It is said that in the year 1060, two Benedictine monks walking near the coast of Normandy in France discovered a beautiful place from where they could see the Atlantic Ocean. One of them rested in a boat on the beach, the other onshore.

The next morning the sea, due to the wind, had carried away the boat with the monk inside, and reached England. Brother Roger, waking up and not finding his travelling companion, saddened invoked the help of Mary. In a dream he had a vision: a star that had fallen from the sky burned the forest, and a voice, the voice of Mary, asked him to build a shrine in her honour in that place. So, he built a small hut to fulfil Mary’s will.

In time, a small abbey was built. Sometime later, the King of England, William the Conqueror, turned the small chapel into a monastery, donated land and helped Brother Roger, to whom he also told that his companion, whom he believed to be lost, was in England and had been made Bishop of Salisbury.

For several centuries, this place became one of the most important centres of Marian veneration. In memory of the vision that the monk Roger had, this church and the image worshipped here received the name “Our Lady of the Star”.

Unfortunately, during the following centuries and given the political, religious and economic conditions of the country, the Church and the monastery suffered persecution, destruction and abandonment. In 1842 the place was practically in ruins. In 1844, the Bishop of Coutances, at the request of the Sisters of the Christian Schools of Mercy, bought the site to found the Congregation of Brothers under the same name. The place has since been rebuilt.

In 1938 these Brothers, few in number, asked to be incorporated into the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, and so the Lasallian Brothers took over the Abbey of Our Lady of the Star“.

On May 1st 1960, on the ninth centenary of the foundation of the Abbey of Montebourg, by the will of John XXIII and in the presence of the Superior General of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, Nicet-Joseph, the pontifical coronation of Our Lady of the Star was solemnly celebrated. She was declared “Queen and Mother and Universal Patroness of the Christian Schools”.

It is worth remembering that the golden crown, with which the statue was crowned, the golden sceptre and the crown of the Child Jesus were made in Mexico by a Mexican craftsman and their cost was paid for by the students of the schools of the Mexican Republic.

Ilaria Iadeluca
Communication and Technology Service
Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools – Rome (Italy)