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Sailors Chapel

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Sailors chapel

The Shrine of Our Lady of Arcachon was founded by Fray Tomas Illyricum,who was born in Illyria on the shores of the Adriatic, so his name of Illyricum. He came to France, where from 1516-1522 he devoted himself to making many journeys in order to preach. Tiring of this work, he retired, seeking peace in the forests of Arcachon. One day by the sea, he saw two ships adrift without control in the middle of a big storm. The hermit knelt in the sand and traced the sign of the cross and asked God to save the sailors. His pleas were heard and the sea calmed the two ships could put out to sea again. Continuing on the shore and thanking his blessing, he saw the waves at his feet had left an image of Our Lady which he placed in a small wooden chapel, being size of that of today. The original chapel was destroyed by a storm on January 16, 1624. Rebuilt in 1721 and buried by the sand. The third chapel is that which is there today, it was erected in 1722 and restored in 1973. However it was the object of a fire on 8 January 1986 and was again restored and reopened 25 March 1987. On the walls in the chapel you can see many small plaques of thanks left by sailors who have ever been saved from the raging of the sea.
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