In the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Fontgombault, a Benedictine monastery of Salesian Brothers open daily 7 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2 - 7 p.m, department Indre, region Centre, 12th century.
Our Lady of a Happy Death
(Notre Dame du bien Mourir, literally Our Lady of Good Dying)
Our Lady's monastery goes back to a hermit by the name of Gombaud who lived in a cave on the site around the year 1000. This Black Madonna was originally known as Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces. For centuries she watched over the Abbey from her vantage point, high above the northern portal of the abbatial church, overlooking a garden and the little cemetery of the monks. Her name change goes back to an incident during the Revolution: A young man had climbed a latter with the intent of destroying this statue. He was swinging a hammer, but before he could hurt her he fell and was fatally wounded. He lived just long enough to realized the error of his ways, repent, and make his peace with God and his Mother. This was seen as a great grace granted him and his Catholic brethren.
The reputedly miracle working Madonna of a Happy Death is invoked as a guide through the last test of dying as well as a helper in the conversion of sinners and healer of the sick.
In 1991, on the occasion of the nine-hundredth birthday of Fontgombault Abbey, the statue was solemnly crowned by the archbishop of Czestochowa, Poland. Now she no longer resides outside overlooking the cemetery but in a place of honor in the nave of the abbatial church.