born. But the eyes of the Child, whom she in the fullness of time should supernaturally conceive and bear, were open; for He was without beginning and without end, the Spectator of all time and all existence.”

The statue survived the centuries until the year 1793, when it was burned during the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. The people rose up to defend their cathedral, and so the Cathedral of Chartres was not destroyed, although the crypt was used as a warehouse until the year 1857. The statue was then replaced with the copy that can currently been seen in the crypt.

St Fort Chartres

James Fitzhenry, Marian Calendar, roman-catholic-saints.com

Have A Great Story About This Topic?

Do you have a great story? Have You Visited This Shrine? Share it!

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

Return to Marian Calendar October

Return to Titles of Mary

Return to Roman Catholic Saints Home Page from St Fort Chartres

Now Available!!

Pelayo king of Asturias

Pelayo, King of Asturias -

Pelayo's resistance initiated the nearly 800-year-long Reconquista to take back his country from the ruthless invader who had conquered his homeland and sought to erase his culture and his faith. His actions would lay the foundations of a Kingdom for Christ that would eventually reach around the world and spread the Catholic faith to millions of souls. Read more...

Please help us continue to bring high quality books to our readers at the lowest possible price! Click the link below! Thank you!

  Now Available!

Catholic Vitality Publications presents . . .

Defenders of Christendom

Brand new by

James Fitzhenry

Now in paperback!

Battles - Honor - Miracles! This book is filled with amazing stories of little-known Catholic heroes presenting spectacles of bravery and valor never exceeded in all the annals of history. read more. . .

Now Available for $18.95

Also available:

Catholic Vitality Publications

Roman Catholic books currently published by Catholic Vitality Publications:

El Cid, God's Own Champion

-the amazing true story of the life of Rodrigo Diaz, El Cid!

Available for only $16.95

St. Fernando III

A Kingdom for Christ

- King St. Fernando III, born 100
years to the month after the death of
the Cid. His life was filled with miracles
and many conquests!

Available now for $26.95

Discounts available for bulk
orders and for bookstore
retail sales! Just contact us