Today’s quick takes are all related to St. Michael the Archangel. September 29 is the Church’s traditional Feast of St. Michael, also known as Michaelmas. (More recently it has become the Feast of the Archangels, honoring Gabriel and Raphael as well as Michael.)
As Wikipedia explains:
In Christianity, the Archangel Michael is the greatest of all the Archangels and is honoured for defeating Lucifer in the war in heaven. He is one of the principal angelic warriors, seen as a protector against the dark of night, and the administrator of cosmic intelligence. - source
A small rocky island off the coast of France has been dedicated to the Archangel Michael since the beginning of the 8th century:
According to legend, the archangel Michael appeared to St. Aubert, bishop of Avranches, in 708 and instructed him to build a church on the rocky islet.
But Aubert repeatedly ignored the angel’s instruction until Michael burned a hole in the bishop’s skull with his finger. That did the trick. The dedication to St Michael occurred on October 16, 708. - source
The island is known as Mont Saint Michel. From that original church a Romanesque Benedictine abbey was built, and then modified, and a town grew up around it.
In July I traveled to France with my husband. After a week of sightseeing in Paris and Normandy we journeyed south to Lourdes where we worked with the North American Lourdes Volunteers. As we left Normandy we spent a night on Mont Saint Michel.
The mount has become one of France’s top tourist sites, and it’s easy to figure out why. Even on first glimpse from a distance across some fields, the island topped with its ancient monastery is stunning. It only gets more impressive from closer vantage points.
Here is a photo showing the gorgeous water setting of Mont Saint Michel:
At the tip top of Mont Saint Michel is a spire, surmounted by a statue of St. Michael the Archangel. I wasn’t able to get a suitable photo of the statue - it is so high above the ground - but here is what the statue looks like up close:
- image of statue at Mont St. Michel. source
Halfway up Mont Saint Michel on the way to the Abbey, there is the parish church of St-Pierre dating from the 15th-16th centuries. A carved side chapel is dedicated to St. Michael and has a statue of the Archangel slaying the devil in the guise of a dragon (picture above).
When we reached Lourdes we learned that the front gate is named the St. Michael Gate and there is a statue of St. Michael watching over the gate. There are also statues of his fellow archangels Gabriel and Raphael flanking the gate.
Pope Leo the XIII wrote the St. Michael Prayer:
Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle;
be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God, cast into hell,
Satan and all other evil spirits who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Michaelmas links (may be updated):
- My 2012 post on the Feast of the Archangels with a bit of information specifically about St. Michael and some photos as well.
- more about Michaelmas on Fisheaters.com
For more Quick Takes from bloggers everywhere, visit this week’s roundup hosted by Jen of Conversion Diary.