Oral tradition tells a story dating to the early centuries of the last millenium, when Richard the Lionheart and his knights rode through the Drot valley on their way to the Crusades of Jerusalem, resting and watering their horses at a fortified castle on a precipice. Among them was a priest, Pierre L’Hermite preaching, “God wants it!”, “Dieu li volt.”
As the millenium passed, the castle crumbled, but its chapel remained as the communal Church, and the small village was known as ‘Dieulivol’.
In 1940, a young Curé was sent to the Church of Dieulivol to become the village pastor. On hearing the story of ‘God wants it’, his heart resonated, and he decreed that God wanted a new war, to chase away sin, and bring peace.
Two years later, a small statue of ‘Our Lady’ was carried from Lourdes by pilgrims of Dieulivol, to find her place in a grotto behind the Church. The sanctuary was solemnised on St Marie’s day, 15th of August 1942.
In his speech that same year, the Pope invited christians to crusade for peace by conversion of their heart, for “God wants it”. Dieulivol christians took these words for themselves, and in August of 1943, they began a pilgrimage, carrying the little statue of Our Lady, from village to village, for five years, converting many to the peace of God, despite or because of, the sufferance of World War Two.
Today, Dieulivol is a most beloved and peaceful village in southwest France.