In the middle of Saint-Aurélien square, a statue of Our Lady of Pity was erected, by request of the butchers’ wives in the late 19th century. The butchers’ corporation was very pious. There are several similar statues in the area.
From the beginning of the 15th century, the town’s butchers established a fraternity : a community of laymen whose goal was to help each other and to pray to their patron saint. They chose Saint Aurélien to be their protector. He was the city’s second bishop (the 1st being Saint Martial) in the 4th century. The butchers built a chapel in 1475 to protect the saint’s relics. Its existence shows the butchers’ religious fervour as well as their great fortune.
Another testimony of their faith occurred in the 17th century when they joined the Feuille-Morte Penitents, a group of laymen who practiced penitence and charity during the Counter Reformation.
During the Revolution, the butchers secretly saved their saint’s relics and bought the confiscated chapel back from the State. They purchased a cross monument and placed it at the chapel’s entrance.
A fervent popular devotion
Limoges’s active and prosperous Butchers’ Fraternity left its mark in the city. Observe the traces of its members’ devotion through the numerous statues and the private chapel that was built.