The statue of the Virgin in Saint-Andre-de-Vezine

Ceremonially opened on October 21, 1871 in the village square, the statue of the Most Holy Theotokos still guards its parish. Few people know his story, here it is:

It all began on September 28, 1869, the first Sunday of Advent, when a retreat was opened for the parish of Saint-André. As a reminder of this retreat, which lasted three weeks, it was decided to purchase a statue of the Immaculate Virgin and place it on a pedestal in patus on the bank of a public pond.

Two years later, a white statue with a height of about 1 m 80 was brought on a pedestal of the same height, the place for placing the monument will be in the middle of the village square of Saint-Andre.

In front of the statue in the middle of the square, 1925 (DR)

The solemn opening took place on Saturday, October 21, 1871, the event is traced to us in the Parish Book: “We, the undersigned Parish Priest Peirolot, with the ceremonies prescribed by the ritual of the diocese, have consecrated the statue of the Virgin, installed in the public square of Saint-André de Vézin in the presence of the entire population assembled. For this purpose. The statue of the Mother of God was consecrated with great pomp. On that day, garlands were made of strings bordered with boxwood and placed on the trees around the statue. Wreaths were hung on these garlands. Each family had the honor of having their own there, and you could say that there were all kinds of shapes and colors, which produced a very good effect. After Vespers, as it was the day of the Adoration of the Blessed Mysteries, we made a procession around the village, we first consecrated it, and immediately after Mademoiselle Marie Lade de Buteillet, nine years old, kneeling on a small table, pronounced the act of consecration. in a loud and very clear voice.

During the feast of God in 1941 (© Joseph Parguel)

Religious Review of Rodez adds: “The entire parish gathered for the solemn opening in the square in front of the church of the wonderful emblematic statue of the Immaculate Virgin. A large number of the clergy came to share in his happiness and to pay tribute to Mary. Parish priest Peirolo, head of the district, presided over the ceremony. After the speech, in which he and the congregation explained the main reasons for trusting the Mother of God, the monument was consecrated according to custom. The statue is cast from cast iron, according to a very sophisticated model and is still little known in our countries. This model came from Rome, inspired, it is said, by our beloved Father Pius IX, in commemoration of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The Mother of God is placed on a throne formed by a cluster of evangelical symbols. With her foot she crushes the head of the traditional serpent, her gaze fixed on the sky, where she seems to seek help with an expression of the most lively concern; the right hand is stretched out as if to receive the blessings that flow from it, and the left bends to the ground to give them to all his children. This monument will be a living testimony that will transmit to future generations the spirit of faith of the good inhabitants of Saint-Andre, who were not afraid to impose generous sacrifices on themselves for the Glory of God and His great Mother, and thus respond to the zeal and piety of their worthy and tireless pastor. (E. Saturday, November 4, 1871).

In March, 1872, an iron gate was erected around the statue, this gate having been given to Madame Fabre, a merchant at Millaut, at a price of 170 francs. Restored in 1934, it was removed when the Virgin was moved to the edge of the square in 1958. In October 1999, my uncle Joseph Pargel gave the paints to the Immaculate Virgin. With his brush, he emphasized both the blue veil and the symbols of the apostles: St. Matthew: ox, St. Mark: lion, St. Luke: angel, St. John: eagle.

Monument 2003 (DR)

Note that there is an identical statue of the Virgin in Sal Curan. Over time, the paint on the statue lost its luster, and it was in 2018 that the municipality decided to repair it.

Mark Pargel

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