Our Lady Queen of Peace, our Patroness
The traditional story holds that in the early 1500s in France, a certain Jean de Joyeuse presented the statue as a wedding gift to his young bride, Françoise e Voisins. The statue was known as the "Virgin of Joyeuse", and became a cherished family heirloom.
Around the year 1588, Jean's grandson, Henri Joyeuse, joined the Capuchin Franciscans in Paris and brought the statue with him, where it remained for the next 200 years. With the olive branch in her hand and the Prince of Peace on her arm, the statue was called Notre Dame de Paix (Our Lady of Peace).
In 1657 the Capuchin community erected a larger chapel to accommodate the growing number of faithful who sought her intercession.
On July 9 that year, before a large crowd which included King Louis XIV, the papal nuncio to France blessed and solemnly enthroned the Virgin's statue. Pope Alexander VII would later designate this date for the Capuchin community to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Peace.
During the French Revolution, which erupted in 1789, the Capuchins were driven from their monastery. They took the image with them to prevent its destruction by the ransacking rebels. When peace was restored in the land, the statue was brought out of hiding and entrusted to Peter Coudrin, a priest in Paris.
In 1800, Coudrin and Henriette Aymer de Chevalerie became co-founders of a community of sisters, brothers and priests — the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and the Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Coudrin gave the statue to Mother Aymer, who enshrined it in a convent chapel in the Picpus district of Paris on May 6, 1806. The members were also known more simply as the Picpus Fathers or Sacred Hearts religious. Excluding its pedestal, the figure of dark hardwood is 11 inches tall, and is fashioned in the Renaissance style of the period. Mary is depicted as a dignified matron, with the Christ Child on her left arm and an olive branch in her right hand. Tradition holds that in 1682 some merchants found an abandoned box on the shore of El Salvador's Mar del Sur. Unable to open it, they tied the box on a donkey's back and set out to inform the local authorities of their find.
When they were passing the parish church, now a cathedral, the donkey lay down on the ground. They were then able to open the box and were surprised to find that it contained an image of Our Lady holding the Child. It is said that a bloody struggle was going on between the inhabitants of the region, but when they heard of the marvelous discovery in the abandoned box, they put down their weapons and immediately ceased fighting. This is why the image was given the title of Our Lady of Peace, whose liturgical celebration is held on November 21 in memory of its arrival at San Miguel.
The statute is a dressed wood carving, with the national shield of El Salvador embroidered on the front of the image's white robe. The image holds a gold palm leaf in memory of the eruption of the Chaparrastique volcano, which threatened to destroy the city with burning lava. The frightened dwellers of San Miguel brought out the statute of Our Lady of Peace to the principal door of the cathedral, and at that precise moment the force of the lava changed direction, moving away from the city.
Pope Benedict XV authorized the canonical coronation of the image which took place on November 21, 1921. Our Lady of Peace is the patroness of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary religious order, founded by Peter Coudrin in Paris during the French Revolution.
When the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary established the Catholic Church in Hawaii, they consecrated the Hawaiian Islands under the protection of Our Lady of Peace. They erected the first Roman Catholic church in Hawaii to her.
Today, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu is the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral in continuous use in the United States. Saint John Paul II consecrated and dedicated the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro in Côte d'Ivoire to Our Lady of Peace. It is the largest place of worship in Africa. Elsewhere throughout the world, there are parish churches named in honor of Our Lady of Peace in various forms, especially in Ireland and the United States.
November 26, 2011 First Sunday of Advent: Our Lady Queen of Peace Statute arrives, is placed in the sanctuary, and blessed at the 4 pm weekend Celebration of the Eucharist.