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What is a Sanctuary

A Sanctuary (or Shrine) is a sign of the active presence of God in time and in history.

It is a place of respite in which the people of God on our journey to the heavenly City - a place which can renew our strength for the pilgrim journey. 

- (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, Vatican City 2001, Ch 8, 262)

Our Sanctuary

The Sanctuary of Fourvière is a living Marian Shrine in Leithfield, New Zealand owned and run by the Community of the Beatitudes as an apostolate - a work of evangelisation. The Sanctuary  invites us to become sons and daughters of a new evangelisation in our families and communities.

The Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Light (Mater Lucis) with its replica golden statue connects pilgrims to the first Catholic missionaries who came to Oceania and Aotearoa from Fourvière in Lyon, France. There, a golden statue of Mary stands on top of the Basilica at the top of the hill which overlooks the whole of the city.

Fourvière holds a huge significance for both New Zealand and France. Fourvière is central to the story of how the seed of Faith was first sewn in the soils of both nations and watered by the blood of their respective first martyrs.

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Fr Pierre Marie Soubeyrand
Rector of the Sanctuary of Fourvière 
Leithfield, New Zealand

The journey of the Gospel to Oceania and Aotearoa

Jesus gave a great commission to his disciples...  "Be my witnesses to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8) and "make disciples of all nations" (Matt 28: 16-20)


The martyrs of Lyon

The disciples of St John

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Our Lady of Fourvière

The hill that prays


Bishop Pompallier

First Bishop of Oceania

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St Peter Chanel

First martyr of Oceania


Venerable Suzanne Aubert

Little Sister of the Curé of Ars


The Community of the Beatitudes

A new reality for the mission of the Church

Special Feast Days

Each year, there are four special feast days that are linked to the Sanctuary of Fourvière and hosted at the Sanctuary.


The Feast of St Peter Chanel

On or around 28th April

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Honouring the Venerable Suzanne Aubert

1st October

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The Feast of the Assumption of Mary

15th August


The Festival of Lights

Saturday Evening closest to 8th December

The Life of the Sanctuary

The rhythm of prayer of the Community of the Beatitudes gives life to the Sanctuary. Daily Mass, office of the Church, the Rosary and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament are open for the participation of pilgrims to the Sanctuary. In addition, there are special times for formation, anointing of the sick, special pilgrimages and popular devotions.



Saturdays 11am - 11:50

or by appointment

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Anointing of the Sick

Once a month (Times to be advised)



Beatitudes led Pilgrimages to Holy sites around New Zealand

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