Apostle James (Saint James = Santiago) who went to this most northwestern part of Spain, called “Finis Terrae”, “end of the world”, by the Romans. He went there to preach and convert people to Christianity. After returning to Palestine in 44 AD, he was taken prisoner by Herodes Agrippa and tortured to death. The king forbid to bury him, but during the night Jacob’s disciples stole the body in a sarcophagus of marble and brought it, on board of a small boat. The current of the sea drove the boat to the Spanish coast, into the port of the Roman province capital, Iria Flavia. There the Apostle was buried in a secret place in a wood.

Centuries later, in 813, the hermit Pelayo was listening to music in that wood and saw something shining. Because of this, the place was called, in Latin, “Campus Stellae”, which means the field of the star, a name that was later on turned into Compostela.Bishop Teodomiro, who received notice of that event, initiated an investigation. Thus the tomb of the Apostle was discovered. King Alphonse II declared Saint James the patron of his empire and had a chapel built at that very place. It is reported that from then on Saint James did several miracles. It is even said that he fought side by side with King Ramiro I in the decisive battle against the Moors. More and more pilgrims followed the way to Santiago, “Camino de Santiago”, and the original chapel soon became the cathedral of the new settlement, Santiago de Compostela.

In 12th and 13th centuries the town had its greatest importance. Pope Alexander III declared it a Holy Town, like Rome and Jerusalem. Pope Calixto II declared that the pilgrims who went to Santiago in a Holy Year should be free of all their sins. El Año Santo (Holy Year), also known as Xacobeo is a year when the 25th of July, the day of St James falls on a Sunday.

The cathedral for children: (available in different languages) (available in different languages)

Notre-Dame de Qannoubine, Wadi Qadicha

La Qadicha, ou Vallée Sainte est le berceau du monachisme au Liban. Dès le IVème siècle, avant même que la montagne libanaise ne soit convertie au christianisme, ses innommbrables grottes se sont peuplées d’ermites. La tradition en évalue le nombre jusqu’à 800 en même temps. Plus tard, certains de ces ermites se sont groupés en communautés, tout en continuant à vivre dans leurs grottes. Le premier de ces monastères est N-D de Qannoubine qui tire d’ailleurs son nom du grec “Kenobion” = “communauté”, par opposition aux ermitages. Au coeur de cette vallée, ce couvent a servi, pendant près de quatre siècles, de résidence aux patriarches maronites. En 1440, le patriarche Yohanna al Jagi, poursuivi par les mamelouks, est venu s’y réfugier, et ses successeurs y ont demeuré jusqu’en 1823. Cette période a été marquée par d’incessantes persécutions, de la part des mamelouks, d’abord, et des ottomans, ensuite. Le peuple, fuyant les massacres, venait parfois se réfugier dans la Vallée auprès du patriarche et des moines. Ainsi, s’est créée, dans l’Eglise maronite, une étroite symbiose entre les fidèles, les moines et la hiérarchie. Les patriarches eux-mêmes n’échappaient pas aux persécutions. Bien souvent. Ils devaient se cacher ou s’enfuir au loin pour se mettre sous la protection d’un seigneur chrétien. Sous l’église de monastère notamment, on peut voir une petite crypte qui a servi de cachette. Abandonné au début du XXème siècle, le couvent N-D de Qannoubine a été restauré dans les années 90 et des religieuses antonines y accueillent pèlerins et visiteurs.

Scherpenheuvel-Zichem, Belgium

Basilica founded on the place where a little statue of Our Lady was found in a tree (1304).
This building was an act of thanksgiving by our governors the Duke and Duchess Albrecht and
Isabella for the Peace of Westfalen (Munster) in 1648, the end of the 30 year war between
Catholics and Protestants. It was run until the French Revolution by the Oratorian Fathers of
Phillipus Neri.

Home - Scherpenheuvel 

Abadia de Montserrat

Santa Maria de Montserrat is a benedictine monastery located at the top of Montserrat mountain (720m above sea level). It is a Catalan symbol and it has become a point of pilgrimage. The origin of the monastery is uncertain, but the legend tell that it was around 880. At the beginning of the 19th century the abbey was twice burned down and sacked by Napoleon’s troops, in 1811 and in 1812, and many of its treasures were lost. In 1835, the abbey was closed until restoration in 1844. In 1880 Montserrat celebrated 1000 years of existence and on 11 September 1881, to coincide with the Catalan national day Pope Leo XIII proclaimed the Virgin of Montserrat patron of Catalonia.



El Rocío, Huelva, Spain

It was plain Mudejar style, with a wooden gable roof and an atrium. All throughout history, this hermitage will suffer several extensions and important changes. Nevertheless, it will remain erect until mid-18th Century, when Lisbon’s earthquake (in 1755) almost destroyed it.

In 1760 a new shrine was blessed, with bigger dimensions and a different floor plan, oriented to the west. It was also inspired by the Mudejar style, with some baroque style elements on its façade and on its magnificent altarpiece, attributed to Cayetano d’Acosta. In 1915, many important alterations were accomplished, until its demolition, which was done in order to build the current shrine, in 1963.


The pilgrimage site of Lourdes is near the Pyrenees mountains in France.

Every year, it is visited by millions of pilgrims, particularly Roman Catholics. They come to Lourdes to see the site of a famous vision experienced by a young girl called Bernadette Soubirous and to be healed by its supposedly miraculous waters.

Bernadette Soubirous was born in 1844 to a poor miller. One day, while collecting firewood, Bernadette is said to have seen Mary, the mother of Jesus, dressed in white with a blue sash and a yellow rose on each foot. Bernadette is said to have witnessed the same vision many times.