St. Erkembode's Tomb – Saint-Omer, France - Atlas Obscura
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St. Erkembode's Tomb

Saint-Omer Cathedral
Saint-Omer, France

The tomb of a hard traveling saint is constantly covered in shoes as offerings to heal disabled youth. 


Located in France’s Saint-Omer Cathedral, the tomb of Saint Erkembode is continually adorned with children’s shoes as an offering in exchange for blessings on kids who can’t walk. 

As the story goes Saint Erkenbode operated in the widespread Diocese of Therouanne. In his attempts to spread the good word and help the poor by purchasing land to redistribute at a low price. During his long treks, his legs eventually gave way and he was paralyzed just before he died. In honor of this, pilgrims visiting his tomb at Saint-Omer began leaving their shoes on the exposed sarcophagus. Over the years this tradition morphed into the habit of the forlorn or those with crippled children leaving children’s shoes on top of the grave. The Catholic church periodically clears the ancient tomb of footwear but this has not stopped the grieving from refreshing the supply of tiny shoes.    

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