QUESTION FOR READERS: Our Lady of Clergy image – in Paris?

I have for years had an image of Our Lady of the Clergy, Notre-Dame du Clergé, on this blog. See the sidebar.

Right now I have a special reason to ask her to stick by me and a few other priests I know.

I think this image may be in Paris, but I don’t know where.

What can you amazing people come up with?

Often, if I ask a question, someone out there has the answer, or finds it.

The writing on the card says that it was painted by J.M. Breton. It also says Procure Général which leads me to think that it may be in a mother house of an order, perhaps called after Our Lady of the Clergy, or something that has to do with Queen of Priests, etc.

While I am in Paris, I’d like to see the original, if possible.

In the meantime, perhaps you good readers would be so kind as to ask Our Lady of the Clergy to intercede on behalf of a few priests whom I know who are seriously beset in these… trying times.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Father G says:

    Here is what looks like the back of a holy card of Our Lady, Queen of Clergy:

    At the bottom, it mentions of the Confraternity of Mary Immaculate, Queen of Clergy established in Versailles.

  2. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I found a Paris address (from 1937) at this site. FWIW the address is 32 rue de Babylone in 7e arrondissement. Current Google Street View looks residential. It appears that a book with the title Reine du Clerge was published in Paris in 1932 with the author Ignace Marie Freudenreich OFM. A copy is at the Bibliotheque interuniversitaire Sainte-Genevieve located across from the Pantheon.

  3. Father G says:

    It appears a chapter of the Confraternity of Our Lady, Queen of Clergy was founded on February 2, 1908 at the Church of Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet (23, rue Bernardine, 75005 Paris). This church however is now occupied by the SSPX.

  4. Latin Mass Type says:

    The readers of this blog are truly amazing.

  5. Mrs. Bee says:

    I too have found the connection with Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet. There is something like an old bulletin that talks about Mary as Queen of the Clergy, here: (the article on page 8 of the pdf), but the image of the statue doesn’t match your holy card, Father: Mary is holding a chalice or a cyborium, not a maniple. The photo caption says this church has a stained glass window inspired by an “ancienne statue”, but doesn’t say anything about it. The window is behind the organ (see here:

  6. Titus says:

    Even locating the order is not necessarily going to tell you where the original is, or if there IS an original. The artist appears to have produced images for multiple holy cards. See here. The images may not have been copied from full-sized paintings; they may have been small-scale pen-and-ink or pencil images produced just for the cards.

    “J.M. Breton” is puzzling: J. Breton would evoke Jules Breton, the French agrarian realist master of the second half of the 19th century, but his middle initial was not “M,” and these do not, frankly, look like his work. The name shows up as an illustrator in some late-nineteenth-century books and on other holy cards, but that’s about it in terms of the internet.

    I’ll be astonished if this turns up.

  7. Charles E Flynn says:

    The artist J.M. Breton seems to have been a book illustrator:

  8. pelerin says:

    The first two links given above refer to Quebec in Canada – a long way from Paris! I have a collection of old French images pieuses ‘rescued’ over the years from fleamarkets there and it would appear that illustrations did not necessarily mean that the images shown were in any particular diocese mentioned on the card so the reference to the diocese of Versailles may not mean that the picture illustrated is in that particular diocese at all.

    The Rue de Babylone is only a stone’s throw away from the chapel in the Rue du Bac but as Gregg the Obscure says it is residential and I seem to remember some building work going on there behind hoardings the last time I was there. Perhaps one of the Priests or Nuns in the chapel may be able to throw a light on the painting depicted.

  9. Someone please be the Garrigue says:

    Have you tried Seminaire Saint Sulpice? 6, rue du regard, 75006 Paris.

  10. Adrienne Regina says:

    Sometime ago, a blogger posted your card on her site. She then found a beautiful prayer to Our Lady of the Clergy.

  11. Father G says:

    @ Mrs Bee.
    Yes, I have seen the other version as well. Here is a sculpture of it with a copyright of 1922:
    A copy of this statue was made and is enshrined at the motherhouse of the Servants of Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy:

  12. Suburbanbanshee says:

    J.M. Breton was still alive in 1950 and painted this chapel painting of the Nativity. It’s pretty far away from Paris, though, up in Savoie. They apparently have a ton of chapels there.

  13. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Oh, so many book illustrations by J.M. Breton, but nobody seems to have any info about him/her. Probably in books about famous illustrators, but I don’t know anything about French bibliophiles or illustration art fans, so I don’t know where to look.

    Anyway, it’s likely that he/she did paint actual paintings for his many holy cards (especially the ones credited “J.M. Breton pinxit”), but the paintings probably became property of the art department and were reproduced, stored for a while and then trashed, or taken home by random visitors. (If the French book/pulp/cardprinting industry was anything like in the US.)

    A whole bunch of illustrations from a French history book for kids.

  14. danhorse says:

    Can anyone translate the prayer on the back of the holy card that Fr. G posted? I would be interested to read it, in English that is. :-) Thanks!
    I’ve enjoyed reading the contributions to Fr. Z’s call! I hope he finds
    the original (and takes photos for us).

  15. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Ooh, ooh! SF connection! J.M. Breton illustrated one of the French editions of Arnould Galopin’s Le Docteur Omega, the 1906 French forerunner to Doctor Who!

  16. Muv says:

    Danhorse – here it is in English

  17. Suburbanbanshee says:

    El Santo de Cada Dia. Picture excerpts from a Spanish 1962 version of a French saint book, illustrated by J.M. Breton and pictures signed JMB.

  18. St. Epaphras says:

    Translation of prayer on the back of Father G’s holy card:

    O Mary, inspiring Queen of the Clergy, who wast given as a Mother to Saint John on the morrow of his priestly ordination, and who didst join with the Apostles in persevering prayer on the day of Pentecost; deign, we beseech thee, to pray with us for the successors of the Apostles: for the Pope, for all Bishops and all priests; that their sacred ranks may be multiplied, and that, after the example of thy Son Jesus, they may labor successfully to support the weak, to comfort the afflicted, to convert sinners and to spread on earth the Kingdom of God, Who liveth and reigneth forever and ever. AMEN.

    (Not my translation. It’s on the back of a Queen of the Clergy holy card.)

  19. danhorse says:

    excalibur and St. Epaphras: Gratia Plena, how good you all are! God bless!

  20. jhayes says:

    Here is a full page of text with the image. It is from the Confraternity of Mary Immaculate, Queen of the Clergy, at Versailles

    It is said to be approved by the ordinary but, instead of the normal text of the Hail Mary

    Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grâce,
    Le Seigneur est avec vous.
    Vous êtes bénie entre toutes les femmes,
    et Jésus, le fruit de vos entrailles, est béni.
    Sainte Marie, Mère de Dieu,
    priez pour nous, pauvres pécheurs,
    maintenant et à l’heure de notre mort.

    It ends with this version I have never seen before:

    Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de douleurs,
    Jesus crucifié est avec vous.
    Vous êtes digne de compassion entre toutes les femmes,
    et digne de compassion est Jésus, le fruit de vos entrailles.
    Sainte Marie, Mère de Jesus crucifié,
    obtenez-nous des larmes à nous qui avons crucifié votre fils,
    maintenant et à l’heure de notre mort. Ainsi soit-il

    The page also gathers quotes from other sources.

  21. jhayes says:

    Looks as if the publisher of the image is still in business and has a store in Paris:

    La Procure
    3. Rue de Mézières
    (Corner rue Bonaparte)

    La Procure est une chaîne de librairies, créée en 1898 à Arras par l’abbé Henri Delépine, installée dans ses locaux du 3 rue de Mézières à Paris depuis 19191,2. Son objet social était d’éditer et de diffuser de la musique sacrée, de commercialiser le livre et tout autre objet au service des paroisses. En 1934, l’entreprise se transforme en société anonyme et devient La Procure Générale du Clergé des missions et des œuvres catholiques. C’est en 1975, au moment où l’héritière cède La Procure aux Publications de La Vie catholique, Que. l’entreprise change de nom pour devenir « La Procure » tout court.

    La Procure est aujourd’hui une des plus importantes librairies religieuses d’Europe. Reconnue depuis longtemps pour sa spécialité dans le domaine des religions, c’est aussi une librairie généraliste et universitaire, à laquelle sont affiliés 26 établissements juridiquement indépendants, en France, en Suisse et en Italie. Elle dispose également de trois points de vente annexes à Paris (dont un ouvert en 2008 au collège des Bernardins), et d’un site consacré à la vente par correspondance installé à Chantilly2,3.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  22. KateD says:

    So, has the image been located?

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