In Marseille, a collection of donations launched for the restoration of Notre-Dame de la Garde

In Marseille, a collection of donations launched for the restoration of Notre-Dame de la Garde

The “Good Mother” of Marseille will undergo restoration in September 2024. To finance the work and restore the statue, the diocese is appealing to the generosity of the people of Marseille.

Culminating at more than 150 meters in height, Notre Dame de la Garde has been both the guardian and protector of the Phocaean city since its construction at the end of the 19th century. Today, the monument requires significant maintenance work, which must begin in September 2024 and end in June 2025. The fundraising campaign is led by the diocesan association, owner of the basilica. An exceptional status because at the time of the promulgation of the law of separation of Church and State in 1905, the building, built on naval land, escaped confiscation by the State.

A call for the generosity of residents

To finance the work, the diocese launched an online donation collection on Tuesday May 14, 2024. The cost of the project, which primarily concerns the statue and the bell tower, is estimated at 2.47 million euros. The crowdfunding platform, called “I support the Good Mother”, will allow everyone to make a tax-deductible donation but also to create customizable prize pools. “This budget is an act which testifies to a certain audacity but also to the confidence we have in the people of Marseillais, and beyond, all those who are attached to the basilica,” announced Édouard Detaille, responsible for patronage of the project. .

The donation system is also extended to partner merchants. So when paying by bank card in certain businesses in the city, an option to round up the amount of the purchase in order to finance the work will be offered. Finally, three sponsorship dinners will be organized and ex-votos will also be on sale.

Important work

Necessary every thirty years, the work concerns several elements of the building. First of all, the structure and gilding of the 11 meter high statue of the Virgin and Child represents the most symbolic and expensive work of the operation, corresponding to more than half of the budget. “A total of 30,000 gold leaves will be needed,” explains the specialist. The degradation of these materials is particularly linked to wind, salt water and pollution. The restoration of the statues of angels, located on the terrace below the statue, is also planned.

The bell tower will also be restored. Cleaning and water-repellent covering will be carried out, as well as the waterproofing of the terraces, cleaning of the crypt and the installation of new burners.

Public access to the basilica will not be restricted with the exception of the high terraces during the assembly and dismantling of scaffolding.

A visceral bond unites the people of Marseille to their Good Mother.

Cardinal Aveline

The Good Mother, an essential figure in Marseille

At the launch of the campaign, Cardinal Aveline recalled the “visceral bond (which) unites the people of Marseillais to their Good Mother”. An emblematic figure who brings together all the inhabitants, whatever their origin, religion or age, she also watches over sailors and fishermen.

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