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Ferrero Rocher was inspired by the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes (CNA)

Many know Ferrero Rocher for its popular hazelnut chocolates, but the company’s tie to Our Lady of Lourdes is lesser known. Source: CNA.

Michele Ferrero, the company’s founder and a devout Catholic, had a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and wanted to honour her through his work. It is reported that he named his company “Rocher” after the rock grotto, the Rocher de Massabielle, which marks the location where the Virgin Mary appeared to St Bernadette in Lourdes, France.

In fact, “rocher” means “rock” in French. With this in mind, many point to the chocolate’s crunchy coating and uneven gold wrapping as Ferrero’s attempt to resemble this rock formation at Lourdes, which had a special meaning to the chocolatier. 

At the 50th anniversary of the founding of the company, Ferrero said: “The success of Ferrero we owe to Our Lady of Lourdes; without her we can do little.”

In an interview with CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, ACI Prensa last year, Lourdes sanctuary chaplain Fr Mauricio Elias said: “Mr Ferrero had a lot of devotion to the Virgin of Lourdes; he came a lot to Lourdes and was a benefactor.”

“He was a man who always came here, he had a lot of devotion to the Virgin, he confessed, he led a Christian life,” Fr Elias added.

It was said that Ferrero made annual pilgrimages to Lourdes and also organised a visit for his employees. He also had a statue of the Virgin Mary in each of his company’s 14 production facilities around the world.

Ferrero passed away on February 14, 2015, at the age of 89. Shortly before his death, a flood damaged the sanctuary at Lourdes. Ferrero promised “a great donation to recover what was lost,” Fr Elias said. After his death, his children kept their father’s promise and helped with the repairs. 


Ferrero Rocher: The chocolate inspired by Our Lady of Lourdes (By Francesca Pollio Fenton, CNA)