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Our Lady of Africa in Algeria

Intention of the day: For all people who live alone and those who have lost hope.

During the month of May, the Church around the world joins in a daily rosary for the intention of the end of the pandemic, as well as a specific intention related to the various victims of the virus.

Each day of the month, a different shrine will lead the daily rosary, according to local practice.

The beginning and the end of the Marathon of the Rosary (May 1 and 31) are animated by Pope Francis.

See below to follow the list of shrines.

Intention of the day 12: For all people who live alone and those who have lost hope

For today’s Relais du Rosaire, we are returning to Africa, this time to Algeria. Our Lady of Africa in Algiers is a beautiful neo-Byzantine basilica completed in 1872 under the architect Jean-Eugène Fromageau. It was built to withstand earthquakes and weather, given its location.

Since 1930, the White Fathers have been in charge of the basilica.

There are many Marian prayers and numerous inscriptions to Mary from parents offering their thanks for her intercession in the healing of their children and asking for Mary’s protection for their children.

In addition to honoring Notre-Dame, the basilica honors another wonderful mother, Saint Monica. Statues of Saint Augustine and Saint Monica are on either side of the church.

The dome, which culminates at 48 meters, (almost 160 feet) is surmounted by a cross of 4 tons. This beautifully proportioned dome is carved with Marian symbols. The triple stone crown of the dome symbolizes Mary Virgin, Mother and Queen.

A symbol of brotherhood

Our Lady of Africa is particularly significant because of her connection to the Algerian Muslim population. The inscription of the apse is present until today to give this dimension of the prayer in the basilica: “Our Lady of Africa, pray for us and for Muslims.”

There is a special day every year – The Muslim-Christian Marian Day (JMIC) of Algiers – an initiative of the Basilica of Our Lady of Africa to promote dialogue, peace and brotherhood between Christians and Muslims. This day is founded on the belief that Christians and Muslims are brothers and that together they can promote peace and understanding between men and women of all cultures, languages, peoples and nations.

In 2021, the day was a special edition, highlighting Algerian experiences of living together in peace.


The central fresco, entirely renewed in 1993, and which reproduces only partially the fresco of 1937 (by the Belgian painter Dékers), is the work of the Algerian Mohammed Bouti and the Mexican Salvador Lira. We see:

– on the ceiling: Mary and the child Jesus, on their left Saint Cyprian, on their right Saint Augustine, two great North African Christian thinkers, as well as Christians of the first centuries in North Africa

– on the ground: on the left, Cardinal Lavigerie (the bishop when the basilica was completed), Charles de Foucauld, Cardinal Duval; on the right is one of the French women who popularized a pilgrimage there. Other characters symbolize all the inhabitants of Africa in their diversity and also the White Fathers and the White Sisters.

Read more about Charles de Foucald’s connection to Algeria below. He will be canonized this year.


Here are some pictures of the basilica.