In which the BVM saves a little hamlet from the advances of a raging, ravaging, enemy army.
A Marian apparition is a reported supernatural appearance by the Holy Mary. This particular apparition is recorded as being proven although I can’t imagine how it could be. But who am I to question the Catholic Church?
Pontmain, France, 17 January, 1871
Cesar Barbadette, hardworking farm labourer, was staring up into the night sky when he noticed one area practically free of stars above a neighbouring house. Suddenly he saw an apparition of a beautiful woman smiling at him; she was wearing a blue gown covered with golden stars, and a black veil under a golden crown.
His father, brother, and a neighbour came out to look but saw nothing.
Finally about sixty people, including the priest, stood around staring upwards but, although they could see nothing out of the ordinary up there, began to say the rosary. But some little children saw something! They saw the figure of a woman with four candles and a red cross over her heart. Ah, the sharp vision of those little children. You can see their tiny sharp eyes in the photo.
What was Mary doing there? Let me tell you why. This apparition appeared at the height of the Franco-Prussian War and Pontmain lay between the oncoming Prussian army and the city of Laval. The Prussian forces, however, inexplicably abandoned their advance. A miracle? Of course it was.
The following March a canonical inquiry into the apparition was held, and in May the local bishop questioned the children, the inquiry being continued later in the year with further questioning by theologians and a medical examination. The bishop was satisfied by these investigations, and in February 1872 declared his belief that it was the Blessed Virgin who had appeared to the children. It was approved by Pope Pius IX.
How fortuitous for the little hamlet of Pontmain.
First in being saved from the advances of a raging, ravaging, enemy army and then becoming a shrine, attracting a wondrous stream of visitors who, to this day, flock to Pontmain to honour the apparition. Sadly she’s never been seen again, but the generous donations from the visitors make up for this loss.