A few months ago, the parish of Sancey decided to honour Mary Immaculate in a special way by “returning” her crown… A large congregation, children from catechism classes, altar boys and sisters from the Sancey community awaited the moment when Rev Sébastien Moine would solemnly ‘crown’ the statue of the Virgin Mary in the side chapel of the Saint Martin church. Mary was blessed, incensed and sung by the whole community at the end of the Eucharistic celebration.

Here are some points of reference of this story:

The chapel of the Virgin Mary, located in the church of Saint Martin, was built in 1622. Dedicated to the Holy Rosary and then to the Virgin Mary, it also houses an altarpiece with a bas-relief of the disciples of Emmaus dressed in Franche-Comté costumes and a statue of the Virgin Mary crushing the snake. These remarkable pieces are classified as historical monuments.

The history of this chapel and the statue are linked to the story of Saint Jeanne Antida.

It was in this chapel that in 1782, after the death of her mother, Jeanne-Antide came to ask Mary to be her mother forever.

In the 1930s, when the church was being restored, the original golden statue, replaced by a Virgin of Lourdes, was moved to the sacristy… The Sisters of Sancey then asked to “collect” this ancient Virgin; the statue of Mary was installed in Jeanne Antide’s room, which had been transformed into an oratory. During a new restoration of the church in 1965, the golden Virgin left Jeanne Antide’s room and returned to her place in the church, in her chapel, but without her crown, which no-one had bothered about.

Recently, while clearing out the attic of Jeanne Antide’s family home, the sisters found a crown identified as the crown of the Virgin of the Church of Sancey… It was time to mark the occasion… with a new crowning, in prayer, with song and light! “Ave, ave, ave Maria!

And today, the chapel has a hologram of Jeanne-Antide asking for the protection of the Queen of Heaven. This is the final stage in the vast plan to enhance the heritage surrounding Jeanne-Antide, launched by the commune of Sancey and the surrounding communes.

Sister Jacqueline M.

8 September 2023, on the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary