Mary’s apparitions occur more frequently, and She is moving beyond France. The Wisconsin apparition occurred a year after Lourdes. In the 1870s there were apparitions at Knock and Pontmain, of which I’ve already given conferences. Now I would like to talk about her appearance at Pellevoisin in 1876, this time to a one servant girl in a small town in central France. In one year, she sees Mary fifteen times.
This apparition is very special. I suppose I say that about all of them, but I can’t help it. They are so unique. This story is a bit difficult to tell. At one level we are drawn into the personal situation of this pious servant woman who has fallen so ill that the doctors give her only a few hours. At a second level her situation is symbolic of France. For me, Pellevoisin shed the most light as to why Mary has appeared most often in this nation. Another unique aspect of Pellevoisin is that Mary and the devil appear together. This could be the reason for the hesitation of the Church to only indirectly approve the apparitions.
For my information I’ll be drawing upon
“Pellevoisin,” an article in the July-August 2011 issue of the Garabandal Journal written by the incomparable Marc Conza who is noted for his careful research.
“Our Lady of Pellevoisin,” the third article in Churchman, an international Anglican journal. The text is a public domain internet scan. The edition seems to be sometime between 1903-1914. These Protestants were very much interested in “Saint Mary.”
A web review of a 1904 book: The Blessed Virgin in the Nineteenth Century: Apparitions, Revelations, Graces, by Bernard StJohn who personally interviewed Estelle.
And a few other misc. pieces.
Let’s begin at the end.
The last apparition was December 8, 1876. Four days later the Archbishop of Bourges authorized the special Scapular that Mary showed Estelle in the visions. A month later in January 1877 the archbishop opened the first Canonical Inquiry where 56 witnesses testified: 55 favorable, 1 indecisive.
Six months later, in June 1877 the archbishop established the Confraternity of Our Lady of Pellevoisin, Mother All Merciful. In October he gave permission for Estelle’s room to be converted into a chapel and solemnly consecrated.
A year later, at the end of 1878, the same archbishop ordered the second Canonical Inquiry. All the witnesses are favorable. Unfortunately, the good archbishop fell ill soon afterwards and died Sept. 17th, 1879 before he was able to make a formal conclusion and pronouncement.
Four years later in 1883, the stream of visitors to the chapel prompted his successor to send the vicar general and the parish priest of Pellevoisin to Rome. They present to Pope Leo XIII the bound account of the apparitions with a picture of Our Lady of Pellevoisin.
Ten years later, on July 3, 1893, Pope Leo XIII accepted with great joy a statue of “Our Lady of Pellevoisin”, and had it enshrined at the Convent of the Sisters of the Precious Blood in his hometown of Carpineto. He also issued a Motu Proprio granting indulgences to those who make a pilgrimage to Pellevoisin. A year later the Pontiff raised the Confraternity to the rank of Archconfraternity.
Six years later, in the Jubilee Year of 1900, Estelle and the Bishop of Orleans meet with Pope Leo XIII. Orleans is a nearby diocese, 75 miles from Bourges. Did the Archbishop of Bourges ask the Bishop of Orleans to escort Estelle on his behalf? Or did Bishop Touchet of Orleans ask this favor because he had an ardent devotion to this apparition? I couldn’t find anything in my English sources to answer that question.
A couple of weeks later Estelle is received alone in a private audience and Pope Leo XIII promises that he will present the Scapular of the Sacred Heart that very day, Feb. 17th 1900, to the Congregation of Rites for the drawing up of the decree of recognition. On April 4, 1900, the Congregation of Rites issued a decree, granting approval to the Scapular of the Sacred Heart. Its final form was the model approved by His Eminence Cardinal Boyer, Archbishop of Bourges. It bears the image of the Sacred Heart on one end, and Our Lady of Pellevoisin on the other.
Thirty years passed. Curiously, although the statue and scapular and chapel and confraternity were approved, no authority had formally approved the apparition itself. Estelle Faguette became a Third Order Dominican, and died on August 23, 1929, at the age of 85. To the very end, she remained steadfast in her faith in the apparitions and message of Our Lady.
Fifty years passed. Have you ever heard of the Red Scapular of Our Lady of Pellevoisin? Me neither. Obviously, the message of Mary wasn’t being disseminated very well. France was suffering from steady de-Christianization. What was it that suddenly prompted Archbishop Paul Vignancour of Bourges to officially declare on September 8th, 1983 that the extraordinary cure of Estelle as “total, permanent, and miraculous.” It was well past the centenary year of the apparition, and September 8th wasn’t one of the dates of the fifteen anniversaries. Why didn’t he take the final step and approve the apparition? He retired a year later in 1984, then died in 1987. But now, thirty years later, this apparition is getting on the world’s radar.
Let’s go back to the beginning.
Estelle Faguette was born on September 12, 1843, in a small inn, near Chalons in Champagne, France. Her parents were employees of the lowest class. Estelle had an older sister and the girls were able to attend a school run by the Sisters of Portieux but in 1857, when Estelle turned fourteen, her family was forced to move to Paris to find other work. Estelle found a job as a laundress. At fifteen she became seriously ill, she recovered, though she remained frail. She returned to her work at washing clothes until at age seventeen, she was employed by the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul at their hospice for the poor.
Feeling a desire to devote herself to God. Her parish priest obtained for her the gift of a suitable set of clothes to wear when, at age nineteen, Estelle entered the novitiate of the Augustinian Hospitallers in Paris. But she had to leave within two years because of another spate of poor health. Within the year she became lady’s maid to the Countess La Rochefoucauldefoucald, a devout Catholic woman. Estelle enjoyed steady employment for ten years. But near the end of May, 1875, in her thirty-third year she became seriously ill. She was diagnosed with acute peritonitis and tuberculosis. After two months in a hospital, the Countess brought poor Estelle to her country chateau near Pellevoisin. Fresh air and sunshine didn’t help. By August Estelle’s physician told the Countess that the patient was wasting away and a recovery at this advanced stage was impossible.
Estelle was making novenas, one after the other to the Blessed Mother. In September 1875, she wrote a letter to Mary—her “last will” as she called it. Estelle had written
You know that I am your child and that I love you; therefore, obtain for me, I beseech you, from your Divine Son, my restoration to health. It is for His glory that I ask it. Behold, my parents’ sorrow! O Mary, you know that I am their all. If, because of my sins, I cannot be completely cured, you can at least obtain for me a little strength of body, so that I may be able to earn my living and provide for the wants of my father and mother, who, as you see, are on the eve of being obliged to beg their bread. The thought of this causes me intense suffering. Think, good Mother, of what you endured the night of our Saviour’s birth, when you went from door to door asking to be taken in. Think, too, of what you suffered when Jesus was stretched on the cross. I put my trust in you, my Mother; I know that if you wish it, your Son will cure me. He knows how much I wished to be of the number of His spouses. Deign to listen to my supplications and to intercede for me with your Divine Son. May He restore me to health, if such be His good pleasure. If not, may His holy will be done. May He at least grant me perfect resignation, and may that resignation contribute to my salvation and to that of my parents. My heart is yours, holy Virgin; keep it always, and may it be a pledge of my love and of my gratitude for your maternal goodness.
“See the sorrow of my parents.” France had just through the war with Prussia. The government was in disarray. There were no effective welfare programs. Recall St. Bernadette’s family. When her father went bankrupt and lost his mill and house, they went to live in a jail that the city had condemned as too bad for prisoners to live in. Estelle asked a friend to bury her “will” under the stones beneath the statue of Our Lady at the new Lourdes grotto in the park at Poiriers. She got steadily worse. At end of January, 1876, Monsieur and Madame de LaRochefoucauld had to go to Paris. They moved Estelle to a house they owned in Pellevoisin and her parents came to live there to care for their dying daughter. On top of everything else she had developed an abdominal tumor. She was unable to keep down any nourishment. Although in terrible agony, Estelle remained perfectly conscious, and resigned to die.
It is now the evening of the 10th of February. Doctor Bernard of Buzançais was called but he refused to come to the house, saying that he had other things to do than to go on journeys to console patients. It was his way of saying that there was nothing a doctor could do. So Dr. Hubert was summoned. On seeing Estelle, he expressed surprise that he should have been asked to prescribe something as she had only a few hours to live. He said it was useless to torture her further with medicine. Amazingly, her dying state was prolonged for several more days.
On Monday, February 14, Countess de LaRochefoucauld, away in Paris, went to pray and light candles for Estelle at Our Lady of Victories. As I relate this story, keep telling yourself that this woman is a symbol of France. The faith is slowly dying in a country that is becoming increasingly Masonic and secular. The church of our Lady of Victories commemorated the victory over the Moslems at Lepanto. Later the name of the feast was changed to Our Lady of the Rosary. On December 8, 1629 King Louis XIII himself laid the cornerstone. The construction had been funded by the king of France in thanksgiving for his victory over the Protestants at LaRochelle, which he attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Mother. As we saw in our previous talk on Mary’s apparitions to St. Catherine Labouré about the rise of Communists in the Communes of Paris, this church and its pastor became the seat of promotion of the Miraculous Medal, of devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart and the confraternity of the Children of Mary.
That night with the candles burning for Estelle in that sanctuary, Estelle was awakened by the devil, appearing at the foot of her bed. Once again, this is not about a poor servant who is working hard to support her parents. The devil is menacing France. Horrified at his hideousness, Estelle started to recoil. The Blessed Virgin appeared at the opposite corner of the bed. Seeing Our Lady, the devil drew back, dragging the bed curtain and its iron rod, terrifying Estelle all the more.
“What brings you here?” the Mother of God addressed him sharply, “Do you not see that she wears my livery, and that of my Son?” (Estelle had been enrolled as a Child of Mary at the age of fourteen and wore the Miraculous Medal of the Immaculate Conception.) Gesticulating wildly, the devil vanished. Our Lady turned her beautiful eyes on Estelle and said: “Fear nothing; you are my daughter. Have courage, be patient; my Son will allow Himself to be prevailed upon. You will suffer five days longer in honor of the Five Wounds of my Son. On Saturday you will either be dead or cured. If my Son restores you to life, I wish you to publish my glory.”
After protesting about her insignificance, Estelle saw between the Virgin and herself an ex-voto. I saw these all over France. When God answers a favor, people inscribe it in a slab of white marble and literally tile the walls of churches. Our Lady of Victories in Paris has 37,000 of these slabs. “My good Mother” Estelle asked, “Where shall I put it? In Our Lady of Victories in Paris, or at Pellev…” Our Lady stopped her and said:
“At Our Lady of Victories they have sufficient proofs of my power, whereas at Pellevoisin they have none. They require a stimulus. Have courage; I wish you to keep your promise,” Then She disappeared.
Second Apparition–Feb. 15, 1876
The devil reappeared the next night—further away this time. Our Lady came immediately. “Do not be afraid, I am here. This time my Son has allowed Himself to be prevailed upon. He grants you life. On Saturday you will be cured.” Estelle said, “But my good Mother, if I had my choice, I would prefer to die, now that I am well prepared.” Smiling, Our Lady replied, “Ungrateful one, if my Son restores you to life it is because it is necessary to you. What has He given to man more precious than life? In being restored to life, do not believe that you will be exempt from suffering; no, you will suffer, you will not be exempt from sorrow. That is what makes life meritorious. If my Son has been moved, it is on account of your great resignation and your patience. Do not lose the fruit thereof by your own choice.”
We should meditate for hours on this. Satan is a murderer. He incites violence in the womb, strife on the streets, and wars between nations because it’s a disaster to die “unripe” as I’ve discussed several times in my series called “Beyond Consecration.” France had been in the forefront of sending missionaries to evangelize foreign lands. Mary wants to raise up this country to labor again for the Gospel. Our Lady continues:
“Have I not told you if He restores you to life, you will publish my glory?”
Estelle saw the ex-voto slab again, and now she saw a thick stack of white paper. The Virgin continued,
“Now, let us look at the past.”
Our Lady’s smile turned to a sorrowful expression as Estelle saw the sins of her past life; what she had thought had only been small faults, were actually otherwise from God’s perspective, and the Blessed Virgin reproached the woman severely for them. Estelle was so overwhelmed by the revelation of her sins that she was unable to beg for mercy. Our Lady looked kindly upon her, but disappeared without a word, leaving Estelle to mourn over her miserableness for the rest of the night.
Estelle is a microcosm of France. She is called to suffer, to expiate the sins of the nation, not just her own. The devil keeps appearing as accuser.
Each morning Estelle gave her pastor, Abbé Salmon, the details of her vision of the preceding night. On Thursday morning she told him that she would either be dead or restored to health on the following Saturday. The next day he said: “Yesterday you told me that you were to be dead or cured on Saturday next; today you tell me that you are to be cured; what will you tell me tomorrow?” In the meantime, he thought it advisable, for prudence sake, to confide these matters to certain persons, including the nuns of Pellevoisin.
Third Apparition –Feb. 16, 1876
The third night the devil returned, but was so far away this time that Estelle could hardly distinguish him. Our Lady then appeared, saying:
“Come now, take courage, my child.”
Estelle, however, trembled in the Virgin’s presence, her conscience still stinging greatly from her soul’s illumination the night before, and her heavenly Mother’s stern reproaches. Our Lady proceeded to reprove Estelle again, but this time so sweetly that Estelle was reassured.
“All this is passed,” Our Lady said, “By your resignation you have expiated these faults.” Estelle then saw some good works she had performed, but they were very few beside her multiple sins. Perceiving her anxiety, the Virgin continued, “I am all-merciful, and the mistress of my Son. These good works and some fervent prayers have touched my motherly Heart. Among others, that little letter you wrote to me in the month of September. What moved me was the phrase: ‘See the sorrow of my parents. If I fail them they are on the eve of begging their bread. Remember, then, what thou didst suffer when thy Son Jesus was stretched out upon the Cross.’ I have shown that letter to my Son. Your parents have need of you; for the future try to be faithful. Do not lose the graces which are given to you; and publish my glory.”
Fourth Apparition –Feb. 17, 1876
The fourth night Our Lady appeared alone, but She was silent while the scenes and words of the previous nights passed vividly through Estelle’s mind. When everything ended, Our Lady said,
“You will publish my glory. Make every effort,”
and then disappeared. All of this is happening in the octave of Lourdes. Is it not ironic that Mary repeats over and over again that She wants people to talk about her, this very apparition does not get published for a very long time? How very much we benefit from considering Mary’s glory. We are drawn to emulate her holiness, to profit from her admonitions, and to help her defeat Satan.
Fifth Apparition –Feb. 18, 1876 – Estelle is Cured
The fifth night’s visitation was particularly beautiful, and Estelle, in her writings, described it thus: “The Blessed Virgin did not remain at the foot of my bed. She approached to the middle of my curtains. My God, how beautiful She was! She remained a long time silent and motionless, standing in the midst of a vapor She was smiling, She reminded me of my promises to publish her glory. I once more saw the marble slab, but this time it was no longer white. In the four corners there were golden rosebuds. A golden heart emitted flames. It was transpierced with a sword, and surrounded by a crown of roses. These words were inscribed on it:
“I called upon Mary full of sorrows; from her Son She obtained my full recovery.–Estelle F.”
Estelle promised again to do all in her power for Mary’s glory. Mary replied,
“If you want to serve me, be simple, and let your actions correspond to your words.” Estelle asked her if she should change her state in life. Mary replied: “One can be saved in any state. Where you are, you can do a great deal of good, and you can publish my glory.”
What most afflicts me is the want of respect shown to my Son in Holy Communion, and the attitude of prayer, taken by many when the mind is occupied with other things. I say this for people who pretend to be pious’.
Estelle asked her if she should repeat that.
“Yes, yes, publish my glory, but before doing so, await the advice of your confessor and director, for people will endeavor to entrap you. They will treat you as a visionary, as a person of disordered imagination, as a fool; but pay no attention to all that. Be faithful to me; I will assist you.”
Estelle gazed long upon her. By degrees She vanished, till only the soft light which surrounded her remained. This, too, soon faded away. Estelle was in intense pain. “I was holding my rosary in my left hand, having lost the use of my right. I offered my sufferings to Almighty God. I did not know that they were the last of my illness. After having rested a little I felt quite well. I felt that I was cured, except for my right arm. Oh, what thanksgiving do I not owe thee, my good heavenly Mother!”
All pain had suddenly ceased, the emaciated and disorganized body had received an influx of fresh life. The priest had not expected to find her alive the next morning. On entering her room, she cried out: “I am cured!” But her right arm still lay paralyzed and swollen. The priest was skeptical. He was about to say Mass at the parish church close by, and promised to return at half-past seven to bring her Holy Communion. Before leaving, he said to her: “The Blessed Virgin can obtain your cure if She will. As soon as you have received the Blessed Sacrament try to make the sign of the cross with your right hand. If you succeed, it will be a sign that what you say is true.”
At the specified hour, Abbé Salmon came back, and Estelle communicated in the presence of about a dozen persons. The priest then told her to make the sign of the cross with her right hand. She drew forth the swollen, helpless member, and, to the astonishment of all, made with it the sign of the cross and it directly returned to its normal size. Likewise, the tumor was gone. Estelle Faguette rose and dressed herself without help, laughed and talked, and ate solid food with a good appetite. “What struck us most,” said Sister Theodosie, “was the change that took place in her appearance, her face, from being as that of a corpse, to becoming full of life and health.” The two doctors bore witness, even Dr. Hubert a Masonic freethinker said that it was not to be explained by natural laws.
Sixth Apparition –July 1, 1876
It was ten o’clock in the evening. Estelle knelt to pray with a book by the fireplace before retiring, when Our Lady appeared unexpectedly. Never had human eye seen anything so ravishing. Without the bed blocking her view, Estelle saw her complete figure from head to foot. Our Lady’s bare feet touched the floor, and She was dressed completely in white, with her veil falling in three folds, just as before. Her arms were outstretched, and from her hands fell drops like multi-colored rain. She was looking at something beyond Estelle at first, then taking one of the tassels of her cincture, raised it to her breast, on which She crossed her hands. Smiling, She looked at Estelle, saying,
“Be calm, my child, have patience; you will have sorrows, but I will be with you.” Our Lady then let the tassel fall from her hands. “Courage, I will come again.” Then She slowly faded away as before.
Seventh Apparition –July 2, 1876
It is Sunday the Feast of the Visitation. It’s night. As before, Estelle was on her knees in her room. She had said the first half of an Ave Maria, when the radiant figure was before her. Our Lady appeared the same way as the previous night, with drops of rain falling from her hands, but with an added feature: a wreath of roses now surrounded her like an oval frame. After remaining silently thus for a time, the Virgin crossed her hands over her breast and said,
“You have already published my glory.” (Here Our Lady confided a secret to Estelle that has never been revealed.) “Continue to do so. My Son has also some souls more attached to Him. His Heart has so much love for mine that He cannot refuse me any requests. Through me, He will touch the most hardened hearts.”
Estelle asked about the silk paper she had seen in the apparitions of February fifteenth and sixteenth. Our Lady replied:
“It will serve to publish this recital in the manner several of my servants think it ought to be done. There will be much opposition, but fear nothing—be calm.” Estelle mentally wished to ask Our Lady to demonstrate her power, but couldn’t bring herself to speak. Our Lady, knowing her thoughts, answered: “Is not your cure one of the greatest proofs of my power? I have come especially for the conversion of sinners.”
Our Lady disappeared, leaving the wreath of roses and the halo of light to remain some time longer before these too faded away.
Eighth Apparition –July 3, 1876
The eighth time Our Lady appeared it was night. She was surrounded by the frame of roses. Tenderly, She said, “I would wish that you were still more calm. I have not disclosed to you the day nor hour on which I intend to return. You require rest. I will remain only a few minutes.” Our Lady smiled and said,
“I have come to end the feast,”
and then disappeared. (The feast referred to here was the Feast of the Coronation of Our Lady of Lourdes celebrated that day.) Consider how agitated is the Faith of France. Mary keeps appearing at nighttime. France is in darkness, yet some of the nation is honoring her. The apparitions are connected and overlap.
Ninth Apparition –September 9, 1876
On Saturday, September 9, 1876, it was about three o’clock in the afternoon, and Estelle was in her room on her knees saying the Rosary, when, looking up, she saw before her the beauteous figure of her preceding visions. Our Lady looked around in silence before speaking,
“You deprived yourself of my visit on the fifteenth of August because you were not sufficiently calm. You have indeed the French character, wishing to know all before learning, and to understand all before knowing. I would have come to you yesterday, also, but again, you deprived yourself of my visit. I have been waiting for this act of submission and obedience from you.”
After a pause, Our Lady continued,
“For a long time the treasures of my Son have been open. Let them pray.”
As She said this, Our Lady raised a small piece of white woolen cloth which She wore on her breast, a feature Estelle had always seen but didn’t give much attention to since its whiteness blended in with the rest of the garments. This time, however, Estelle saw a red Heart in distinct relief, and realized it was a Scapular of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
“I love this devotion,” Our Lady said tenderly, “It is here I will be honored.” Then She disappeared. In each of the succeeding Apparitions, the Blessed Virgin wears the special scapular.
Tenth Apparition–September 10, 1876
It’s the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, Our Lady appeared briefly and, joining her hands, said,
“Let them pray; I show them the example.”
The Scapular with the blood-red heart was vivid this time, and thus it would be for each of the remaining apparitions.
Eleventh Apparition–September 15, 1876
“With my mistress’s permission, I had gone to my room to pray. It was about a quarter before three. The Blessed Virgin appeared, as usual, with arms extended and with abundant rain-drops falling, as it were, from her hands. She remained a long time in silence, looking around the room. She told me certain things that bore reference to myself alone.” Then She went on:
“I will remember the efforts you have made to be calm. It is not only for you I ask this, but also for the Church, and for France. In the Church, there is not the calm I desire.”
She sighed and shook her head, saying,
“Something is the matter.” Here She paused, and Estelle understood that some discord was taking place within the Church. “Let them pray and let them have confidence in me,” the Virgin continued. Her features then became extremely sorrowful. “And France! What have I not done for her? How many warnings, and nevertheless she still refuses to listen! I can no longer restrain my Son.” Our Lady appeared deeply moved as She then said with great emphasis, “France will suffer.” A short pause, then, “Courage and confidence.”
When Estelle thought no one would believe her if she reported all this, Our Lady reassured her.
“I have arranged all beforehand. So much the worse for those who may not be willing to believe you. Later on, they will recognize the truth of my words.”
Then She disappeared. There was a second person present while Estelle was favored with this vision. This was Mademoiselle DeTyran, of the household of the Comtesse DeLaRochefoucauld. This lady had followed Estelle into her room, and had seen her kneel down and begin saying the Rosary, which, by the way, she recited aloud. About five minutes afterwards the words ceased, and the kneeling figure seemed almost to have stopped breathing. Estelle remained on her knees, motionless, for about three quarters of an hour, with hands clasped, and with a forward movement of the body, as if advancing towards something; at the end of that time she heaved a deep sigh and seemed to brush away tears; and then, turning round to the other person present, she asked her whether she, too, had not seen the Blessed Virgin.? At each of the succeeding Apparitions, there were other persons present.
Twelfth Apparition–November 1, 1876
Our Lady came for the twelfth time on Wednesday, November 1st, Feast of All Saints, but was completely silent, contenting herself with gazing at something Estelle could not see, and then looking around the room before casting an expression of great kindness on Estelle and disappearing.
Thirteenth Apparition–November 5, 1876
Estelle wrote that same Sunday:
At about half-past two o’ clock, I went to my room to say the Rosary. As soon as I had finished saying it, I saw the Blessed Virgin standing before me. She looked as beautiful as ever. As I gazed upon her, I thought of how many persons there were more deserving of her favours than myself, and who could do far more than I could to make her glory known. Our Lady said,
“I have chosen you. I choose the little ones and the weak for my glory. Courage! The time of your trials is approaching.”
Crossing her hands over her breast, Our Lady disappeared.
Fourteenth Apparition–November 11, 1876
This Saturday is the feast of one of France’s most important and beloved saints. The Gothic 12th century parish church at Pellevoisin was dedicated to St. Martin. The apparition chapel today featuring a statue of the Blessed Virgin as Estelle saw her, wreathed with roses, is only a stone’s throw from St. Martin.
Estelle had made a Scapular modeled after Our Lady’s, and feeling an impulse afterward, went to her room to pray when the Blessed Virgin made her fourteenth appearance. Our Lady said something meant for Estelle alone, and then continued,
“You have not lost your time today; you have worked for me. It will be necessary to make many more (of the Scapulars).” She paused a long time, before becoming sad and saying, “Courage!”
She crossed her hands over her breast, covering the Scapular from view, and disappeared.
The Fifteenth and Final Apparition–December 8, 1876
After high Mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Blessed Virgin appeared surrounded by the wreath of roses as She had in July. She remained silent for some time before saying:
“Recall to mind all my words.” At that instant everything Our Lady had said and shown Estelle from the very first apparition was made present to the woman. When this finished, Our Lady said, “My child, remember my words. Repeat them often. May they strengthen and console you in your trials. You will see me no more.”
“What will become of me without you, my good Mother?” Estelle exclaimed.
“I will be invisibly near you,” Our Lady replied. Estelle then saw in the distance, to the left of Our Lady, an angry crowd threatening her and making angry gestures, and she became frightened. The Virgin smiled, “You have nothing to fear from these, I have chosen you to publish my glory, and to spread this Devotion.” Our Lady held her Scapular out with both hands. “Arise, and kiss it.” Our Lady bent towards her, and the woman rose and kissed it reverently, a moment that surpassed any she had experienced so far. Our Lady straightened, and, indicating the Scapular, said, “You will go and see the prelate. You will present to him the model Scapular you have made. Tell him that he is to help you with all his power, and that nothing will be more acceptable to me than to see this livery on each one of my children, and that they all must endeavor to repair the outrages received by my Son in the Sacrament of his Love. See the graces I bestow on those who will wear it with confidence, and who will assist you in propagating it.”
The Blessed Virgin stretched out her hands, and from them fell an abundant rain, each drop of which indicated a particular grace—piety, salvation, confidence, conversion, health—literally, every kind of grace imaginable for the good of the soul.
“These graces are from my Son,” Our Lady explained, “I take them from His Heart. He can refuse me nothing.” Estelle asked her what image should appear on the other side of the Scapular. The Virgin replied, “I reserve it for myself, you will submit your thought, and the Church will decide. Courage! Should (the prelate) not be able to grant your request, and should any difficulties arise, you will go further. Fear nothing. I will assist you.”
Our Lady disappeared for the last time. Fifteen persons were present at the last Apparition. These included Abbé Salmon and the Comtesse Arthur de LaRochefoucauld, who subsequently became a Dominican tertiary in a convent she founded on the site, in order that the Church’s liturgical voice might never cease on the spot where the events we are recording had taken place.
The Devotion Revives
Are we at the end? No, the beginning! In 1987 young addicts in Pellevoisin begged the Community of Saint John, to open a family home for them, to restore their physical, mental and spiritual health. This dynamic community began in 1975 by Father Marie-Dominique Philippe (1912-2006) who wanted men to be for the Church what Saint John was for Christ. Today they are present in some thirty countries with over 500 brothers.
Arriving in Pellevoisin to help these poor addicts; they “discover” Estelle’s home, now a Marian sanctuary dedicated to “Mary, a Merciful Mother”. The Archbishop of Bourges entrusted the Sanctuary of Pellevoisin to the Brothers of Saint John. A monastery of contemplative Sisters of Saint John provides a continuous presence of prayer, joined by pilgrims and visitors. Pilgrims are welcomed every day of the year, with daily Mass, monastic liturgies, spiritual conferences, retreats, and the blessing of the Scapular of the Sacred Heart and Our Lady of Pellevoisin.
What is this French-founded community known for? The casting out of devils. Estelle’s return to health was a pledge that France would be healed, and now this Community is reviving the memory of this pledge of Mary. They call the center St. Jean Esperance. They bring hope to addicts, but also to France. Yet, is this apparition only for France? The Scapular was offered to the world.
For a long time, it’s been a riddle to me why Mary has appeared so often to this country. I know that France has the title “eldest daughter of the Church” because of Charlemagne back in the eighth century. But the Anglican commentary on Pellevoisin broadened my vision. Just as they saw that most of the apparition, although not every detail, applied both to one individual woman and also to the nation as a whole, so I see this individual nation, this eldest daughter as standing as a sign to the whole Church.