About Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel:
According to tradition, a shepherd boy originally found a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary after it had apparently fallen from a niche cut in an old oak tree. He found that it was too heavy to lift, and in fact he himself was unable to move it, and was even unable to walk. His master came looking for him, and after replacing the statue in its place in the tree, the boy was able to walk again. It became a place of pilgrimage…a small chapel was built here and miracles were reported.
The chapel was rebuilt in 1602, and it was reported that in 1603 four drops of blood flowed from the eyes of the statue. Then, in 1604, it was dedicated as Our Lady of Sichem by the Archbishop of Mechlin. Almost 700 miracles were credited to the intercession of Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel in the course of the seventeenth century alone. And today reports continue.
A copy of the statue of Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel is also venerated at the shrine of Notre Dame de Bargemon in Var, France
About the Basilica of Scherpenheuvel:
The Basilica is reportedly the most-visited shrine in Belgium, and is certainly its’ largest. Aigu roughly translates to “sharp hill” and the Basilica is at the top of the hill, making it a bit of a climb. It is built on the site of the oak tree and the main altar is built directly over where the tree stood. You will see the top of the Basilica easily: there are the hundreds of seven-pointed gilded stars that cover the surface of the dome.
The Basilica is similar to Saint Peter’s and made of white stone on the outside with marble interior. There are seven chapels surrounding the main sanctuary, one for each of the seven prophets, starting with Daniel. The miraculous statue is above the tabernacle. Over the high altar is a replica of the tree.
Gallery photos courtesy DiscoverLeuven.com
There are Saturday, Sunday and weekday Masses.
We celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Sichem on January 3.
Finding the Basilica of Scherpenheuvel:
There is train service as far as Diest, and from there you can take a bus on in to Scherpenheuvel. Get train and bus schedules here.
Address: 3270 Scherpenheuvel-Zichem, Belgium
Tel: +32 13 77 14 96
email: use contact form on their website
Click here for the official website of the Basilica
1. A Religious Guide to Europe, by Daniel M. Madden, Collier Books, 1975.