In the tenth century, a wave of barbarism had spread across Europe after the break-up of the Empire of Charlemagne. Constant warfare menaced the life of the average Christian. Yet in the year 930, Confidence in Mary, Mother of God, triumphed over pessimism in a little town of Northern France. At Mezieres, the first known shrine was erected in honour of Our Lady of Hope. The next two centuries saw numerous sanctuaries dedicated to Mary under the same or similar titles. In face, throughout the Middle Ages and even down to the 17th Century, the erection of new shrines to Our Lady of Hope proved the widespread popularity of this devotion. Devotion to Our Lady of Hope was gradually eclipsed by the newer and better publicized devotion of modern times.
The revival of devotion to Our Lady of Hope in modern times was due to the zeal of a young Breton priest, Paul-Marie Prud'homme, later Canon of the Cathedral of St. Brieuc. When a seven-year-old child, hopelessly ill of typhoid fever, was cured through her intercession, the young priest threw himself wholeheartedly into the Apostolate of Hope. That was in February 1848, and the revolution, which broke out later in the same month providentially, aided his cause. The chapel of Our Lady of Hope became the centre of a crusade of prayer for France.