" THE CHURCH AND SHRINE OF PERE LAVAL"

The Church and Shrine of Pere Laval at Sainte Croix to the north-east is only a short taxi ride or bus journey from Port Louis. Pere Laval arrived as a missionary in 1841 and fought a long campaign to better the plight of the poor and sick. When he died in 1864 his body was buried in the graveyard of the old Church of Ste Croix and became the object of pilgrimage. He was beatified in 1979 and many still believe in his special healing powers.

The church was built to replace the original one and was consecrated in 1968. Set in the tranquil foothills of Long Mountain with views of L'Echelle Rock (The Ladder) to the south, the church is built on futuristic lines and with its lovely stained glass windows depicts scenes from the life of Christ. Outside the church in a modern, spacious vault a stone sarcophagus contains the remains of Pere Laval beneath an effigy framed with flowers. Everyday hundreds of people of all faiths visit the tomb and pray to the sick. An annual pilgrimage takes place during the nights of the 7 and 8 September when thousands attend mass at the Church of Ste Croix. A special mass was held by the Pope when he made his official visit to Mauritius in 1989.

At the rear of the church is a small museum depicting the life of Pere Laval and some of his personal clothing is displayed.