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Since May, a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows has been watching over motorists in Saint-Paterne (northwestern France).
Contrary to what one might think, it’s not one of the many shrines that line the roads of France, nor is it a copy of the famous statue of Our Lady of the Road that has been located for more than 30 years on the freeway in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. It’s simply a statue of the Virgin Mary whose purpose is to protect the house of its owner, Vincent Sagot, as well as the motorists and inhabitants of this small hamlet.
“After moving to Saint-Paterne (…) in January 2022, I wanted to decorate my house. The yard by the entrance to my driveway was empty, and a colleague told me about a statue of an angel that she had placed outside her home. I thought I could do the same,” explains the 50-year-old.
Sagot was browsing sites that sell outdoor decorations, looking for the famous angel, when suddenly another page opened by chance. “I came across this statue and knew I had to buy it. It was as if the Virgin Mary herself were asking me to place it at the entrance of my house,” he says.
Although its presence was, initially, a matter of decoration, and then of protection for his land and his house, Vincent was far from suspecting that it would influence cars passing by.
“I live on a road where there are many and dangerous curves. Cars drive by at high speed. Since the Virgin Mary has been placed on the side of the road, the traffic is a little slower. Curious drivers slow down in front of my house,” says Sagot.
Lit by electric spotlights in the evening and at night, the Mother of God also attracts hikers. “Some stop in front of it to pray,” he says. “I’m not opposed to this. I’d like to allow people to have a conversation with the Virgin if they wish.”