Notre-Dame de la Délivrance is a religious building that is worth a visit. Classified as a Historic Monument since 29 March 1996, this Catholic church never ceases to attract visitors.
A sacred pause for the pleasure of the eyes
Erected on the western side of the Saint-Denis river, in the Petite Île district, the architecture of the building attracts the eye. This church dominates the space as far as the ocean. It thus appears as a protective mother. This area is much quieter than the city centre and also offers a beautiful view of the coastline.
Built from shattered lava stone (basalt) between 1893 and 1897, its Tuscan gothic style does not leave one unmoved. It has a particular charm.
Its bell tower is surmounted by a Virgin and its surroundings include an oratory dedicated to Notre Dame.
Another oratory dedicated to the Virgin is located at the back of the church.
The interior is striking for the brightness of its pastel paintings and its false vault painted in pale blue. You can enjoy scenes from the life of the Virgin painted in the heart by frère Fulbert. Afterwards, you are free to continue your visit with the Chemin de Croix that goes around the interior of the building.
Delivery and Birth
It all started with a wish. Let us go back to the origin of this construction. In 1857, Monsignor Maupoint was appointed bishop of Reunion Island. Sailing towards his diocese, the boat carrying him was caught in a violent storm off South Africa.
The bishop prayed to the Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea, to save them. If the outcome was favourable, he promised to erect a church to be called Notre Dame de La Délivrance and to be a place of pilgrimage.
"O Mary, Star of the Seas, save us from danger and we vow to build a shrine on this land of Bourbon (Reunion Island) where we shall land, which will speak unceasingly of gratitude and love.
Having survived, he kept his word and a parish was created the following year, in 1858.
Initially made of wood, the small chapel soon proved to be too small to accommodate the population of the area. Consequently, new plans were drawn up. The construction of the church, as we know it today, began in 1893 and lasted 5 years.
This neo-Gothic jewel was finally inaugurated in 1898. The interior decoration was done gradually, with scenes from the life of the Virgin and the childhood of Christ depicted in the choir.
There are also four stained glass windows, one of which illustrates Bishop Maupoint's vow during the storm that almost swept him off the Cape of Good Hope.
The furniture also has an interesting history as it was entirely created in Reunion. Like the churches of La Rivière Saint-Louis, Sainte-Anne and La Délivrance, it should be noted that at the time, the churches were training sites for many craftsmen.
This furniture was made from many tropical species of wood from Reunion Island, mainly used for cabinet making: mat, benzoin, tamarind, olive wood, rosewood, etc.
The Church of Notre-Dame de La Délivrance has become a place of pilgrimage dedicated to the Virgin Mary, as desired by Bishop Maupoint.
In Saint-Denis, near the Rivière Saint-Denis, your ITC Tropicar rental car will take the route de la Montagne and the stade de la Redoute. It is difficult to park, so take the street in front of the church on the right as you drive. Park in one of the car parks found before crossing the bridge.
For a lunch break, there are a couple of nice places nearby.