Tag Archives: healings

Our Lady of Good Help, Champion, Wisconsin, USA, 1859

“Our Lady of Good Help”

The Brice family emigrated from Belgium to the United States on July 23, 1855.  On August 7, 1855, Lambert and Marie Brice purchased 240 acres of land in the Red River, Wisconsin region to establish their family farm.  Daughter Adele would walk the 11 miles by herself to the nearest church every Sunday.

In early October of 1859, Adele Brice, age 28, was taking some wheat to a grist mill along a four-mile Indian pathway.  Just as Adele came to a clearing between a maple tree and a hemlock tree, she saw someone standing between the two trees.  As she approached, her heart filled with fright, and she froze as she looked at the woman.  The woman was all white with a yellow sash at her waist.  Around her head was a crown of twelve stars.  She was standing on a small cloud.  She had yellow hair, blue eyes, and was surrounded by a bright light.  Adele watched until the woman disappeared, and then she saw the cloud disappear as well.  When she arrived at the mill, the miller could tell that she was very upset.  She was also very nervous on her return trip home, but nobody was between the trees this time.  When she arrived home, she told her parents what had happened.  Her father suggested that it might be a poor soul that needed prayers, “so pray for her if you see her again.”

Adele Brice encounters a ghost-like, glowing lady in the woods in 1859.
Adele Brice encounters a ghost-like, glowing lady in the woods in 1859.

On October 9, 1859, Adele, her sister Isabelle (age 24), and their good friend, Mrs. Theresa Vander Niessen, were walking the eleven miles together to the Sunday Mass at the nearest church in Bay Settlement.  As the three women approached the spot where the two trees stood, Adele again saw the lady in white.  She got excited and told her sister what she was seeing.  Adele froze, staring at the woman, but the other two could see nothing.  But they could see that Adele was indeed staring at something, and they could see fear in her eyes.  Then the lady disappeared, and they all agreed to pray for the “poor soul.”  Adele confessed to the priest what she had seen, and he spoke to her about the matter, suggesting that she ask the lady who she is and what she wants.  Adele felt comforted and believed by Father Verhoeff.  On the way home the three women were joined by a man who was clearing the land for the Holy Cross Fathers.

When they came to the place with the two trees, Adele stopped because she saw the lady again.  She could clearly see that she was dressed in a white gown which fell to her feet in graceful folds.  There was a yellow sash around her waist.  Long wavy golden hair fell loosely over her shoulders.  On her head was a crown of twelve stars.  The bright light surrounding her made it difficult for Adele to look at her for very long.  Adele saw that the lady had a very sweet, gentle face.  Surprisingly, she felt no fear this time.  Instead, she was completely filled with joy and peace.  She walked closer and fell to her knees before her.

Promising to teach children about religion, Adele keeps her vow to the Virgin.
Promising to teach children about religion, Adele keeps her vow to the Virgin.

A:        “In God’s name, who are you, and what do you desire of me?

VM:     “I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do       the same.” (She spoke in a soft, sweet voice – “the sound was heavenly.”) “You were at Holy Communion this morning.

A:        “Yes, dear lady.”

VM:     “You have done well, but I wish you to do more.  Pray for nine days.  Go and make a general confession and offer your Holy Communion for the conversion of sinners.  If they do not convert themselves and do penance, my Son will be obliged to punish them.”

A horrible fire breaks out in 1871, enhanced by tornado-like winds.
A horrible fire breaks out in 1871, enhanced by tornado-like winds.

Meanwhile, the others could tell that Adele was seeing someone and talking with her. They kept asking her, “Who is she?  What is she saying?  Is she the poor soul from Belgium?  Who is it?”  Adele heard her friends and told them to kneel because “she said she was the Queen of Heaven.”  When Theresa complained about not being able to see her, Adele saw the Virgin Mary look kindly at Theresa and say,

VM:     “Blessed are they that believe and do not see. (then back to Adele:) What are you doing here in idleness, while your companions are working in the vineyard of My Son?

A:        (crying) “What more can I do, dear Lady?”

VM:     “Teach the children.

A:        “How can I teach them when I know so little, myself?

VM:     “I do not mean the science of the world.  Teach them their catechism, how to sign themselves with the sign of the cross, and how to approach the sacraments, that they may know and love My Son; otherwise, the people here will lose their faith.”

A:        “With God’s grace, and the help of your intercession, I promise, dear Lady, to be faithful to what you bid me.”

VM:     “Go and fear nothing.  I will help you.”

Nobody can escape the horrible blaze as it heads toward "Mary's Five Acres."
Nobody can escape the horrible blaze as it heads toward “Mary’s Five Acres.”

With that said, the Blessed Mary raised her eyes and hands toward heaven and slowly rose upward.  She was surrounded by a light smoke-like incense.  She looked like she was asking for a blessing for all of those kneeling before her.  Adele, overwhelmed with emotion, collapsed to the ground in exhaustion.  The man brought a cloth, soaked from a nearby stream, to help revive her from unconsciousness.  Then the four walked home, and Adele told everyone about her encounter.  Because of her character, most people believed her words.  Her father had always believed her because she had always been a truthful girl.  To show his support for his daughter and his love for the Virgin Mary, he decided to honor the location of the apparitions with the building of a very small chapel (10 feet x 12 feet) on that very spot.  Father Verhoeff gave Adele a picture of Mary to hang there.

Adele offered to work hard for the busy pioneer families if they would let her teach their children the catechism and the rosary in spare moments.  She did so for seven years, bringing each child that was ready to Father Daems in Bay Settlement to test their knowledge before each one’s First Communion.  In 1861, the community built a larger chapel (24 feet x 24 feet) that could hold a hundred people – and often did.  Mrs. Isabella Boyer donated the five acres that contained the holy site.

Sister Adele Brice leads a night-long praying of the Rosary, pleading for heavenly help.
Sister Adele Brice leads a night-long praying of the Rosary, pleading for heavenly help.

When doubters began to give Adele a hard time, miracle healings began occurring in the chapel when Adele asked for divine assistance.  Blind visitors regained their sight, deaf people regained their hearing, the desperately sick were healed, and cripples would walk again, leaving their canes and crutches behind as evidence.  Word spread across the Midwest of these divine healings near Robinsonville (later called Champion).  Adele acquired a beautiful, hand-carved statue of Mary from Belgium, and there was a glorious procession from the boat to its final resting spot in the chapel.  However, some time later, the statue was severely damaged when it caught fire from candles placed too close to it.  But farmers and other settlers took up a collection to replace it with a new statue.

In 1864 Adele and the other religious women helping her became the Sisters of Good Health – and were accepted by the Bishop of Green Bay.  In 1867, Adele opened a school next to the chapel and a boarding school, the St. Mary’s Academy, in 1869.

Devastation is everywhere the next day (actual photo).
Devastation is everywhere the next day (actual photo).

On Sunday, October 8, 1871, a most deadly fire was created by a gale force wind that turned the prairies and forests of Wisconsin into a raging inferno.  Fire tornadoes ripped through the area causing death and destruction everywhere.  Flames jumped rivers, embers rained down, and small fires were whipped up into a giant fireball that destroyed homes, buildings, farms, factories, and entire towns.  It was described as “a wall of flame a mile high, five miles wide, traveling 90-100 m.p.h., hotter than a crematorium, turning sand into glass.”  The heat was so strong that it killed people before the fire ever got to them.  Approximately 2,500 people died, 12 towns destroyed, and 1.2 million acres devastated – the deadliest fire in American history.  The ground was burned to a depth of two feet deep in some places.  Hiding in brick homes or underground basements did not help.  Only those hiding in rivers had the best chance of survival.

Father Pernin of a local church made every effort to save the tabernacle from his church, but at the river his cart dumped, and it floated away as he watched helplessly.  Many people lined the river banks, but the only ones who survived were those who jumped in the water with Father Pernin.  Three days later, among the blackened terrain and black ashes of everything destroyed, a pristine white tabernacle was discovered sitting upright on a log in the river.  Its contents were unharmed from water or heat, and the people saw it as a miracle and a sign of hope.

Only Mary's five acres remains green and untouched by the disaster; all there lived,
Only Mary’s five acres remains green and untouched by the disaster; all there lived.

Sister Adele decided it was impossible to flee the fire, so the sisters, the school children, and frantic neighbors gathered in the chapel on the five-acre grounds and prayed to Mary for help.  Then Adele led a procession around the perimeter of the chapel grounds, carrying a statue of Mary.  The procession continued all night, praying the Rosary, all around the grounds.  Everyone believed a miracle had occurred:  the wind cooled, a heavy downpour drenched the fires, but this was long after the fires had stopped right at the fence line surrounding the five acres.  The outer side of the fence posts were charred while the inside was untouched.  Everything surrounding their five acres, including the lush green forest, farm buildings, and homes were blackened, obliterated, and gone.  Only the people and animals that had come to these grounds survived.  The five-acre grounds that had been dedicated to Mary were green and untouched – “a glorious sight.”  Exhausted from their fears and night-long processions of prayers, the people praised God and retired to sleep.  Twelve years ago, on this exact day, Mary had warned of a potential punishment.

he Bishop of Green Bay approves these apparitions in 2010.
he Bishop of Green Bay approves these apparitions in 2010.

Another miracle on the chapel grounds had to do with the chapel well.  The weather had been extremely dry all summer with the deepest of wells in the region barely containing any water left.  The chapel well was only a few feet deep, and yet it was always providing plenty of water.  All the neighbors, their surviving livestock which they had brought to the grounds, and everyone else living on Mary’s five acres had plenty of water from this shallow well.  There was no explanation or logic for this small well to serve so many for so long under the dry conditions.  People started taking some of the well water home as it was believed to have led to some healing miracles.

Many other miracles were documented.  A seventeen year-old boy developed pleurisy from double-pneumonia.  Despite his lungs becoming extremely weak, he said a novena at the chapel, and he was completely healed.  Another boy, Michael Fonde, age nine, fell from a barn and was crippled.  Four years later, a group of women prayed a novena with him at the chapel, and he walked out healed, leaving his crutches behind.  A little girl with bleeding sores, who had been treated by doctors for years, was completely healed after she and her Mom made the pilgrimage to this chapel.  Another small girl had become blind from a severe case of measles.  When her mother brought her to this chapel to pray, she was instantaneously healed.  And a deaf boy brought by his Mom to the chapel completely regained his hearing.

A statue of Mary gazes at pilgrims on the site; many healings occur.
A statue of Mary gazes at pilgrims on the site; many healings occur.

On December 8, 2010, a historic event took place in this Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help near Champion, Wisconsin.  Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay formally announced the approval of these apparitions:

“I declare with moral certainty and in accord with the norms of the Catholic Church that the events, apparitions, and locutions given to Adele Brice in October of 1859 do exhibit the substance of supernatural character, and I hereby approve these apparitions as worthy of belief by the Christian faithful.”

This becomes the first approved Marian apparition in the United States of America.


Our Lady of Lourdes, France, 1858

“Our Lady of Lourdes”

Bernadette Soubirous (14) was the oldest daughter of a desperately poor, miller’s family — who had to take a foul-smelling room in the old abandoned prison to survive.  Lourdes was a village of about 4,000 people, tucked in the foothills of the French Pyrenees.

On February 11, 1858, Bernadette was sent with her sister, Toinette (11) and their friend, Jeanne to search for firewood that could be sold to the ragpicker for a few pennies that could buy a pound of bread for their dinner.  Bernadette was lagging behind the other two because of her asthma.  She suggested they cut across some fields to reach a point where the River Gave de Pau meets the canal.  She paused in front of the hollowed-out rock Grotto of Massabielle at the base of a small mountain to take off her shoes and socks so that she could wade through an icy cold stream.  She remembered her mother warning her to stay warm due to her asthma.

Bernadette Soubirous, 14-year old visionary of Lourdes, France.
Bernadette Soubirous, 14-year old visionary of Lourdes, France.

Toinette and Jeanne had already removed their wooden shoes and waded through the icy millstream to the other side when Bernadette heard “a gush of wind” come from the grotto — yet, no trees were moving.  She continued to remove her socks, when she heard the rush of wind again.  She saw some wild rose brambles stir in the niche above the grotto.  A soft light brightened the recess in the cliff.  Then, it became a brilliant light — “like a glaring reflection of the sun off water.”  In the light she began to see a young woman about her same age, dressed in white with a blue sash.  A yellow rose adorned each bare foot.  The mysterious young girl in the light smiled at Bernadette.

“When I saw that, I rubbed my eyes.  I thought I was mistaken.”  But Bernadette could not rub away the image of the girl in the light.  The Lady made the sign of the cross with a Rosary in her hand, and Bernadette knelt and said a Rosary in front of her.  As Bernadette said her rosary, the young girl in white fingered her own rosary beads but did not move her lips during the Aves.  After that, the beautiful Lady motioned for her to come closer, but Bernadette was too timid.  Glowing, as if standing in a sunburst, the Lady vanished.   Wondering what she had just encountered, she finished removing her stockings and crossed the millstream – which was surprisingly warm now.

The other two girls had not seen or heard anything.  Her sister scoffed at her story, and their mother spanked both girls when she heard such nonsense.  However, this would be the first of 18 visitations!  Despite being forbidden to return to the grotto, friends and others put pressure on the family to let her go, escorted.  Just three days later, she felt compelled to return (with father’s permission) and took a bottle of holy water and a group of her curious classmates with her down the path to the Grotto of Massabielle.

Bernadette falls into a trance before the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858.
Bernadette falls into a trance before the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858.

She fell into a mesmerizing trance in front of the grotto as she saw the Lady again.  Others could not see or hear anything but were impressed by her gaze that could not be broken with distractions.  When Bernadette was done praying and the Lady had vanished, friends could not move her physically from her spot.  They ran to the sawmill, and the operator of the nearby mill struggled to move the girl as she suddenly seemed incredibly heavy and hard to move.  He was able to finally drag her back up the footpath.  Later, she was again punished and warned.

Madame Jeanne-Marie Milhet thought that this apparition might be the spirit of her deceased relative, Elisa Latapie.  Because Madame Milhet often paid Bernadette’s mother for odd jobs, Bernadette’s mother, Louise, gave in and allowed her to return to the grotto with Madame Milhet and her dressmaker, Antoinette Peyret.  On February 18, these two, well-to-do women decided that they would accompany Bernadette to the grotto after Mass.  Bernadette saw the Lady for a third time, but the two women, who could not see anything, asked for the Lady to write on a piece of paper so that they, too, could believe.  Bernadette held the pen and paper up to the lady in the niche, asking her to write her name down.  Mary smiled and then spoke for the first time,

It is not necessary,” said Mary in a soft, musical voice to Bernadette only.  “Would you have the graciousness to come here for 15 days?  I do not promise to make you happy in   this world but in the next.”

On the way ome, one of the women offered to let Bernadette stay with her for those 15 days.  But, because her mother and aunt now insisted they should have this role, Bernadette only stayed with the nice woman for a couple of days.

A rare view of the actual apparition site at that time in 1858.
A rare view of the actual apparition site at that time in 1858.

The Lady appeared to Bernadette silently, only smiling during each visit.  Bernadette would always hold a blessed candle in one hand and a rosary in the other.  Despite crowds gathering and following, nobody else could see anything.  They could see that Bernadette was clearly in a trance or ecstasy as she gazed intently at the grotto, moving her lips at times, listening at other moments to someone they couldn’t see.

After the sixth apparition on February 21, Police Commissioner Dominique Jacomet pulled Bernadette in for an intense interrogation, trying to twist the facts and confuse her, adding occasional threats.  But Bernadette remained calm, sincere, and consistent — never even making the claim that this was the Virgin Mary.  And, despite his threats to jail her if she returned to the grotto, she calmly announced that she would return because she had pledged that she would.

On February 23, the Blessed Virgin told Bernadette three secrets that were for her alone.  And she never did reveal what those three secrets were.

Bernadette continues to meet with Blessed Mary for 15 days in a row.
Bernadette continues to meet with Blessed Mary for 15 days in a row.

Finally, on February 24, Blessed Mary spoke to her again:

“Penitence is what I wish of everyone.  Pray to God for the conversion of sinners.
Kiss the ground as a gesture of penance for others.  Penance, penance, penance!”

Then, on February 25, with hundreds of curious people watching her silent interactions with Mary, she performed some very strange actions.

“She told me to go drink at the spring and to wash in it.  Not seeing any spring, I headed toward the river to drink, but she beckoned with her finger for me to go under the rock.  I went and found a little muddy water, almost too little for me to hold in the hollow of my hand.  Three times I threw it away – it was so dirty.  The fourth time I succeeded to drink some and then spit it out.”

Onlookers feared that she had gone mad, digging in the mud, drinking it, and smearing some on her face.  Then she ate from a plant called dorine.  The crowd gasped at each odd behavior, but they were later told that she had been instructed to do so “for sinners.”  Nevertheless, the crowd left confused and dismissing her; her embarrassed aunts took her home.  But later that same day, clear water started flowing from that muddy place.

On February 26, despite being ordered not to go there by the police commissioner, she found 600 people waiting there for her.  Where she had dug into the mud was now a clear pool of fresh water.  As many as 1,200 crowded into the area on February 28, leading authorities to grab the girl, interrogate, and threaten her again.  But she calmly refused their demands, stating that she would not break her promise to go there for 15 days as promised (until March 4th).

The original home of Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes.
The original home of Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes.

At the golden dawn of March 1st, others saw the apparition as well, including Catherine Latapie and her two toddlers.  She had broken her arm, paralyzing two fingers the year before, but when she placed her arm into that clear pool of running spring water, her hand was perfectly healed.

On March 2nd Bernadette turned and announced to the on-looking crowd of 2,000 people, “Go and tell the priests that people must come here in procession, and that a chapel must be built here.”  Accompanied by her Aunt Bernarde and Aunt Basile, Bernadette approached Father Peyramale, the authoritative priest of St. Peter’s Church, and presented the Blessed Virgin’s request.  Doubtful and disgusted, the priest needed to know that this was truly the Virgin Mary.  He also demanded that this so-called “Virgin Mary” make the wild rosebush bloom in the winter grotto — as added proof.

Despite thousands of people showing up the last day, March 4, it was the same as the others — without any grand finale or miracle as was greatly hoped.  Life returned to normal — now that the 15 visits were over.

But on the night before the Feast of the Annunciation, Bernadette received an “inner call” to return to the grotto one more time.  Before the sun rose on March 25, she and her parents made their way to the Grotto of Massabielle.  They were surprised to find a crowd already there, hopeful that this feast day might bring some special blessings or favors.  The Virgin did appear again to Bernadette!  Bernadette decided to meet the priest’s request, so she dared to ask Mary four times,

Mademoiselle, would you be good enough to tell me who you are?

The Blessed Mother slipped the rosary over her right arm, unfolded her arms, extended her hands toward the ground, and then folded them at her breast.  She then raised her eyes toward heaven and finally answered,

I am the Immaculate Conception.”

The apparition site is a popular place for prayer and pilgrimages today.
The apparition site is a popular place for prayer and pilgrimages today.

Bernadette had absolutely no idea what that meant, but she kept repeating the strange words to herself all the way to Father Peyramale’s residence so that she would not forget this precious response that they had all been waiting for.  After she reported to him what Mary had told her, he was simply astonished.  How could this uneducated girl, whose catechist had described her as “a blank slate,” know that the Virgin Mary had been born without sin?  Pope Pius IX had proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception only four years earlier.  When she left, Father Peyramale was now a believer and broke down and wept.

On April 7, the Tuesday after Easter, Bernadette prayed at the grotto in the early morning.  Several hundred watched — including Dr. Dozous, who was there to examine her during her visionary experience — as Bernadette took a large candle and encircled the flames with her hands and fingers.  This should have severely burned anyone else but she had no reaction or burns as the stunned doctor examined her closely.  Bernadette reported, “Our Lady still wants her chapel.”

By the end of June at least 50 others reported visions of Mary there.  On July 16 was Bernadette’s last vision, after again receiving an “irresistible invitation” on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  Disguised with a cloak and not crossing the river, she admired Mary’s presence from farther away – yet felt like she was at the same distance as previous visits.  “I had never seen her so beautiful.”  This was her last visit from Mary.

On January 18, 1862, Bishop Bertrand Laurence declared,

“We judge that Mary Immaculate, the Mother of God, really did appear to Bernadette Soubirous, on eighteen occasions from 11th February, 1858, at the Grotto of Massabielle near the town of Lourdes; that these apparitions bear the characteristics of truth; that the faithful can believe them as true.”

The first of several chapels was built, and Bernadette was invited to march in the procession that Blessed Mary had requested, fulfilling both requests before she left her family and friends at age 22 on July 4, 1866, to join the Sisters of Charity in Nevers.

During Holy Week of 1879, Bernadette’s pains and ailments worsened.  “I wouldn’t have thought it took so much suffering to die.”  On Easter Wednesday, April 16, she stretched out her arms like a cross and said, “My God! … Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me, a poor sinner.”  Then she died at the age of 35 due to her poor health.  Yet, her body lies under glass without any decomposition over 135 years later in the chapel of the Convent of the Sisters of Charity in Nevers!  She was beatified on June 14, 1925, and canonized on December 8, 1933 in Rome – on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

Sister Bernadette is incorrupt after death in 1879 (her body does not decay).
Sister Bernadette is incorrupt after death in 1879 (her body does not decay).

Today, as much as 14,500 gallons of water are generated daily from the spring that started as a mud hole she dug with her fingers.  The latest chapel built there is underground but can hold 20,000 people!  During the first 150 years after this, 7,000 authenticated medical cures were documented by the International Medical  Bureau of Lourdes.  Of those miracles, the Catholic Church has conservatively accepted 67 of them as clearly from the hand of God with no other possible explanation.  Here is a sampling of the miraculous healings from the waters of Lourdes:

Louis Bouriette (54), a quarryman, had lost complete vision in his right eye during a mine explosion.  He bathed his eye several times with water from the spring, and his sight was totally restored.

Henri Busquet (16) begged his parents to take him to Lourdes as his suffering from tuberculosis was unbearable.  A neighbor brought him water from Lourdes and within two days his tuberculin ulcers had healed and infections gone.

Justin Bouhort (2) had never walked and was so sick from various illnesses that he was close to death.  His mother plunged her baby into the cold waters of the spring, ignoring the fears of bystanders.  The next day, young Justin walked for the first time – and lived to attend the canonization ceremonies for Bernadette in 1933 at the age of 77.

Bedridden for over 20 years, Madeleine Rizan (58) was paralyzed on her left side.  Her daughter gave her a few sips of the Lourdes water and applied some to her face and body.  She was instantly healed!

Marie Moreau (17) had a bad infection that had nearly robbed her of most of her eyesight.  A compress soaked in Lourdes water was placed over her eyes.  The next morning, after removing the compress, her vision was completely restored!

A fallen tree had crushed the left leg of Pierre de Rudder (52).  Infection had prevented the compound fracture from healing.  Hobbling on crutches for eight years, he faced amputation soon.  He prayed to the Blessed Virgin in front of a replica of the Lourdes grotto in Belgium.  Within minutes, his bones fused back together, and he was able to walk away without any crutches.  He was quite active until he died at the age of 75.

In 1963, Vittorio Micheli of Italy (23) was suffering from a cancerous tumor on his hip bone.  Lowered into the Lourdes bath waters on a stretcher, his tumor vanished as well as all of his pain.  He resumed an active, healthy life again.

Serge Perrin (41) suffered from a blocked carotid artery which caused paralysis, blackouts, and vision issues.  In 1970 he visited Lourdes and was completely cured.

Delizia Cirolli (12) suffered from a potentially fatal tumor in her knee and faced amputation soon.  After a trip to Lourdes and praying to Our Lady, she was 100% healed.

Jean-Pierre Bely, a nurse, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1972.  By 1987 he was bedridden and 100% disabled.  After the Anointing of the Sick at Lourdes, he felt a great sense of peace; he regained his mobility and sense of touch again.

Anna Santaniello (41) suffered from severe heart disease, labored breathing, and low oxygen levels.  Carried to the Lourdes baths on a stretcher, she walked out on her own. Doctors confirmed her good health, regular heart rhythm, and breathing without restrictions.

Our Lady of Eternal Aid, Querrien, France, 1652

“Our Lady of Eternal Aid”

Querrien is a small village in the northwestern part of France known as Brittany.  On August 15, 1652, Jeanne Courtel, age 12, was a poor shepherdess tending her father’s flock of sheep.  She had been both deaf and mute ever since her birth.  She was reciting her prayers when she was surprised by the sudden appearance of the Blessed Virgin.  Our Lady was holding the Child Jesus on one arm and holding a stalk of lilies in the other.

Blessed Mary had only spoken a few words when Jeanne suddenly realized that she could actually hear her!  The twelve-year old had been miraculously healed.  Our Lady spoke in a sweet voice,

“I choose this place to be honored.  Build for me a chapel in the middle of this village and many people will come.”

Then a dialogue began between the Holy Virgin and the shepherdess.  Mary continued,

“Charming shepherdess, give me one of your lambs.”

Jeanne would have willingly given one to the Lady, but she replied,

“These sheep are not mine; they are my father’s.”

Then Mary replied with these directions,

“Return to your parents and tell them that I require a lamb.”

Jeanne turned to leave, but then turned back and asked Our Lady,

“But who will keep my herd?”

Blessed Mary replied,

“Myself.  I will keep your sheep!”

The little girl returned to her parents quickly – and they were astonished to hear her speak!  Jeanne excitedly told them,

“A Lady came to see me, and she asked me for one of your lambs.”

The father was overjoyed at his daughter’s miraculous recovery and replied,

“Ah, my daughter.  Because this Lady has made you speak, we will give her all the flock.”

Jeanne also related that her father should dig in the nearby pond to find a statue of this Lady that had been buried there for centuries – according to Our Lady.  The father asked his daughter if the Lady had stated who she was?

“She said that she was the Virgin Mary, and we need to build a chapel in the village so many pilgrims will go there to honor her.”

The father responded,

“If this is true, we will ask the bishop to allow us to build a shrine to the Virgin Mary.”

Jeanne Courtel is healed so that the Virgin Mary can complete her mission.
Jeanne Courtel is healed so that the Virgin Mary can complete her mission.

In the days that followed, the Virgin appeared again and repeated her request for a chapel. History states that in the year 610 A.D., St. Gall had visited the region to erect a hermitage.  He had sculpted a statue of the Virgin Mary.  During a disastrous time in the region, the chapel that he had built was destroyed, and the statue was lost.

But, on August 20, having been divinely directed by Our Lady to search the pond for the statue, it was duly found and proved to be in excellent condition – despite having been buried in water for centuries.

During that same year of 1652, Msgr. Denis de La Barde, bishop of that region, made an appearance on September 11 and was informed about all that had taken place.  Several days later on September 20, after conducting his investigations, he formally recognized the validity of the apparitions and blessed the first stone of the future chapel.  The chapel was begun that year in 1652 and was completed four years later.  It was enlarged in 1779 because of the large crowds that visited the shrine.  The body of visionary Jeanne Courtel was entombed within the shrine after her death in 1703 at the age of 63.

On August 14, 1950, some 20,000 pilgrims visited Querrien for the coronation of the miraculous statue by the local bishop — who did so in the presence of many ecclesiastics.  One of the most splendid ceremonies to take place at the shrine was that in honor of Cardinal Lustiger, Archbishop of Paris, who paid homage to the Madonna and then blessed the new buildings on September 10, 2000.  The shrine of Our Lady of Eternal Aid is proud to announce that it is the only one in Brittany that has been authenticated by the Catholic Church.