“Our Lady of the Three Ears” ORBEY, FRANCE (1491)
Thierry Schoere was a blacksmith who lived in the village of Orbey. On May 3, 1491, he was on his way to market when he stopped by an oak tree. A fatal accident had occurred at that location, and the family had placed a crucifix on the tree where he had fallen. Getting off his horse, Thierry knelt down to pray for the repose of the victim’s soul.
Suddenly, he was dazzled by a bright light. In the brilliant light he could distinguish the figure of the Blessed Mother dressed in a long white veil. She was holding three ears of corn in her right hand while the other hand held a clump of ice. Without identifying herself, she began to speak,
“Arise, brave man. See these ears? These are the symbols of fine harvests that will reward virtuous and generous people and bring peace and contentment in the homes of faithful Christians. As to the ice, it means hail, frost, flood, famine and all its attendant misery and desolation that will punish disbelievers with the gravity of their sins which tire the Divine Mercy. Go down to the village and announce to all the people the meaning of these prophecies.”
When the vision disappeared, the blacksmith became terribly frightened, and, upon reaching the village, he said nothing – in disobedience of Our Lady’s wishes. He went inside the market, purchased a sack of wheat, and started to prepare it for placement on his horse.
But the sack of wheat became uncommonly heavy and could not be lifted. Even with the help of others, the sack could not be moved. The villagers wondered if witchcraft was involved! It was then that he remembered the words of the Virgin, and realizing the weight of the sack was a signal to him, he loudly shared the message that had been entrusted to him by Our Lady. Many people heard the message spoken with sincerity and took it to heart, resolving to do better in the future. When he had finished telling of his experience and the message given to him, he easily lifted the sack of wheat and secured it onto his horse, and left for home.
During the summer of that same year, a wooden chapel was built on the site of the apparition. Pilgrims made their way there, and miracles were reported. Eventually, this little church was enlarged with the addition of other buildings. For many years, various religious Orders conducted services for the many pilgrims who came from all parts of the country, especially on May 3, the anniversary of the apparition.
For the 519th anniversary in 2010, special services were held, during which many ears of corn were blessed by several priests. These priests, the Redemptorists, have cared for the shrine since 1911. Four years after the original apparition, in 1495, after careful investigations were conducted, the bishop of Basel authorized worship at the shrine and all demonstrations of faith.