Charles Péguy (1873-1914) was a French poet and philosopher. Born to extreme poverty in Orléans, the home town of St. Joan of Arc, Péguy was a prominent nationalist and socialist. Mussolini cited his writings. He had a conversion, however, became Catholic, and experienced a tremendous devotion to the Blessed Mother. His poem Prayer of Confidence, about the Virgin of Chartres Cathedral, inspired a newfound appreciation of the beautiful gothic church sixty miles outside Paris, as well as to Mary. Péguy often walked in pilgrimage between the two famous churches: Notre Dame of Paris and Notre Dame of Chartres. In fact, this walking the French countryside would serve him well. He never abandoned his loyalty to France and became a lieutenant in the French Army when World War I started. Though the marches were no longer pilgrimages, Péguy still encountered Mary in the French countryside. The French and Belgian terrain is filled with “wayside shrines”: statues or monuments depicting Jesus and Mary. Most of these shrines are representations of the crucifixion with Mary at the foot of the cross or of the Pietà: Mary receiving her dead son's body from the cross. These shrines—many mutilated by bullets and shrapnel—were a source of tremendous consolation to the soldiers, as several attested. They would sing the Stabat Mater as they marched by giving them the assurance Mary was close to them in their terror. She could empathize with their pain. Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Good Comfort thus became two key figures of WWI. Mary was a grace to the soldiers, many of whom died, including Charles Péguy, who was killed heroically in the Battle of the Marne on September 5, 1914.