It is also known as Our Lady of the Blessed Candle (Madonna della Candela Santa). It is said that in 1105, Arras was hit by a terrible disease that decimated the population: the people saw this calamity as a divine punishment or even an evil punishment. Thus they all began to pray with great devotion to the Holy Virgin, desperately invoking her intercession.
In the meantime, 2 jugglers named Itier Brabante and Norman Saint-Pol were arguing heavily because the former’s brother had been killed by the latter. It so happen that after a night of prayer, both had the same dream in which the holy Virgin appeared to them inviting them to reconciliation in exchange for an enormous grace – the health of the sick of Arras.
The Holy Virgin appeared to the jugglers and to the Bishop of Arras as she had promised in a dream by offering them a lighted candle, whose wax poured into water could have healed the sick.
“… The water containing the wax of this candle will be given to the sick. Pour it on their wounds too. “
But Norman and Itier knew well that the miracle would only happen after their reconciliation. Thanks to this solicitation by Mary, most holy, that they reconciled and with the help of the Bishop they managed to heal many sick people.
Several paintings tell this story. The most recent are found in the Diocesan Museum. After the healing miracles, a confraternity was soon instituted whose objectives are to render regular worship to the relic of the Holy Candle.
In 1215, Margherita delle Fiandre donated to the Confraternity a reliquary inlaid with silver and filigree taking the shape of the Holy candle, now preserved in the Diocesan Museum and shown every year during the Ardent procession in May.
Restored in 1791 by a local goldsmith, it was again restored in 1860 by a Parisian goldsmith. The original reliquary is kept in the Treasury of the cathedral of St. Vaast Abbey and is the object of veneration of Christians from the Middle Ages. Every year during the novena that takes place between the Ascension and Pentecost, the anniversary of the miracle, the reliquary is presented to the pilgrims.
The Countess also decided to build a chapel in Little Square, with a bell tower of almost thirty meters, with 6 floors and surmounted by a spire. In the 16th century, a pavilion was added at the foot of the tower. Razed to the ground by a bomb during the siege of 1640 it was rebuilt again in 1648.
In Italiano (https://translate.google.it/translate?hl=it&sl=fr&u=http://arras.catholique.fr/page-11982-arras-eglise-notre-dame-ardents.html&prev=search)