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Paray-le-Monial

PARAY-LE-MONIAL

City in Saône-et-Loire department, Diocese of autun, Burgundy, east central France. Next to lourdes, it is the most popular pilgrimage center in France (since 1865). The rural parish Paray became le-Monial when cluniac monks were sent there by St. majolus at the request of Count Lambert of Chalon (973), who endowed the foundation and gave a charter to the people. As the population increased, the monastery became a priory under Cluny and continued so, the prior being lord of the town, until 1789. The monastery church, dedicated to Our Lady in 977 and consecrated in 1004 by Bp. Hugh of auxerre, Lambert's son, was replaced c. 1100 by the present model of Burgundian Romanesque (with a semicircular choir beneath an octagonal tower 184 feet high and a 14th-century fresco of Christ Pantocrator, discovered in 1935). In 1794 the city purchased the church, which revolutionaries were about to destroy. Following the revelations of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary alacoque (167375), the church became the Basilica of the Sacred Heart (1875). The shrine of the revelations and the saint's relics are in the Visitation monastery founded through the efforts of Jesuits (1626), who had established a mission in Paray to combat Calvinism (1619). The relics of Bl. Claude de la colombiÈre were translated from the monastery to the Jesuit chapel (1930). The hospital of Paray, originally under Benedictines, is now staffed by Sisters of St. Marthe. Other monuments in Paray include the Chapel of Notre Dame de Romay, the tower of St. Nicholas, the hôtel de ville, and Hiéron (a Eucharistic museum founded in 1893).

Bibliography: É. lecanuet, L'Église de France sous la Troisième République, 4 v. (Paris 193031) v.1. a. gaudilliÈre, Lumières de Paray (St. Léger-Vauban 1955). j. virey, Paray-le-Monial et les églises du Brionnais (new ed. Paris 1962).

[m. l. lynn]

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