A Luxembourg performance artist shocked onlookers by posing naked in front of the Marian shrine in Lourdes on Friday.
Deborah de Robertis was arrested after “sexual exhibition” and is expected to go to court next May.
“We deplore such contempt for religious conscience and freedom of worship,” the Lourdes Sanctuary said in a statement.
The Lourdes shrine is where 160 years ago there were apparitions of Mary to a 14-year-old peasant girl, St. Bernadette Soubirous. The water from a spring in the Grotto is believed to have curative powers, and the shrine is visited by millions of people every year.
The sanctuary called for “respect for the sanctity of our places of worship in accordance with the principle of religious freedom,” and also offered its “regrets to the pilgrims present and especially to the families accompanying children.”
De Robertis’s actions took place during a Eucharistic procession.
As the 34-year-old posed in a praying position in front of the famed grotto of the shrine, an onlooker attempted to cover her with a veil. The police were called, and she was escorted off the premises.
“The police were called by people on the spot, they arrested her and placed her in custody for a few hours. The 34-year-old performer was ordered to attend the correctional hearing on 19th May to be tried for sexual exhibition,” said Pierre Aurignac, the local prosecutor.
Last October, she was given community service after posing nude in front of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
De Robertis said she was “questioning the place of women in the history of art.”