Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, Sainte-Marie
There’s an amazing old church in every small town in Martinique. These historic houses of worship are quite often the most beautiful structures in their respective towns. Nowhere is this more true than in Sainte-Marie. There, you’ll find Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church.
Anyone who has visited this town over the past 100+ years would find the church impossible to miss. Our Lady of the Assumption literally towers over Sainte-Marie, perched, as it is, atop the steep hill in the heart of town.
So prominent and stalwart stands Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, in fact, that it’s hard to imagine that the town ever existed without it.
History, though, teaches us otherwise…
Assiduous Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church
By the time Our Lady of the Assumption welcomed its first parishioners back on August 6, 1891, the town of Sainte-Marie had already been around for 233 years! The settlement is recognized as the oldest in Martinique, and the heart and soul of many uniquely Martinican cultural traditions.
That Our Lady of the Assumption could garner such a significant location in so established a town speaks to the importance and tremendously high esteem local residents must’ve placed on its construction.
Mother Nature, though, was not impressed.
Less than two weeks following its completion, Our Lady of the Assumption lay in ruins. Hurricane San Magín was to blame.
Undaunted, the people of Sainte-Marie soon set about rebuilding their church on the same lofty spot. Just over a decade later, though, more disaster.
On August 8, 1903, the 1903 Jamaica Hurricane dealt Sainte-Marie and Our Lady of Assumption another harsh blow. The church was destroyed anew.
Third Time’s The Charm?
After having their church destroyed twice in the span of just 12 years, you might think the people of Sainte-Marie a little wary of re-building for a third time on the same spot, right?
Yeah, no chance.
In short order, Our Lady of the Assumption was re-built once more. The location was the same, but no doubt the construction was much stronger as the third version still stands today.
(Editor’s note: For tips on the best time of year to visit Sainte-Marie, check out this earlier post on Îlet Sainte-Marie and its famous Tombolo.)
Our Lady of the Assumption espouses a grand, Baroque architectural style. A broad staircase cascades from its base to the street – Rue Amedee Knight – which runs straight downhill from the church to the sea.
The combination casts an utterly striking profile.
Anyone happening upon Rue Amedee Knight while walking along the waterfront is compelled at the sight to scale the hill. This, no doubt, was the plan all along.
And all the more reason to remain stubborn about the location.