Our story began in the 3th century. Saint Ursin, first bishop of Bourges, often came to pray in Argenton, in a small oratory… on the location of the current chapel. Ursin re-raised that oratory.
Later, a fortress was put up on the hill and the oratory became the fortress’ chapel. But it was abandoned, until the 19th century… abbot Moulin decided to restore it. Architect Trollier drew plans. The first stone was laid down in June 1898…
The chapel was named the Bonne-Dame (″the Good-Lady″). Inside, people worshiped a 15th century Virgin statue: it nearly disappeared during the French Revolution! Yes, they threw her into the river Creuse, with a rope around her neck!
But a young inhabitant took her and hid her until the peace came back… Today, a copy of this little Virgin is displaying in Argenton’s church of Saint-Sauveur.
The Good Lady of Argenton is the patron saint, the protector of the city! We can see her from a long way: hey, she’s about 6,50 metres high, and 3 tons! She’s holding the baby Jesus in her left arm, and raises her right arm on the town, echoing the sentence on the portal: Posuerunt me custodem, which means ″They put me here to protect them″.
And she really protected the city… She saved people from Argenton from a plague epidemic, in 1632! Thanks to the vow they made: to bring her a candle, each year. Suddenly, the plague stopped...
The statue, made of red copper covered of gold by the Société française d'ornements of Paris (with an iron skeleton) was raised in July 1899 on the brand new chapel’s bell-tower. Hey, imagine the epic installation!
The Virgin was dragged by horses since Argenton’s station, at the top of the hill! My gosh, what a climbing! A pilgrimage of sick persons takes place every year, the second weekend of September.