History of Paray

The founding of Paray-le-Monial

The future is Mercy

You will find in this video the story of the birth of Paray-le-Monial, from its founding in 977 by the monks through to its present day spiritual flourishing ; the story of Saint Margaret Mary, of Saint Claude la Colombière, and the Apparitions of Jesus showing his «Heart burning with love for all men » ; the development of the great pilgrimages and the witness of the numerous blessings received in this place.

Copyright « Sanctuaries of Paray-le-Monial » – No part to be reproduced.




In 971, Count Lambert asked Saint Mayeul to establish a monastery. A major edifice in Paray-le-Monial, this romanesque church, restored in the 19th Century, is a jewel of romanesque art in Burgundy ; it was erected for the Glory and praise of God. From the outside, the facade shows a remarkable simplicity. The narthex and the tower on the right go back to the first church. The chevet presents a harmonious staging of rounded forms. The circle is a heavenly symbol and denotes the holy space of religious buildings, in contrast with the angular parts, which are symbols of unification.


The building is 22 metres high, and 25 metres high at the meeting point of the transept, for a length of 63.5 metres. Everywhere there is a reminder of the number 3 : the naves are made of 3 bays surmounted by 3 arcades , then  3 windows ; the chancel itself counts 3 apsidioles… The fresco of the chancel dates from the 14th Century and was only discovered in 1935 : the circular apse is the symbol of Heaven, where there is the throne of the King of Creation  : Christ in Glory giving his blessing. The Priory of Paray-le-Monial suffered massively during the black death between 1346 and 1348, then during the Hundred Years War ; it remains only a shadow of itself, when, on June 20th 1671, Margaret Mary enters the Monastery of the Holy Mary Visitation.

The two founders of the Visitation.


St Francis of Sales, (1567-1622), Bishop of Geneva residing in Annecy, founds in 1610 the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary. The sisters of the Visitation are established to be the mirrors of the gentleness and humility, the most cherished virtues of the Sacred Heart of the Word made flesh. These virtues are the base and foundation of their Order and give them the incomparable privilege and grace of bearing the name of the daughters of the Heart of Jesus.


Saint Jane of Chantal 51572-1641), widowed in 1601, meets Francis of Sales and founds with him the order of the Visitation of Holy Mary (a contemplative life, a service for the poor and the sick).
Cloistered, the Order nevertheless grows rapidly and has 80 houses from 1641.


The Visitation at Paray-le-Monial, founded in 1626 upon the request of the Jesuit Fathers, has been in its present site since 1632. Dissolved in 1632, the community returned in 1823 and had to renovate the Chapel, which had been left in a very poor state. Having accepted to let herself be guided in a radical fashion by Christ and offering herself to Him as you offer yourself to someone you love, Margaret Mary allowed God to lead her in an exceptional way. Experiencing with great familiarity internal dialogues with Jesus, He appears to her on several occasions in order to entrust to her her mission.

Le Sanctuaire

Le Sanctuaire est confié depuis 1985 par le diocèse d'Autun, Chalôn et Macon à la Communauté de l'Emmanuel.



Contact us
Place du Cardinal Perraud
71600 Paray-le-Monial
Tel: +33 (0)3 85 81 56 00

Subscribe – Letter to the friends of the Sacred-Heart
* indicates required