In this time of coronavirus, with its many restrictions, our yearly pilgrimage from Leuven to Basse-Wavre, scheduled for Saturday 9 May, cannot take place. Our pilgrimage falls under the heading of “non-essential travel”.
Yet, being a bit creative, we can make a mini-pilgrimage locally.
Anyone who has already had a good look around Sint-Kwinten’s Church will have discovered several references to Basse-Wavre and Our Lady of Peace and Concord. There is the painting depicting the first pilgrimage in 1653, the processional banner, and the Marian altar (1651-1700) honoring Our Lady of Peace and Sweet Concord (Maria van Peys en Soet Accoort).
“This Madonna, who also was venerated in Basse-Wavre (Lower Wavre), together with the mysterious reliquary, the Casse de Wavre, had known for centuries, as a protection against the plague and other infestations, a great popular procession from the wider Leuven area to Sint-Kwinten’s Church.” (Lambert Juveyns, “De pest en de Sint-Kwintenskerk te Leuven” in Van Peys en Soet Accort: Over lijden, sterven en begraven worden in Leuven, 2002, p. 45.)
“A Peste, Fame et Bello libera nos, Maria Pacis” (Mary of Peace, deliver us from the plague, hunger, and war): the text of this prayer can be seen above the altar.
In this time of pandemic, the above text is even more meaningful because it affects us all, to a greater or lesser extent.
Now that our church is open for silent prayer from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Sundays, we can visit this altar and seek the help of Our Lady of Peace and Concord to answer the needs of so many people, both far and near.
We can make use of a prayer written in Basse-Wavre especially for this time:
Mary, Our Lady of Basse-Wavre, you know and understand all of the sufferings in our lives, our doubts, our weaknesses, and our divisions. Through your intercession and that of all the saints of the reliquary, we pray with a heart full of hope to your Son Jesus, that He may bring healing, peace, and harmony to our hearts and to our bodies.
May your protection once again deliver our cities, our countryside, our nation, and the whole world—already many times delivered from the plague, war, famine, and epidemics—from this pandemic and all of the difficulties that flow from it. We implore you, Mother of Peace and Concord.
Through your intercession and that of all the saints of the shrine, may the support of Almighty God be granted to health workers, to dedicated and committed volunteers, to researchers, to lonely people, to the sick, to the homeless, to refugees, and to all nations. Amen.
Our Lady of Basse-Wavre, pray for us. Queen of Peace & Concord, pray for us. Deliver us from wars & plagues, Mary of Peace.