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A National Vow approved by the Pope
In 1870, France’s defeat in the war against Prussia left a bitter taste in the country. Two Catholic businessmen, Alexandre Legentil and his brother-in-law Hubert Rohault de Fleury, vowed to build a shrine dedicated to the Heart of Jesus, in order to redeem the spiritual faults that had led to France’s defeat. In 1871, they drew up a National Vow approved by the Archbishop of Paris, Monsignor Guibert, and Pope Pius IX to collect donations. A law of public utility was passed in 1873 to allow developers to acquire land at the top of the Montmartre hill. Construction of the Sacré-Cœur (Sacred Heart) began in 1875.
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