Our Lady of Laus--- Laus, France 1664
At the age of seventeen, Benoite (the name means blessed) Rencurel was tending sheep to help with the family expenses. While kneeling in the field to recite the rosary, which she customarily did, a man clothed in bishop's vestments appeared to her. He identified himself as St. Maurice, to whom a nearby chapel had been dedicated. He directed her to a valley and said the Mother of God would visit her.
The next morning she saw a lady of incomparable beauty holding the hand of a beautiful child who stood beside her. Thinking she could not possibly be i the company of the Queen of Heaven, Benoite spoke politely to her. The lady smiled but did not reply. The following day Benoite was visited again. For four months the vision appeared every day, speaking with her and asking her to pray continually for the conversion of sinners. During this time the Blessed Virgin taught her the Litany of Loreto and requested that she teach it to others and sing it each evening in church.
Because the apparitions became known and continued, the magistrate of Avancon Valley, a Catholic man, conducted a serious examination. He concluded that the apparitions were not deceptive. Benoite asked the lady to identify herself. She was told, 'I am Mary, the Mother of Jesus. My Son wishes to be especially honored in this valley.'
After four months the Virgin told Benoite the apparitions would continue in the Laus chapel in southern France at the foot of the Alps. The lady requested a larger church be built at that same place, with a building added for resident priests, saying that it would '...be built in honor of my dear Son and Myself. Here many sinners will be converted. I will appear to you often here...and that nothing would be lacking.'
In 1665 the Blessed Mother requested that Benoite stop tending flocks in order to devote herself to her mission, 'to pray continually for sinners and to serve priests who devoted themselves to the sacrament of penance.
At this site many were converted and healed. The matter of the authenticity of the apparitions was soon considered by the authorities of the diocese of Embrun, including several prelates who seriously doubted the validity of all that was happening. After witnessing the cure of a well-known cripple, Catherine Vial, all doubts were forgotten. Fr. Gaillard who was a witness wrote, 'I am a faithful witness of all that occurred here.' Another authority declared, 'There is something extraordinary occurring in that chapel. Yes, the hand of God is there.' In 1665 authorization was given for the construction of the church the Blessed Mother had requested.
A phenomenon that occurred early in the apparitions and continues to this very day is the heavenly perfume that enveloped the area. Flowers are not usually allowed at the shrine to prevent any confusion between them and the heavenly fragrance.
Eventually Benoite was visited by the suffering Saviour and received the stigmata on a Friday in July of 1673. She suffered these wounds from Thursday at four o'clock until Saturday at nine. She lay on her bed, her arms extended in the form of a cross, her feet crossed over one another, and she was 'rigid as an iron bar'.
On Christmas Day in 1718 it was revealed to her that she would die in three days. She died peacefully on December 28th at seventy-one years of age.
Final approval of the apparition was given on May 5, 2008. The introduction of the cause of Benoite's canonization was made on September 7, 1871. On April 3, 2009 the decree of heroic virtues was promulgated by the Vatican, and she can now be addressed as Venerable.
Our Lady of Las Lajas--- Guaitara Canyon, Colombia 1754
The portrait of Our Lady of Las Lajas is a miraculous image similar to the tilma of Our Lady Of Guadalupe in Mexico City, in that the formation of the painting cannot be explained. The portrait of Las Lajas is attached to a slab of rock. No paint or dye was used, and, like the tilma of Juan Diego, no brushstrokes are visible, despite meticulous inspections. Geologists were permitted to bore small holes in the rock that holds the image of Las Lajas. They found the image evenly penetrates into the rock. Historians and scientists cannot explain this mystery.
One day, in 1754, an Indian woman named Maria Mueses de Quinones, was walking with her small daughter, Rosa, from her village of Potosi to the village of Ipiales. They approached the area of Las Lajas (the Rock) where the trail passes through a deep gorge of the Guaitara River. Rumors had it that the place was haunted.
A rainstorm unexpectedly started so she ran into a cave ahead with her daughter. While invoking the protection of the Virgin of the Rosary she suddenly felt someone touching her shoulder as though trying to get her attention. Without looking back to see who it was she ran back out into the storm, holding Rosa tightly.
Days later Maria and Rosa, who was a deaf-mute from birth, needed to make the same trip again. They stopped to rest on a stone near the cave. Then the first miracle of Our Lady of Las Lajas took place. The child suddenly spoke. 'Mommy, look at the lady with the little boy in her arms.' She slid from her mother's lap, but Maria grabbed her and rushed from that mysterious place. When they returned home Maria told her story and friends and neighbors were amazed that Rosa could now speak and hear.
The next day Maria looked for Rosa but could not find her. Maria returned to the cave and found the child kneeling before a beautiful, radiant woman and playing with a small child. Maria realized she was in the presence of the Blessed Mother and the Child Jesus. She knelt in admiration and reverence. It seemed the Mother and Child had detached themselves temporarily from the portrait.
One day it happened that Rosa became very ill and she eventually died. Remembering the beautiful lady and how she had healed Rosa earlier, Maria carried her to the cave and implored the Lady to restore Rosa to life. Our Lady answered her prayers when the child awoke in perfect health. Friends and neighbors were overwhelmed with awe and followed Maria to the apparition site.
News spread quickly and many came to visit the cave. The image of the Blessed Virgin holding her Son was amazing. Pictured with the Mother and Child are St. Dominic on one side, who was receiving a rosary from the Virgin, and on the other side was St. Francis of Assisi receiving a the Franciscan cord from the Child Jesus. These two are the founders of the Orders that first evangelized Colombia, the Dominicans and the Franciscans.
A church was constructed and protects the image which is in it's original place, and in the church the image is located behind the main altar. Pope Pius XII, in 1952, granted a canonical crowning of Our Lady of Las Lajas. The Gothic church was elevated to the dignity of a minor basilica in the presence of the entire Colombian episcopate.
Our Lady of LA Vang--- La Vang, Vietnam 1798
In the sixteenth century there were disputes between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. Eventually war broke out. The south opened their part of the country to foreign merchant ships in exchange for guns and ammunition. This is when Catholicism was introduced to their country. A Dominican, Fr. Diego Aduarte came in 1593 and established a mission in Ding Cat. Later the Jesuits came, and with the increase in Catholics, thirty-seven parishes were established.
Catholicism was marginally tolerated because of the relationship the country had with other more powerful countries in Europe. Persecution of Catholics dates back to 1640. Those in power became displeased with the Spanish merchants and killed two missionaries. Other priests were expelled and many Catholics were martyred. Periodic persecution of the Vietnamese Catholics continued until in 1798 when it escalated. The ruling dynasty decreed that Catholicism was introduced by foreigners with the purpose of recruiting and influencing the working class against them. Direct attacks were aimed at all thirty-seven parishes. Many of the faithful died as martyrs.
Many Catholics retreated to the jungle where they suffered hunger and sickness, and prepared themselves for martyrdom. Several Catholics near La Vang also retreated. One night they were saying the rosary and the beautiful Mother of God appeared. She wore a long cape over her gown and was holding a beautiful Child in her arms. Two angels stood prayerfully on either side. They immediately recognized her as the Blessed Mother.
The Lady recommended that they boil leaves of the ferns (La Vang means ferns) to use as medicine. She told them that those who prayed their prayers would be answered.As soon as it was possible, the people erected a small chapel in her honor. As reports spread, many journeyed to the site of the apparition, despite it's remote location high in the mountains.
After the persecution, Bishop Gaspar of La Vang ordered that a church be built at the site of the apparition. Because of it's hard to reach location in the mountains,When the it took years to complete. When the church was completed, during the solemn ceremony of it's dedication, the bishop proclaimed that the Lady of La Vang was the Protector of the Catholic communities. A larger church was built, but was destroyed during the Vietnam War.
With the validation of many cures and favors, another more beautiful church was built. This was elevated to a minor basilica by Pope John XXIII. On June 19, 1988, Pope John Paul II, in canonizing 117 Vietnamese martyrs, recognized the importance of Our Lady to the Vietnamese people.
The sanctuary is an important site of pilgrimage for Catholics in Vietnam and for the Catholic Overseas Vietnamese Community. To accommodate the pilgrims the La Vang Boarding House was constructed. The Vietnamese people have dedicated many churches in the United States to Our Lady of La Vang.
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal--- Rue du Bac, Paris, France 1830
The visionary of the Miraculous Medal, Catherine Laboure, was born on May 2, 1806, in the village of Fain-les-Moutiers, France. Her mother died when Catherine was nine years old. It was then that she chose the Blessed Mother for her mother and protector. She preferred to attend daily Mass at a chapel near her home, rather than play with the other children around her. When she was older she turned down two marriage proposals. I trying to discourage her from religious life, her father sent Catherine to live with her brother who ran a restaurant in Paris. She worked there as a waitress until the age of 23. No longer needing the permission of her father, in 1803 she entered the Order of the Daughters of Charity at Catillon-sur-Seine. A few months later she was transferred to the Mother House on the Rue-de-Bac in Paris.
On July 18, 1830, the eve of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, Catherine was awakened during the night by her guardian angel. The angel, appearing as a child, announced, 'Sister Laboure, come to the chapel, the Blessed Virgin awaits you'. She dressed quickly and went to the chapel. St. Catherine tells what happened next:
The child led me into the sanctuary near the director's chair. And there I knelt down and the child remained standing. As I found the time dragging, I looked around.....Finally the child alerted me. He said to me, 'Here is the Blessed Virgin---here she is!' I heard a sound like the rustling of a silk dress which came from near the picture of St. Joseph. The Blessed Mother then approached the altar steps at the Gospel side and gracefully sat down on the chair which is kept there. I sprang forward with one leap to her side---kneeling with my hands resting on the knees of the Blessed Virgin. There I spent the sweetest moments in my life. It would be impossible for me to tell all that I experienced.
This is the only instance in which a visionary touched the sacred body of the Queen of Heaven and the only time in which the visionary spent two hours in intimate conversation with her.
In a voice of profound respect, the child angel whispered, 'The Blessed Mother wishes to speak with you.' The vision sadly announced:
God wishes to charge you with a mission. You will be contradicted, but do not fear, you will have the grace to do what is necessary. Tell your spiritual director all that passes within you. Times are evil in France and in the world. Come to the foot of the altar. Graces will be shed on all, great and little, especially upon those who seek for them. You will have the protection of God and Saint Vincent. I will always have my eyes upon you. There will be much persecution. The Cross will be treated with contempt. It will be hurled to the ground and blood will flow. The whole world will be in an upheaval due to all sorts of troubles...Come to the foot of this altar. There graces will be shed upon all those who ask for them with confidence and fervor.
After secretly confiding other matters to Catherine the vision slowly disappeared. The angel led her back to her dormitory, and she slipped into bed.
On November 27 that same year, in the late afternoon, Catherine was in the chapel with other sisters when she recognized the swish of silk. Catherine tells what transpired:
Turning in that direction, I saw the Blessed Virgin, at the level of St. Joseph's picture. The Virgin was standing. She was of medium height, and clothed all in white. Her dress was of the whiteness of dawn, made in the style called 'a la Vierge,' that is, high neck and plain sleeves. A white veil covered her head and fell on either side to her feet. Under the veil her hair, in coils, was bound with a fillet ornamented with lace, about three centimeters in height or of two fingers breadth, without pleats and resting lightly on the hair. Her face was sufficiently exposed, indeed exposed very well, and so beautiful that it seems impossible to express her ravishing beauty. Her feet rested on a white globe and there was also a serpent, green in color with yellow spots.
Her hands were raised to the height of the stomach and held, in a very relaxed manner and as if offering it ti God, a golden ball surmounted with a little golden cross, which represented the world. Her eyes were now raised to heaven, now lowered. Her face was of such beauty that I could not describe it.
All at once I saw rings on her fingers, three rings to each finger, one of medium size in the middle, the smallest one at the tip. Each ring was set with gems, some more beautiful than others; the larger gems emitted greater rays and the smaller gems, smaller rays; the rays bursting from all sides flooded the base, so that I could no longer see the feet of the Blessed Virgin.
The Blessed Mother then explained that the gems are, 'the symbols of the graces I shed upon those who ask for them.'
The golden globe that the Virgin held slowly disappeared and there appeared around the Virgin an oval frame on which brilliant gold letters read. 'O Mary, conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to thee.' The vision reversed itself and there appeared the Virgin's monogram, a cross intertwined and an 'M' which is found on the back of the Miraculous Medal. Under the monogram are the flaming hearts of the Sacred Heart surrounded with thorns, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced with a sword. In the oval frame the whole is surrounded by twelve stars which represent the vision of St. John in the Book of Revelation (12:1).
The vision then said, 'Have a medal struck after this model. All who wear it will receive great graces; they should wear it around the neck. Graces will abound for those who wear it with confidence.'
The third vision was almost identical to the second, except that the Virgin moved to a position above and behind the tabernacle. There is now a statue there made in the likeness of the vision.
Catherine reported these visions only to her superior and to her spiritual director. Many difficulties had to be overcome before the medals were made and distributed. The medal quickly became known as miraculous because of the many favors received by those who wore it.
After her profession, Catherine was assigned to the hospice on the Rue de Reuilly. She spent forty-six years there performing menial tasks for the aged, sick, and infirm. The sisters who worked with her were aware that someone in their midst was the visionary, but did not know who until Catherine was on her deathbed. Catherine died on December 31, 1876. She was canonized on July 27, 1947. Her body remains incorrupt in the crystal-sided reliquary at the motherhouse. The chair on which Our Lady sat is also there.
Our Lady of the Miracle--- Rome, Italy 1842
(Our Lady of Zion)
Born to a wealthy family, Marie Alphonse Ratisbonne was the heir of a wealthy of bankers. While he was young his brother converted to Catholicism and became a priest. Alphonse resolved to never speak to his brother again and developed a deep hatred for the Catholic faith.
In his late twenties, he took a trip through Europe, where he eventually arrived in Rome.
While there he encountered a former Protestant classmate whose friend, Baron Theodore de Bussieres, was a convert to Catholicism. Baron Theodore was also a close friend of Alphonse's priest brother.
Eager to convert his new friend, the Baron challenged Alphonse to a little test.Alphonse would wear the Miraculous Medal and recite every day the Memorare. Alphonse agreed, sure that this would not affect him.
Determined to convert him, the Baron the help of his friends, many who were converts themselves, to pray for the conversion of Alphonse.
Soon after, when the Baron was arranging a funeral of a friend at the church of St. Andrea delle Fratte in Rome, he brought Alphonse with him. He asked Alphonse to wait while he spoke with the priest. He returned shotly and found Alphonse on his knees reciting the Memorare while crying profusely. This is what he said happened:
I was scarcely in the church when a total confusion came over me. When I looked up, it seemed to me that the entire Church had been swallowed up in shadow, except one chapel. It was as though all the light was concentrated in that single place. I looked over towards this chapel whence so much light shone, and above the altar was a living figure, tall, majestic, beautiful, and full of mercy. It was the Most Holy Virgin Mary resembling her figure on the Miraculous Medal. At this sight I fell on my knees right where I stood. Unable to look up because of the blinding light, I fixed my glance on her hands, and in them I could read the expression of mercy and pardon. In the presence of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, even though she did not speak a word to me, I realized the frightful situation I was in, my sins, and the beauty of the Catholic Faith.
Weak from his experience, the Baron helped him to his hotel room, Alphonse sobbing uncontrollably. He asked. 'When can I receive Baptism without which I can no longer live?' He took off his Miraculous Medal and held it up crying, 'I saw her! I saw her!'
The Baron took him to a Jesuit retreat house where he took instruction from Father Villefort. Then, at the hands of His Emminence Cardinal Patrizi, the Vicar of His Holiness, Alphonse was baptized, confirmed, and received his First Holy Communion.
A Vatican investigation determined that the conversion was miraculous. A picture of the Madonna of the Miraculous was painted according to Alphonse's description and placed in the same place where she appeared.
Alphonse reconciled with his brother and assisted him in founding the Sisterhood of Our Lady of Zion. Alphonse became a priest of the Society of Jesus, but eventually left, with permission from Pope Pius IX, to assist the Sisters of Zion. He built for them a large convent, a school, and an orphanage. Then another convent, church, and orphanage for girls was established. Alphonse stayed there, laboring with a few companions for the conversion of Jews and Muslims, until his death on May 6, 1884.
Pope Leo XIII visited there in 1892 to crown the Holy Virgin with a splendid diadem. Pope Pius XII elevated the church to the rank of a basilica, and in 1960 Pope John XXIII elevated the basilica, St. Andrea delle Fratte, to the title of a Cardinal's Church.
Our Lady of Lourdes---Lourdes, France 1858
The visionary of Our Lady of Lourdes, Bernadette Soubirous, lived in Lourdes, a small village in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Born on January 7, 1844, she had asthma most of her life. Because of this she was always a weak child. She also did not do well in school.
When Bernadette was fourteen years old the Blessed Virgin appeared to her. Her first appearance was on February 11, 1858. She appeared to Bernadette eighteen times during that year. Only Bernadette could see and hear the apparition.
Here is the story that Bernadette tells:
I heard a great noise like the sound of a storm. I looked to the right, to the left, under the trees of the river, but nothing moved; I thought I was mistaken...I was frightened and stood straight up. I lost all power of speech and though when, turning my head toward the grotto, I saw at one of the openings of the rock a rosebush, one only, moving as if it were very windy. Almost at the same time there came out of the interior of the grotto a golden-colored cloud, and soon after a Lady, young and beautiful, exceedingly beautiful, the like of whom I had never seen, came and placed herself at the entrance of the opening above the rosebush. She looked at me immediately, smiled at me and signed to me to advance, as if she had been my mother. All fear had left me but I seemed to know no longer where I was.I rubbed my eyes, I shut them, I opened them; but the Lady was still there continuing to smile at me and making me understand I was not mistaken. Without thinking of what I was doing, I took my rosary in my hands and went on my knees. The Lady made a sign of approval with her head and herself took into her hands a rosary which hung on her right arm. When I attempted to begin the rosary and tried to lift my hand to my forehead, my arm remained paralyzed, and it was only after the Lady had signed herself that I could do the same. The Lady left me to pray all alone; only at the end of each decade did she say the Gloria with me. When the recitation of the Rosary was finished, the Lady returned to the interior of the rock and the golden cloud disappeared with her.
It would have been inappropriate for the Lady to ask the Father for her daily bread, and she would not salute herself by reciting the Hail Mary, but she would quite willingly give praise to the Holy Trinity.
Bernadette tells us this about the appearance of the beautiful Lady:
She had the Appearance of a young girl of sixteen or seventeen. She is dressed in a white robe, girdled at the waist with a blue ribbon which flows down all around it. A yoke closes in graceful pleats at the base of the neck; the sleeves are long and tight-fitting. She wears upon her head a veil which is also white; this veil gives just a glimpse of her hair and then falls down at the back of her waist. Her feet are bare but covered by the last folds of her robe except at the point where a yellow rose shines upon each of them. She holds on her right arm a rosary of white beads with a chain shining like the two roses on her feet.
During one of the early visitations the Virgin told Bernadette, 'I cannot promise to make you happy in this world, only in the next.' During the fifth vision the Lady taught Bernadette a daily prayer, but it was only meant for her to say. She was given three secrets, which also were never revealed.During the Sixth apparition Bernadette was told to 'Pray for sinners.' The seventh apparition lasted almost two hours. Towards the end of it Bernadette moved from the spot where she had been praying, while still on her knees, to a place beneath the rosebush under where the Lady stood. She kissed the ground then returned to her original place, while still on her knees. During the eighth apparition the Virgin said three times, 'Penance! Penance! Penance!'
During the ninth visit Bernadette was told, 'Drink from the fountain and bathe in it.' There had never been a fountain at this place, Massabielle, nor any kind of natural spring. Bernadette began to dig the ground until a little pool of water appeared. She cupped her hands and drank. Then she washed her face in the muddy water. The Lady also asked her to eat of the grasses, which she did. The next day the pool was overflowing. It is this water, which is distributed throughout the world, that has proved to be miraculous.
During the thirteenth visit the Lady asked Bernadette to contact the clergy to have a chapel built that people should come to in procession. Family members and visitors asked many times for Bernadette to ask the identity of the Lady. Bernadette did, but the Lady did not respond. During the sixteenth apparition Bernadette asked once more, and she responded, "I am the Immaculate Conception.'
Four years before the apparitions to Bernadette began, Pope Pius IX had declared the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary to be an 'article of faith' to be believed by all Catholics.
During the seventeenth visit, while Bernadette was in an ecstatic trance, she held in her left hand, as she always did during an apparition, a lighted candle. The people there saw her move her right hand over the flame and hold it there for for several minutes. She did not flinch from pain, nor was there any damage done to her hand.
The eighteenth and final apparition took place on Friday July 16, 1858. Four years later the bishop of the diocese declared the faithful to be 'justified in believing the reality of the apparitions'. The basilica the Lady requested was built and consecrated, and the statue that had been placed in the hollow of the rock was solemnly crowned. Another church was built, The Church of the Rosary. Pope Leo XIII authorized an office and a mass in commemoration of the apparition. Pope Pius X, in 1907, authorized the feast to be observed throughout the entire church on February 11, the anniversary of the first apparition.
Bernadette became a Sister of Charity of Nevers. She lived in the convent where she spent most of her time in the infirmary, suffering from tuberculosis of the right knee. She died of this on April 16, 1879. Her incorrupt body can be viewed in a reliquary of gold and glass in the chapel of the motherhouse in Nevers, France.
Every day in Lourdes Our Lady's wish is realized. There is a procession of thousands who participate in a candlelight procession. Many of these people are sick and lame. They pray for a cure, drink of the miraculous water, and dip themselves into the tubs of water. Many of the prayers are answered.
Our Lady of Good Help--- Champion (New Franken), Wisconsin, United States 1859
These were the first apparitions to be approved in the United States. The declaration took place on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2010. Bishop L. Ricken of Green Bay formally announced that the appearances of the Blessed Mother to Adele Brise in 1859 were authentic.
I declare with moral certainty and in accord with the norms of the Church that the events, apparitions and locutions given Adele Brise in 1859 do exhibit the substance of supernatural character, and I do hereby approve these apparitions as worthy of belief by the Christian faithful.
The first apparition was recorded by Sister Pauline LaPlant. This is what Adele related to her:
Adele was going to the grist mill about four miles from Champion with a sack of wheat on her head. As Adele came near the place, she saw a lady all in white standing between two trees, one a maple, the other a hemlock. Adele was frightened and stood still. The vision slowly disappeared leaving a white cloud after it. Adele continued on her errand and returned home without seeing anything more. She told her parents what had happened, and they wondered what it could be---perhaps a poor soul who needed prayers?
The second apparition was recorded by Sister Pauline as follows:
On the following Sunday,October 9, 1859, Adele had to pass there again on her way to Mass at the Bay Settlement, about eleven miles from her home. This time she was not alone, but was accompanied by her sister, Isabel, and a neighbor woman, Mrs. Vander Niesses. When they approached the trees, the same lady in white was standing where Adele had seen her before. Adele was again frightened and said, almost in a tone of reproach, 'Oh, there is that lady again.'
Adele had not the courage to go on. The other two did not see anything, but they could tell by Adele's face that she was afraid. They thought, too, that it might be a poor soul who needed prayers. They waited a few minutes, until Adele told them it was gone. The vision had disappeared as during the first time, and all Adele could see remaining was a little mist or white cloud. After Mass, Adele went to confession and told her confessor how she had been frightened at the sight of a lady in white. Father William Verhoef bade her not to fear, and to speak to him of this outside the confessional. Father Verhoef told her that if it were a heavenly messenger, she would see it again, and it would not harm her, but ask in God's name who it was and what it desired of her. After that, Adele had more courage. She started home with her two companions and a man who had been clearing land for the Holy Cross Fathers.
That same day:
As they approached the hallowed spot (October 9, 1859), Adele could see the beautiful lady clothed in dazzling white, with a yellow sash around her waist. Her dress fell to her feet in graceful folds. She had a crown of stars around her head, and her long, golden, wavy hair fell loosely around her shoulders. Such a heavenly light shone around her that Adele could hardly look back at her sweet face. Overcome by this heavenly light and the beauty of her amiable visitor, Adele fell on her knees and asked, 'In God's name who are you and what do you want of me?'
The beautiful lady responded, 'I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same. You received Holy Communion this morning, and that is well. But you must do more. Make a general confession, and offer Communion for the conversion of sinners. If they do not convert and do penance, my Son will be obliged to punish them.'
When one of Adele's companions asked Adele, 'Who is it and why can't we see her as you do?' Adele said, 'Kneel. The Lady says she is the Queen of Heaven.' The Blessed Mother turned, looked at the companions and said, 'Blessed are they that believe without seeing.' Then looking at Adele she asked, 'What are you doing here in idleness...while your companions are working in the vineyard of my Son?"
'What more can I do, dear Lady? Adele asked while shedding heartfelt tears. 'How shall I teach them who know so little myself?'
The radiant visitor instructed, 'Teach them their catechism, how to sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross, and how to approach the sacraments; that is what I wish you to do. Go and fear nothing. I will help you.'
After the Lady lifted her hands as though beseeching a blessing for those at her feet, she slowly vanished, leaving Adele prostrate on the ground.
Some scoffed at Adele's vision, but her father believed her. He honored the apparition by erecting a small chapel near the place of her vision. Shortly after the visions Adele honored the directives of the Blessed Mother and began catechizing children and correcting sinners throughout the area. Her efforts were so effective that the Reverend Philip Crud, in 1865, advised her to solicit funds for the building of a convent and to recruit help from pious women. A group of Franciscan tertiaries, with Adele as their superior, assisted Adele in all her efforts, and often asked asked local farmers for produce, grain and met to feed the students and her little community.
Even though Adele's efforts were rejected by Church authorities, many joined in prayer for the success of the shrine. Soon miracles took place; cures of the blind and lame. The most spectacular one occurred on October 9 and 10, 1871, which was the anniversary of Adele's third apparition.
This miracle involved the Peshtigo Fire, which began and very quickly spread through 400 square miles of northeastern Wisconsin, killing about 1500 people.It soon spread to the Belgian region. Many fled to the lake for refuge while Adele and her community called upon Heaven for protection. To demonstrate their confidence in the Blessed Virgin, they removed her statue from the chapel and carried it in procession around the perimeter of the land together with all the people who had come there for protection. This was to be the first of many processions. When the fire was extinguished, it was seen that the fire had destroyed all the land outside the chapel grounds and had stopped abruptly at the fence. It had miraculously left undisturbed the five acres of the shrine and all the cattle and farm animals which had been brought there for safety.
Sister Adele had been doing well until one day on her way to Mass she was thrown from a wagon. From that day on she was in constant physical pain until her death. One day Sister aid. ' I rejoice in what was said to me. We shall go into the house of the Lord.' She died that day, July 5, 1896, at the age of sixty-six. Adele was laid to rest at the little cemetery near the chapel.
The chapel Adele's father built became too small for the many visitors who came to the site. One wood chapel replaced another until a brick one was built. This received the blessing of Bishop Krautbauer in October 1880. In the chapel there are carefully preserved remnants of the trees that were taken down so the chapel could be built, as well as other precious relics.
Today beautiful brick buildings house a convent, a school, and a chapel with a crypt that was dedicated in July 1942. The crypt and the altar stand over the site of the apparitions. Behind them are a number of crutches that represent the many miracles that occurred at the shrine. There is an outdoor Way of the Cross and a rosary walk for the many visitors to the shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. Every year, on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption, a procession takes place in commemoration of the procession that happened during the Peshtigo Fire. An outdoor Holy Mass is offered for the thousands in attendance.
Our Lady of Hope--- Pontmain, France 1871
Prussian forces had besieged Paris, and much of France was in complete disarray. The little town of Laval was next, and then Pontmain would be easily taken.
At about six o'clock in the evening two brothers, Eugene who was twelve and Joseph Barbadette who was ten, were working in their father's barn. Eugene walked outside to check the weather. Above his neighbor's house he saw a beautiful Lady smiling at him. Their parents did not see the apparition but Eugene and Joseph did. There were five phases to this apparition.
Joseph described the vision during the first phase as follows:
In the air above Augustin Guidecoq's house, I saw a woman of extraordinary beauty. She appeared to be young, about eighteen or twenty years of age, and tall of stature. She was clad in a garment of deep blue. When we were told to describe exactly the shade of this blue, we could only do so by comparing it to balls of indigo such as laundresses use for rinsing linen. Her dress was covered with golden stars, pentagonal in form, all of the same size, and brilliant, but without emitting rays. They were not very numerous, and seemed to be scattered over the blue without regard to method. The blue garment was ample, showing certain strongly marked folds, and without girdle or compression of any kind from neck to the feet. The sleeves were ample and long, falling over the hands. On the feet, which the dress left uncovered, were chaussons (shoes), the same blue as the dress, and ornamented with golden bows. On the head was a black veil covering the forehead, concealing the hair and ears, and falling over the shoulders. Above this was a gold crown resembling a diadem, higher in front than elsewhere and widening out at the sides. A red line encircled the crown at about the middle. The hands were small and extended toward us as in the 'miraculous medal,' but without emitting rays. The face was slightly oval. To the freshness of youth was added the most exquisite delicacy of feature and of tint, the complexion being pale rather than otherwise. Smiles of ineffable sweetness played about the mouth. The eyes, of unutterable tenderness, were fixed on us. I give up further attempting to describe the beautiful figure of her who looked down upon us and smiled. Like a true mother, she seemed happier in looking at us than we in contemplating her.
Others were told of the vision. Two little girls, Francoise Richer and Jeanne-Marie Lebrosse, also saw the apparition.
The sisters of the school and the pastor, Fr. Guerin, were notified. They gathered, along with about sixty villagers, gathered before the barn, knelt in the snow and began to pray. The Lady became more beautiful and her garments more intense in proportion to the devotion of the devotion of the people.
While the children looked on the vision began to change into the second phase. A blue oval, darker than the Virgin's dress, began to form around the figure. Four candles appeared inside the oval, two on either side of the Virgin's shoulders, and two on either side at about the height of her knees. A small red heart appeared on the left chest which stayed for the remainder of the vision. The stars on the gown remained while others outside the oval arranged themselves beneath the Virgin's feet. These stars, about forty of them, were visible to the children, while a triangle of three stars was seen by the villagers. The children said, 'Oh, there are so many stares the Blessed Virgin will soon be gilt all over.' The Virgin continued to smile at her children.
They continued to pray. Then the children saw that something was about to happen. A white band, about one yard wide, extended across the roof of Guidecoq's house and unrolled itself. It read, 'Mais Priez, mes enfants' which means, 'But pray, my children.'
They were still praying and singing when a workman, Joseph Babin, announced that the Prussians were now at Laval. The singing continued. More words appeared on the white band. 'Dieu Vous exaucera en peu de temps.' 'God will here you in a little while.' Then more words. 'Mon fils se laisse toucher.' 'My Son permits Himself to be moved.' They were overjoyed to hear the promise of safety from the imminent threat.
The third phase began when the villagers started singing a hymn of the region:
Mother of Hope, whose name is so sweet,
protect our land of France. Pray, pray for us.
The Virgin assumed an expression of extreme sadness. Then a blue band passed over the white band covering over the words. The banner began to roll away as the Virgin lifted her hand to the level of her shoulders. She seemed to move her fingers and speak, but no one heard anything.
As the fourth phase began, the Virgin joined both hands and held upon her heart a red image of her crucified Son. A small white sign above the cross read ' Jesus Christ.' Then a star appeared from beneath the Virgin's feet, rose to light the candles on her right side, then moved around to the top of the oval to light those on the left side. Then it took settled above her head. As the crowd sand Ave Maris Stella the red crucifix disappeared, and the vision assumed the position of the Immaculate Conception. A small white cross appeared on each of her shoulders about eight inches tall.
The fifth phase began when the priest began evening prayers. When they reached the examination of conscience the vision smiled and the cross disappeared. The Virgin opened her arms as in the Miraculous Medal. A white veil appeared at her feet slowly rose upward until the Virgin was completely concealed. This was the end of the vision. It had lasted three hours.
It was now about nine o'clock. The villagers learned that, at the same time of the apparition, the Prussian General Schmidt announced to his troops in Laval, 'We can go no farther, an invisible Madonna is barring the way.' They retreated and twelve days later an armistice was signed.
In 1875, after thorough inspection of the reports of the vision, ecclesiastical authority fully approved the apparition. A large basilica was built at Pontmain and consecrated in 1900. Joseph Barbadette became a priest of the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Eugene became an archdiocesan priest. Francoise Richer became a housekeeper for a priest. Jeanne-Marie Lebosse became a nun.
In February 1875 Bishop Laval defined the apparition by declaring: 'We judge that the Immaculate Mary, Mother of God, has truly appeared on January 17, 1871, to Eugene Barbadette, Joseph Barbadette, Francoise Richer, and Jeanne-Marie Lebosse, in teh hamlet of Pontmain.'
Our Lady of St. Bauzille-de-la-Sylve--- Herault, France 1873
Auguste Arnaud was thirty years old. He attended holy Mass on Sundays, was married for six years, had two children, and was a respected member of his community. But he worked on Sundays. The Blessed Virgin did not approve of this and meant to correct him.
On Sunday, June 8, 1873, the Feast of the Holy Trinity, Auguste attended mass then went to his vineyard to tend vines. After about two hours of work he sat down to rest and eat lunch. Suddenly he saw a beautiful young woman before him, dressed in white. She wore a white veil that reached to her feet, a fringed belt, and a tall crown like those worn by bishops.
Auguste quickly rose to his feet and asked, 'Who are you?'
She replied, 'I am the Blessed Virgin. Do not be afraid. You have the disease of the vine. You left St. Bauzille. We must celebrate his feast on the day it falls. Next Thursday you must go in procession to St. Anthony and hear Mass. In a fortnight you must go in procession to Notre Dame, to the Canton of Gignac, Montpellier, and the city of Lodeve. You must place a cross here, changing it later to another. Come in procession each year. Go tell your father and your pastor all this. In a month I will come to thank you.'
After these words the apparition rose vertically and gradually disappeared.
Auguste went home and told his father what had happened. They went together to the parish priest, but he was skeptical of their story saying, 'Why would the Madonna appear to tell a man not to work on Sundays?'
But the pries's skepticism didn't stop Auguste from fulfilling what the Blessed Virgin had asked of him. The next day he contacted a carpenter to make a wood cross for him. He took it to the vineyard and planted it where the Blessed Mother had instructed him. This was a temporary cross which he would replace with a wrought iron one, because the Virgin wanted a wrought iron cross with her image in the middle.
On June 12, he and his family visited the chapel of St. Anthony. On June 22 he made the pilgrimage to our Lady of Grace in Gignac, as well as the other places requested by Our Lady. On July 4 he replaced the wooden cross with an iron cross which he set on a stone pedestal.
News of the vision spread. Many journeyed to the vineyard because there had been promised by the Lady a second vision. On July 8, 1873 about 500 people had gathered for the vision. After a few moments, Auguste took off his hat, raised both arms high in the air, and seemed transfixed by what he saw. The people saw nothing. In another few moments Auguste was carried with great speed to the cross about forty yards away. He prayed silently while looking at the Virgin who was dressed in the same manner as before, except this time her clothes were gold colored. She held up a rosary in her right hand and said:
Do not work on Sundays. Blessed is he who believes and unhappy the man who does not believe. You must go to Our Lady of Gignac in procession with your whole family.
She slipped the rosary to her left hand, then with her right hand blessed Auguste and the crowd. Then, before disappearing, she said, 'Let us sing hymns.' Auguste turned to the crowd, and in a low voice said, 'Tell them to sing.' They began to sing the Magnificat.
The number of people visiting the area continued to grow. This drew the interest of the bishop who appointed a Commission of Inquiry. In 1876 the bishop recognized the authenticity of the apparitions. A chapel and convent for Franciscan nuns was built. The nuns cared for the sanctuary and those who visited.
Auguste Arnaud died on February 8, 1936, at the age of ninety-two.He was buried at the chapel on which his tonbstone reads:
At the feet of the Virgin he loved so and so faithfully served, here lies in wait for the blessed resurrection the body of Auguste Arnaud, piously asleep in the Lord's peace.