The fire that nearly destroyed Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris was devastating not only from a religious perspective, but also from a historical point of view. 

Most stories about the fire noted the historic and cultural significance of the cathedral, from its serving as a place of prayer for the French people during the Crusades, to General Charles de Gaulle’s visit to Notre-Dame in celebration of the liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation.

A visit through the archives of The B.C. Catholic turned up numerous articles about Notre-Dame, including in the June 29, 1944, issue.

In a story on Page 8, Pope Pius XII recalled his visit to the cathedral seven years earlier. Speaking just weeks before the liberation of Paris, he says, “Because beautiful France has become France now sorrowing and martyred, our love for her has become more tender than ever.”

Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, who would become Pope Pius XII a year later, at Notre-Dame Cathedral on July 13, 1937. The visit was recalled in a B.C. Catholic article in 1944 (below). (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

The B.C. Catholic of June 29, 1944, with a story (top left) about Cardinal Pacelli and his official visit to France in July 1937 as Vatican secretary of state.