Apparition at Pontmain
At the time of the apparition Pontmain was a small village, inhabited
by simple and hardworking country folk, who were guided by their
parish priest Abbé Michel Guérin. The Barbadette family
consisted of father César, his wife, Victoire, with their
two sons Joseph and Eùgene, aged ten and twelve, and another
older boy who was away in the army. On the evening of 17 January
1871, the two boys were helping their father in the barn when the
eldest, Eùgene, walked over towards the door to look out.
As he gazed at the star studded sky he noticed one area practically
free of stars above a neighboring 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 neighbor came out to look and Joseph
immediately said he too could see the apparition although the adults
saw nothing. The mother, Victoire, came out but she too could see
nothing, although she was puzzled because her boys were usually
very truthful. She suggested that it might be the Blessed Virgin,
and that they should all say five Our Fathers and five Hail Marys
in her honor.
As it was now about a quarter past six, and time for supper, the
boys were ordered inside but soon after allowed to go outside again.
The Lady was still there and so the local schoolteacher, Sister
Vitaline, was sent for. She couldn't see the Lady, and so she went
to fetch three young children from the school to see their reactions.
Immediately they arrived the two older children, two girls aged
nine and eleven, expressed their delight at the apparition, describing
it as the boys had done, although the youngest child saw nothing.
The adults in the crowd, which had now grown to about sixty people
including the priest, could still see nothing and began to say the
rosary, as the children exclaimed that something new was happening.
A blue oval frame with four candles, two at the level of the shoulders
and two at the knees, was being formed around the Lady, and a short
red cross had appeared over her heart.
As the rosary progressed the figure and its frame grew larger, until
it was twice life size; the stars around her began to multiply and
attach themselves to her dress until it was covered with them.
As the Magnificat was being said the four children cried out, "Something
else is happening." A broad streamer on which letters were
appearing unrolled beneath the feet of the Lady, so that eventually
the phrase, "But pray, my children," could be read.
Fr. Guérin then ordered that the Litany of Our Lady should
be sung, and as this progressed new letters appeared, making the
message, "God will soon answer you." As they continued
to sing, another message was formed, one that removed any doubt
that it was the Blessed Virgin who was appearing to the children;
"My Son allows Himself to be moved."
The children were beside themselves with joy at the beauty of the
Lady and her smile, but her expression then changed to one of extreme
sadness, as she now contemplated a large red cross that had suddenly
appeared before her, with a figure of Jesus on it in an even darker
shade of red.
One of the stars then lit the four candles that surrounded the figure,
as the crucifix vanished and the group began night prayers. As these
were being recited, the children reported that a white veil was
rising from the Lady's feet and gradually blotting her out, until
finally, at about nine o'clock, the apparition was over.
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.
Joseph Barbadette became a priest, a member of the Congregation
of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, while his brother Eùgene
became a secular priest. He was assisted by one of the girls who
had seen Mary as his housekeeper, with the other, Jeanne-Marie Lebossé,
becoming a nun. A large basilica was built at Pontmain and consecrated
OF THE SAINTS
BLESSED JUNIPERO SERRA
Blessed Junipero Serra was born in Petra, Spain, on November 24, 1713. The boy became a student at the Franciscan school in Palma
St. Otto lived in the twelfth century. He was born in Swabia, present-day Bavaria.
St. Thomas was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. His name in the Syriac language means "twin."
ST. ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL
St. Elizabeth, a Spanish princess, was born in 1271. She married King Denis of Portugal at the age of twelve.
ST. ANTHONY MARY ZACCARIA
St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria was born in Italy in 1502. While he was still young, his father died.
ST. MARIA GORETTI
St. Maria Goretti was born in 1890. Her father died when she and the other five children in her family were small. At twelve, Maria was already very pretty.
BLESSED ROGER DICKENSON, BLESSED RALPH MILNER AND BLESSED LAWRENCE HUMPHREY
These three martyrs lived in England during the time of Church persecution by Queen Elizabeth I.
BLESSED EUGENE III
Blessed Eugene III was born near Pisa, Italy, in the twelfth century. He was baptized Peter.
ST. FELICITY AND HER SEVEN SONS.
St. Felicity was a noble Christian woman of Rome. She lived during the second century.
St. Benedict was born in 480. He was from a rich Italian family. His life was full of adventure and wonderful deeds.
ST. JOHN GAULBERT
St. John Gaulbert was born in Florence, Italy, at the end of the tenth century. He and his father were devastated when John's only brother, Hugh, was murdered.
ST. HENRY II.
St. Henry II was born in 972. He became the duke of Bavaria in 995. One night he had an unusual vision. St. Wolfgang, who had been his beloved teacher when he was a boy, appeared to him.
BLESSED KATERI TEKAKWITHA
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was born in Auriesville, New York, in 1656. Her mother was a Christian Algonquin. Her father was a non-Christian Mohawk chief.
St. was born in 1221 in Tuscany, Italy, and was baptized John.
FEAST OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
This feast was instituted by the Carmelites between 1376 and 1386 under the title "Commemoratio B. Marif Virg.
ST. LEO IV.
St. Leo IV lived in the ninth century. He was a Roman by birth and spent his life in that city. Leo was educated in the Benedictine monastery near St. Peter's Basilica.
St. Frederick lived in ninth-century Utrecht, in the central part of the Netherlands. When he was ordained a priest, Bishop Ricfried put him in charge of instructing converts.
St. Macrina was the first child of St. Basil the Elder and St. Emmelia.
St. Charbel was born to a poor Maronite Family on May 8, 1828 in a mountain village of Biqa-Kafra, Lebanon.
ST. LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI.
St. Lawrence was born Caesar Rossi in Brindisi, Italy, in 1559. Brindisi was part of the Kingdom of Naples, Italy.
ST. MARY MAGDALENE.
St. Mary Magdalene was from Magdala near the Sea of Galilee. Some people identify her as a well-known sinner when she first saw Our Lord.
ST. BRIDGET OF SWEDEN.
St. Bridget was born in Sweden in 1303. From the time she was a child, she was greatly devoted to the passion of Jesus.
ST. BORIS AND ST. GLEB
St. Boris and St. Gleb, the brothers, were born toward the end of the tenth century.
ST. JAMES THE GREATER
St. James was a fisherman like his father Zebedee and his brother John.
ST. JOACHIM AND ST. ANNE
St. Anne and St. Joachim are the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
St. Pantaleon came from Nicomedia, near the Black Sea, in Asia. He lived in the fourth century.
St. Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus.
ST. PETER CHRYSOLOGUS
St. Peter Chrysologus was born in the small town of Imola, Italy.
ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA
St. Ignatius, the famous founder of the Jesuits, was born in 1491.
PHOTO OF THE MONTH
of the Relics of the Passion
for Holy Relics)
Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven,
submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a
baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke
3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of
the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the
cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning
of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah
52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among
sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s
will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death
for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust
and submission to God?