Mary of Jesse

Feast Day: June 12

The tree of Jesse is a biblical name for the descendants of Jesse or Jesse, which also includes Jesus of Nazareth. Mary of Jesse has been venerated in the city of Delft since the Middle Ages.

In 1327, a new statue of Mary was placed in the “Oude Jan”. In that year, a woman from The Hague named Machteld, who had been blind for several years, had a vision one night. She was told to go to Delft to pray at the statue of Mary of Jesse. When she attended Holy Mass after praying, she regained her sight during the consecration. The statue was immediately placed on the shoulders of the bystanders and carried in triumph along the Delft canals. Out of gratitude, it was then decided to hold an annual procession, a "procession" in honor of Mary of Jesse.

In 1398, Pope Boniface IX granted an indulgence of two years and 80 days to all who visited the procession and venerated Mary of Jesse. This procession was repeated annually until it was put to an end by the Reformation (1573). In 1939, a statue was acquired that, according to old descriptions, is reminiscent of the original, dates from the same period and was made in Cologne or the surrounding area. This statue is located in the Maria van Jessekerk, in its own chapel, in the heart of old Delft.

The Catholic Student Association "Sanctus Virgilius" restored the custom in 1929. In 1930 there were fifteen participants, in 1931 approximately 300. In the former Joseph Church, now Maria van Jesse Church, a prayer chapel has been set up where there is also a medieval statue of the Blessed Virgin. Not the original Machteld wonder, because it was lost during the iconoclasm. Moreover, on the Sunday closest to June 12, Catholics hold a silent pilgrimage through the city center of Delft every year.

The Delftse Ommegang on June 16, 2024 has the theme 'Full of grace'

The Delft Ommegang, fully called the 'Ommegang in honor of Our Lady of Jesse', will be held this year on Sunday, June 16. This 95th edition of this annual Roman Catholic festival, which commemorates Mary's role in the miracle of Machteld in 1327, starts at 10:00 am with a moment of meditation in the Hippolytus Chapel on the Oude Delft. There will then be a silent prayer procession through the city center of Delft to the Maria van Jesse Church, where Pastor Broeders will lead a festive Eucharist celebration at 11:00 am. The singing is provided by the mixed choir Deo Sacrum led by Petra Veenswijk. A special role is played by the representation of the student association Sanctus Virgilius, because the revitalization of this party from 1929 onwards was led by one of its members. Since 1939, the organization of the Ommegang has been provided by the Guild of Our Lady of Jesse. In addition to the Guild, various beautifully dressed sister guilds and brotherhoods from other cities will be present.

Personal note from chairman Leo de Bondt:

I was Protestant and my wife-to-be Roman Catholic. I learned about the Catholic faith for 2 years from the fathers of the Open Deur in Delft.
In the chapel at Maria van Jesse's I became Catholic and Joke and I got engaged.