In Chateauneuf-sur-Cher, children have their own basilica
A church for kids
It’s the only French church dedicated to children (Notre-Dame-des-Enfants in French)! The former church dates back to the 12th century. In 1861, abbot Jacques-Marie Ducros, Châteauneuf's priest, decided to rebuild his church. He lacked money, so he decided one thing, in 1865... he asked French children to send 2 centimes for his new church! French children gave, but also children from the entire world!
Ducros could not believe it... finally, he would raise his new church! But... he had to choose a name! A little girl from Semur in Burgundy suggested a name, "Our-Lady-of-Children". That was pretty good!
A big brotherhood
On March 30th 1866, archbishop de La Tour d'Auvergne founded Our-Lady-of-the-Children’s brotherhood in Châteauneuf church. This brotherhood put Christians children under the Virgin protection, and prepare them to the first Holy Communion.
The brotherhood had soon members everywhere in the world: in 2 years, they had more than 100 000 believers! On January 21th 1870, people raised the brotherhood to a universal brotherhood. Châteauneuf church was raised to a minor basilica in July 1896 by pope Leon XIII.
The basilica's construction
Architect from Vendôme Margaise raised the foundations. We were in the 19th century, so people loved Neogothic style: Margaise was inspired by Middle-Ages, based upon architect Auclerc’s drawings. Excavation began in 1869, and the building works ended in 1886. The basilica’s bell-tower is crowned by a Papal tiara.