Publié le : 2022-05-11 18:30:00
Catégories : Religious News
Our Catholic religion gives a very important place to the maternal image of Our Lady. Throughout the history of Christianity, there have been accounts of Marian visions and apparitions. Depending on the period, these accounts of Christians seeing Our Lady have been treated in different ways. In Antiquity and the Middle Ages it was the authority of the "seer" that made the vision or apparition de facto credible. From the end of the 15th century the Church established procedures for verification and authentication that were further developed in the 19th century.
Marian apparitions are always accompanied by a message. This message is often a recommendation on how to pray, on a current event in the world, but it does not change the dogma of the Christian and then Catholic faith.
From the year 40 until the end of the Middle Ages, several apparitions took place. Some of them are attested by documents of the time, others belong more to popular tradition. One example is the apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza, Spain, in 40 AD, which led to the construction of a large basilica in the city.
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Snow in Rome was built following a snowfall on the Esquiline Hill in Rome on 5 August. The Pope of the time said that this miracle had occurred to show where the basilica he intended to build would be.
This basilica was named Our Lady of the Snows and its cult gradually spread throughout Europe.
Isolated in a hermitage in Languedoc in 1208, St. Dominic was visited by Our Lady. She had a request for him: she wanted Christians to pray the rosary. It was after this apparition that the monk Dominic transmitted the rosary that we know today. The recitation of the rosary during three and then four mysteries was established and quickly spread to the rest of Christendom. This prayer is still very popular today.
At the end of the Middle Ages, the Church wanted to rationalise the messages received from the Virgin or Christ.
- The Doctors of the Church began by making a distinction between visions intended for a single person and apparitions, which were usually accompanied by miracles.
- At that time, an investigation of validity was also instituted, to be conducted by the local bishop.
In the 16th century, in line with the rationalism introduced by the Enlightenment, the Church introduced a more rational approach to the validation of apparitions. Thus, to be recognised, Our Lady's apparitions had to be accompanied by one or more miracles.
In the 19th century, science and medicine demanded a right to review the validation of apparitions.
Finally, in the twentieth century, sociologists and psychologists took their turn in recognising Marian apparitions. Parallel to this movement, the place of the visionaries of the apparitions, i.e. those who have seen the Virgin, has taken a central place.
A young shepherdess from the Hautes-Alpes, Benoîte Rencurel, with very little education, received a visit from an old man who introduced himself as St. Maurice. He announced to the 17-year-old girl that the Mother of God would soon visit her.
This is indeed what happened: Our Lady appeared to Benoîte almost every day while she was tending her flock. These apparitions immediately caused a sensation in the village and the surrounding area. The judge of the valley, François Grimaud, came a few months later to investigate. After questioning the visionary, he was very impressed by what she told him. The next day, together with the local priest, he organised a large parish pilgrimage to attend the apparition with Benoîte. During the apparition of Our Lady, the judge whispered to Benoîte to ask the lady her name. The latter then announced to the seer that her name was "Dame Marie".
Most of the apparitions at Le Laus took place in a straw oratory dedicated to Our Lady of Good Fortune. From her first apparition at this place, Our Lady announced to Benoîte that a large church would be built on this very spot and that this building would be destined for the conversion of sinners.
Throughout her life and every day of her life, the shepherdess came to the chapel to witness the apparitions. Very quickly, pilgrims flocked to Saint Etienne du Laus in all weathers.
Stories of miracles, generally linked to the oil in the church lamp, soon spread, attracting ever larger crowds. Four chroniclers of the time faithfully recorded Benoîte's stories, making them the most documented apparitions of modern times.
On Saturday 19th September 1846, two young shepherds, Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud, aged 15 and 11, went up to the mountain pasture with their flock, as usual. The two children know each other very little. Around 3 p.m., while they were looking for their flock, they saw a big light in the hollow of a valley where a spring was flowing. They approached and found a beautiful lady sitting with her head in her hands, obviously crying. Raising her head, she invites them to come closer, addresses them in French and then in dialect so that they understand the message she has to deliver.
This weeping Madonna complains about the impiety of the Christians. She predicts terrible punishments if this does not change and promises God's clemency if the people change their behaviour. Finally, Our Lady instructs the two children to make this message known to the Christian people.
The first miracle declared took place a month later: a woman who had been walking only on crutches for twenty years and had been constantly lying down for seven years asked her neighbours to go to the place of the apparition to pray for her recovery. At the very hour when the penitents were praying, this woman got up alone.
Our Lady of Lourdes appeared from 11th February 1858 to 16th July of the same year in front of the grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes. The young visionary Bernadette Soubirous was then 14 years old. During one of her apparitions, Our Lady asked Bernadette to scratch herself at the bottom of the grotto to drink from the spring. This spring is still greatly venerated by Christians.
In Lourdes, Our Lady invites believers to convert and do penance. To do this, she asks them to "come to the spring, drink and wash".
Attracting millions of pilgrims, the grotto of Lourdes and its spring have become the most striking feature of the sanctuary, which was built on the site of the apparitions.
Miracles are so numerous in Lourdes that a medical and scientific committee is involved in every extraordinary cure before the case is submitted to the ecclesiastical authorities. As of February 2018, seventy miracles have been officially recognised by the church. Many other unexplained healings have also occurred.
The apparition of Pontmain took place on 17 January 1871 in a small village in Mayenne. A total of seven children reported seeing a Beautiful Lady, but only the three oldest ones were officially recognised as seers by the Church. The apparition, which started around 6 p.m. on a winter evening, lasted about three hours. It gradually brought together the villagers who saw nothing. The few children present described how the apparition evolved with the prayers of the congregation and the passage of time. This apparition was recognised the following year, on 2 February 1872, by the bishop, Mgr Casimir Wicart, who authorised its devotion.
This very long apparition in the cold and snow took place in four scenes, while the villagers joined the visionary children in prayer. During all this time, the children, from the oldest, Eugène Barbedette, 12 years old, to the youngest, 25 months old, described together with the adults the changes that took place in the apparition.
We then talked about four different images. These changed according to the time of day and the prayers recited by the assembly. A beautiful lady dressed in a large blue dress with golden stars looks kindly at the children. A message is gradually written on a banner: "But pray, my children", "God will answer you in a short time" and finally "My Son lets himself be touched". In 1871, the war between Germany and France was in full swing.
The rapid end of the war and the return of all conscripts to the village were interpreted as a miracle. Within a few months, Pont Main became a place of worship for French and foreign Christians.
Our Lady's apparitions in France have always aroused great enthusiasm and hope. Our Lady's messages are always an incentive to prayer and consolation. They have had a considerable impact on the Catholics of our time.