Mais, priez, mes enfants!

| | Comments (10)


January 17th is the feast of Our Lady of Pontmain, also called Our Mother of Hope. During my retreat last October at the Benedictine Monastery of Craon near Laval, I was not far from Pontmain. Although I was unable to visit the sanctuary, something of the grace of Pontmain seemed to reach my heart. The faithful of the region are very devoted to the Virgin of Pontmain. Pilgrimages are frequent. Pontmain remains a place of conversions and blessings.

The Day When the Sky Opened

In Pontmain, on January 17, 1871 it was dark and cold, and France was at war. Paris was besieged. The conquering Prussian army was at the gates of Laval. The inhabitants of Pontmain were in anguish for they were without news of their thirty-eight young men who had gone to fight in the war. That evening, Eugène Barbedette was helping his father to crush fodder in the barn. His little brother Joseph was there too. Eugène went out “to see the weather”.

A Beautiful Lady

It was then that Eugène saw above the house opposite a beautiful Lady wearing a star-spangled dress. She was looking at him and smiling. She held her arms stretched out in front of her. Villagers ran towards the barn. Other children saw the vision too. A blue oval with four candles surrounded the beautiful Lady. The Parish Priest and the Sisters from the school began prayers and hymns.

But, Pray, My Children

They said the Rosary followed by the Magnificat. Then a banner unfurled itself between the oval and the roof of the house. Letter by letter, a message was written in the sky. The children read out the words, while the crowd sang the Litanies of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Inviolata and the Salve Regina.

"But, do pray, my children. God will answer you very soon. My Son lets His Heart be touched."

The children's joy was contagious. “Oh! How beautiful she is!” They sang Mother of Hope, a familiar canticle. Then, all of a sudden, the children became sad. The face of the beautiful Lady was overcome by a look of deep distress.

Mary Shows Jesus Crucified

Before the beautiful Lady appeared a blood red crucifix. At the top of the cross, on a white crosspiece, the Name of Jesus Christ was written in red letters. The beautiful Lady grasped the crucifix in both hands and showed it to the children while a small star lit the four candles in the blue oval. Everyone prayed in silence. They sang the Ave Maris Stella. The red crucifix disappeared. The beautiful Lady extended her hands in a gesture of welcome. A small white cross appeared on each shoulder. Everyone knelt down in the snow. A white veil, like a great sheet, covered the beautiful Lady from foot to head. “It’s finished,” said the children. Eleven days later the armistice was signed. The Prussians never entered Laval.

Pilgrimages and Ecclesiastical Approval

All kinds of graces were obtained at Pontmain. After suitable research and a canonical investigation, the Bishop of Laval, Monseigneur Wicart, gave his decision: “We judge that the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, truly appeared on the 17th of January 1871, to Eugène and Joseph Barbedette, Françoise Richer and Jeanne-Marie Lebossé in the hamlet of Pontmain.”


gracias madre del cielo por
tanto amor..
gracias por estar aqui con nosotros..
gracias por llevarnos a jesus.
tu hija

Thank you for the reminder of the importance of retreats at the beginning of your message. I was thinking of visiting St. Gregory of Nyssa's Church
at 500 De Haro St in San Francisco, CA on a personal retreat in the area this Summer. I was wondering whether you were familiar with it and whether or not it would bear looking into?
Thanks, and have a blessed day.

Rick, Do you mean St Gregory of Nyssa the Episcopal church in SF?

PAZ, yes. I believe it is located between Rhode Island and Carolina Street and wondered whether a tour of the Church and the area would be profitable. I'm not at all familiar with the area, but with my recent introduction to the "treasure trove" that is the life of Saint Gregory, I figured I might take a closer look since it will be nearby later this year. In the Google Earth view, the surrounding area looks sort of rough and tumble. Are you familiar with the location?

Rick, I have been to the parish and it is a very liberal Episcopalian parish. If the pastor, Rick Fabian is still there, then you would find things avant garde and trendy. Fabian is a Yale Divinity School grad who claims to be influenced by the Christian East; he's read a lot of "liturgy". He and his staff have rationalized everything from the use of iconography (Elizabeth I and Malcom X and some pop music stars are painted above the altar), the waterfall for a baptistry (because he said he didn't believe in the Pauline theology of baptism), Ethiopian-like vestments and crosses and African (tribal) presidential chair for the celebrant and a Buddhist temple for a "tabernacle". In short Fabian and company love ritual and created for themselves a well-choreographed ritual but one that does not resemble standard Episcopal liturgy. The neighborhood when I was last there in 2001 was "emerging". Have at it....

Oh my, all pomp and no circumstance!

It sounds as though this Fabian is truly enlightened, truly damned or truly somewhere in between. After a time of study, I see clearly how St. Gregory can be considered a true pillar of the Church. While Holy Scripture does tell us that the heavens declare the glory of God, I'm not so sure I would place pop music stars above the altar. Then again, with all due respect to Rev. Msgr. Patrick, in the words of my generation, and in all humor, "one man's pomp is another man's iPod." What will the Episcopalians come up with next?
I may "have at it," indeed, when I am in the area. Thanks for the input.

My Goodness, what about all the talk I've heard for so many years that the only thing the church can do is declare an apparition as "worthy of belief"? It was quite simply Hogwash. Church has no limitations like that.

The message Our Lady left was "mon fils se lasse." The translations which appear on the web are misleading. They interpret this to say My Son lets Himself be moved... but the sentence is incomplete. When does Our Lady speak in half sentences? The translation from the French is "My Son grows weary." End of sentence.

Cher M. Ferrari, je regrette, mais vous êtes mal informé. La phrase exacte en français est: "Mais priez mes enfants. Dieu vous exaucera en peu de temps. MON FILS SE LAISSE TOUCHER". Il n'est pas du tout question de, "Mon Fils se lasse". Il se laisse toucher, tout comme dans l'évangile avant la multiplication des pains. Dieu se laisse toucher toujours par la prière des petits enfants et de ceux qui sont comme eux.

Leave a comment

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory