“Our Lady of Pellevoisin,”
PELLEVOISIN, FRANCE (1876)
Estelle Faguette, age 33, lay dying from pulmonary tuberculosis, acute peritonitis, and an abdominal tumor. On February 10, 1876, a doctor declared that she only had hours left to live. On February 14, during the night, a demon appeared at the foot of her bed. But then she also saw the Blessed Virgin at her bedside, rebuking the demon – which immediately departed.
“Fear nothing, you are my daughter. Have courage for you are to suffer for five more days in honor of the five wounds of Christ. On Saturday, you will be either dead or cured.”
The next night, on the 15th of February, both the Devil and Virgin appeared at the same moment.
“Be not afraid, for I am here. This time my Son is showing His Mercy. He will let you have life; on Saturday you will be healed.”
But Estelle said that she was ready to die, if she could choose, because she felt ready. Mary responded with a smile,
“Ungrateful, if My Son gives you life, it is because you need it. What other more precious thing can He give the people on Earth other than life? Don’t think that you will be free from suffering. No! You will suffer and not be free from troubles. This is what life brings. You have touched My Son’s heart by your self-denial and patience. Don’t lose those fruits by making the wrong choice. Did I not say that if He lets you live, you shall make My glory known?”
Estelle saw a marble tile wrapped in white silk paper, but found it impossible to pick up. Then Mary said it was time to look into the past. Estelle’s past mistakes were reviewed. Stunned at what she had done over the years, she felt great sadness. Mary just remained silent and then left with an expression of goodness on her face.
The third apparition was on February 16th, and this time the Devil was a long way away. But Mary reassured her that her wrongdoings were in the past, and her self-denial has “put right the wrongs.” Then Mary reviewed the good things Estelle had done. Mary was touched by a letter Estelle had written last September in which she compared her parents’ suffering to Her Son’s suffering.
The fourth apparition was brief and uneventful on February 17th. The fifth one was the next night, the 18th. Mary came closer to her and let her see the large tile in greater detail. On each corner was a golden rosebud, in the middle a golden heart pierced by a sword with a crown of roses. Written on it were these words:
“I called to Mary in the depth of my despair. She pleaded with Her Son for me and gained my total healing for me.”
Then Mary asked her to let her deeds prove her words. She said that Estelle could gain blessings wherever she goes by proclaiming Mary’s glory. Then Mary said, sadly,
“It saddens me the most to see that people have no respect for My Son in the Holy Eucharist, and the way people pray whilst their minds are on other things. I say this to those who pretend to be pious.”
Estelle began to feel dreadful pains in her stomach and abdomen. Holding her rosary in her left hand, she gave her suffering up to God. Little did she know that she was in the process of being healed. Soon she felt rested, well, and healed – except for the lack of functioning in her right arm. But the Parish Priest believed that when he brought her Holy Communion later that she would be able to make the sign of the cross with her right hand – and it was true that she was able to, later.
The sixth apparition occurred four and a half months later on July 1st. As Estelle was kneeling in her bedroom, saying prayers, Mary appeared, unexpectedly, dressed in white and surrounded by light. She looked at something, crossed her hands over her chest, and smiled, saying,
“Stay calm, my child, patience, it will be difficult for you, but I am with you. Courage, I shall return.”
She left abruptly, but appeared a seventh time the next night, July 2nd. Bright light streamed forth from her hands. Then, she crossed her hands over her chest and said,
“You have already proclaimed my glory. Carry on. My Son has gained more souls who have devoted themselves more deeply to Him. His heart is so full of love for My heart that He can never refuse me anything. For me he will touch and soften the hardest hearts.”
Estelle wished for some sign of her power that she could prove to others, but Mary reminded that her own miraculous healing was evidence enough – and to let it be known.
The eighth apparition was uneventful on July 3rd.
The ninth apparition was two months later on September 9th, and Mary appeared with the same white light, looked around the bedroom in silence, and then said,
“You deprived yourself of my visit on August 15th because you were not calm enough. You have a real French character: they want to know everything before learning, and understand everything before knowing. I could have come again yesterday – you deprived yourself of my visit because I was waiting for an act of submission and obedience from you.”
The tenth apparition on September 10th was very short and uneventful. The eleventh visit was on September 15th. Mary said, sadly,
“I can stop My Son no longer. France will suffer. Take courage and have confidence. It is so much the worse for those who will not believe.”
The twelfth visitation was six weeks later on November 1st. Mary appeared, arms outstretched, wearing a scapular, staring at something invisible in the room, looking around, saying nothing, but gazing finally at Estelle with “a look of much goodness.”
During the thirteenth visit on November 5th, Mary said that she chooses the meek and mild for Her glory. She told Estelle to be brave as many trials are coming soon.
During the fourteenth appearance on November 11th, Mary praised Estelle for making a scapular and asked that she make many more.
The fifteenth and final apparition occurred on December 8th, 1876. Mary appeared “more beautiful than ever” and said,
“You will see me no more. I shall be with you, but invisible. You need not be afraid.”
Estelle asked Mary if she could have the scapular Mary was holding. Mary just told her to come and kiss it. The Blessed Virgin bent down towards Estelle so she could kiss the scapular – a most memorable and wonderful moment for Estelle. Mary added that she wanted her to go to higher authorities and have a model of this scapular reproduced.
“Tell him that helping you do this pleases Me more by seeing my children wear it – while they turn away from everything else which insults My Son while people receive the Sacrament of His Love – and do all they can to repair the damages already done. See the graces which I shall pour out over all who wear it in trust of me and while spreading this devotion.”
Mary spread her hands, and rain fell very generously. Within each drop was clearly written a grace – health, trust, respect, love, holiness – all the graces which one could ever think of.
“These graces are from my Son. I take them out of His heart. He can refuse me nothing.”
She made a semicircle around Estelle’s room and disappeared.
The apparitions were quickly recognized by Monsignor de La Tour d’Auvergne, the Archbishop of Bourges. He authorized the making and distribution of the scapular and allowed public worship of Our Lady of Pellevoisin. The Archbishop ordered two canonical inquiries into the apparitions, which resulted in a favorable verdict on December 5, 1878. Later, in 1883, the parish priest of Pellevoisin, Fr. Salmon, accompanied by Fr. Auvrelle, the Vicar General, journeyed to Rome to present Pope Leo XIII with a bound record of the apparitions and a picture of Our Lady of Pellevoisin. The Pope was pleased to grant indulgences to encourage pilgrimages to the shrine.
Estelle was privileged to visit Pope Leo XIII on two occasions, during which the Pope promised to submit her scapular of the Sacred Heart to the Congregation of Rites. A decree was issued two months later approving the scapular
Estelle Faguette died in Pellevoisin at the age of 86 on August 23, 1929 – 53 years after her miraculous healing from death at the age of 33.