Diocèse d’Aire-et-Dax
        Buglose and its history

Buglose and its history

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  • 26 septembre 2018
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Antiquity of the pilgrimage
The Sanctuary of Notre Dame de Buglose is situated in the village where Saint Vincent de Paul was born (Pouy). Nobody knows the time of the origin of the pilgrimage. Lazarist M. Mauriol who wrote its history in 1726 said, according to local traditions, that it was prior to the discovery of the statue in 1620.

Destruction of the chapel
In 1570, Montgommery rushed to the region with his Huguenot gangs to sack and burn the churches and monasteries, desecrating and scattering holy relics and slaughtering priests and monks. But the holy statue of Buglose escaped the soldiers’s fury. Some pious and cautious Christians had hidden it in the marshes of the neigbourhood.

Miraculous discovery
In 1620, a young sherperd who was used to leading his herd into the moor, not far from the marsh hiding and unknown treasure, noticed that one of his oxen stepped bach from the others, went into bushes in an unexplored area and would bellow in a very strange way. In order to see what the matter was, the shepperd went up on oak-tree : he saw the bellowing ox licking a human-shaped object half hidden in the mud. He ran to the village to announce the piece of news and people followed him to the mysterious object. It was an admirable statue of a ravishing Virgin holding smiling baby Jesus in her arms.
A crowd of priests and Christians rushed up ; miracles multiplied and after a canonical inquiry, Mgr Du Sault, bishop of Dax, decided the miracle statue would be brought to the parish church of Pouy (Buglose is part of it).

The Virgin will stay at Buglose
On the agreed day a lot of parishioners came.The statue of Virgin Mary was put on a cart drawn by oxen and people started walking, in the middle of hymns and prayers ; suddenly the oxen stopped and remained motionless. According to tradition, it was a sign for Heaven : the Virgin wanted to stay in Buglose. They started building a dwelling and two years later the chapel was built.
On Whit Monday in 1622, the new sanctuary was solemny opened among a crowd of pilgrims (remember that Lourdes was not known yet).

And since then....
These events created a considerable stir in public opinion. A lot of pilgrims rushed to Buglose, not only from the diocese of Dax, but also from the dioceses of Aire, Bordeaux, Bayonne, Auch, Tarbes, Lescar, Oloron...Buglose became a land of miracles.
In 1622, there were 19 miracles and 24 in 1623. Since then... Who knows how many mercies have been granted to the pilgrims of Buglose by Notre Dame.


How old is the statue of Notre Dame de Buglose ?

Mr Pradet, curator of sculpture in Louvee Museum spent several days at Buglose to styudy the statue of Notre Dame. He are his conclusions :

 All this takes us back to the same period : the last five years oh the fifteenth century and the beginning of the sixteenth century.
 The type of Virgin sitting on the trone, unsual at the end of Middle Ages usually meqans there was a desire to perpetuate the memory of a Virgin of Majesty, either Roman or Gothic, and made of wood, that was delapidated and needed replacing. That wright be case of Beglose
What emerges from such analysis is that the place of the pilgrimage of the Landes is very old. And the fact of replacing the wooden statue by a stone shows the importance of the veneration of Virgin Mary for our ancestors.

Why is this church called a basilica and not a cathedral ?

A cathedral is the main church of the town where the Bishop lives (it used to be Aire-sur-l’Adour/ now it is Dax). The title of « basilica » is certainly a title of honour but it also means a few particular obligations. In 1966, on request of Mgr Bezac, Rome gave the title of Basilica to the church of Buglose ( a red and golden flag – the colours of Vatican- can be seen by the pilgrims).

At Buglose or elsewhere, Virgin Mary hears our prayers. At Buglose or elsewhere, Virgin Mary keeps repeating as she did in Cana : « Do whatever he tells you to do . »


Buglose is a hamlet of village of Saint Vincent de Paul (formely : Pouy). You get to the park of the sanctuary through a plane–tree path.

Follow the path. At the end, on your left, is the place where the statue of Notre-Dame was hidden in 1570 to save it from the massacre of persecutors. In those times, Buglose was just a marsh, a good hidding place. The statue was discovered there in 1620.

In front of you is the chapel of the Fountain which sheltered the statue. It was very quickly called CHAPEL OF MIRACLES by witnesses of facts, particularly of recoveries that were scientifically inexplicable ( 19 miracles recognized for the year 1622). It was in that chapel that Saint Vincent de Paul said his last farewells to his familly, in 1622 or 1623.
In 1966, the old chapel was put under the protection of « an architectural bower with a slender vault that will henceforth highlight the most sacred place of that Marian Land ».

Let’s walk back to the church. The present building stands in place of a chapel, we know nothing about, except that it was considered too small and dilapidated.
The foundation stone was laid on 30 july 1850. It was blessed and inaugurated in 1855 but the works were really finished in 1865. It was consecrated in 1965 and it became a minor basilica in accordance with the pontifical decree given in Rome on 2 August 1966.

Enter the Basilica
Above the stoup : some names of famous visitors.

Go straiht in front of you, here’s the chapel of the rosary in which are buried several bishops of the Landes : Mgr Epivent (1859 – 1876) ; Mgr Delannoy (1876-1905) ; Mgr Touzet (1906 – 1911) ; Mgr de Cormont (1911 – 1930).
You are now inside the basilica. Over there, above the high altar : the statue of Notre Dame de Buglose, which was hidden and almost forgotten in the marsh for 50 years. It is made of stone ; it weigs 400 kilos, it is about 1,08 m high. It had to undergo some restorations.
Walk round the basilica along the side aisles on your left.Look at the stained-glass windows, they will tell you again the great events of this history of Buglose. The last two ones : saint Vincent de Paul celebrating mass in the chapel of Miracles, Spanih Princess Anne de Neubourg visiting Buglose.
At the beginning of the left aisles : Chapel saint Vincent de Paul.

Look at the walls, on either side of the altar : two bas-reliefs in polychrome wood of the seventeenth century remind you of the two main foundations of Saint Vincent de Paul : les prêtres de la mission et les Filles de la Charité. The great saint of the Landes dominates the altar. A wooden statue from the first church and a replica of the one that is in Saint Pierre in Rome represents the saint preaching in front of King Louis XIII in favour of abandoned children.

When you are near her, you can see that Noytre Dame de Buglose is crowned and so her Baby Jesus. Coronation is a favour which has been granted to the particularly famous statues of the Madonna, the designation being always a personal act from the Supreme Pontif who sends a canon from saint Pierre as a legate, or a delegates a bishop to carry out the laying on of lands Coronation remains one of the great dates of the history of Buglose. The chapter of Vatican granted that crown to the statue of Notre Dame de Buglose, under the pontificate of Pie IX by certificate published in Rome on 20 April 1866.

The right side aisle used to be dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalen. It is now consecrated to Saint Joseph. Two paintings in polychrome wood, replicas of those which are in Saint Vincent de Paul altar, though more recent, evoke the first titular altar.
Outside, look at the main tower of the basilica. It shelters the belles with the most beautiful chimes in France. Sixty bells enter the games. The set of bells conceived by canon Maisonnave is completely different from the usual systems used by Belgian bells.


1570 : Fire of the chapel (Montgommery)
1620 : Discovery of the statue (= chapel of Miracles) and interrupted return
1622 : Whit Monday : return of the Statue where it was
1623 : Saint Vincent de Paul
1706 : Settlement of Lazaristes
1709 : Mary Ann of Neubourg (Queen of Spain)
1725 : Benoît XIII opened the Indulgences to any visitor.
1759 : French Revolution
1844 : Diocese missionaries
1866 : Coronation

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