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Our Lady of Pontmain:

Our Lady of Pontmain

On the evening of January 17, the men of the Barbedette family were working in their barn.

Dinner would be ready soon, but they wanted to get finished with their chores before going inside.

It had begun to snow lightly, not like the other days. The winds had died down.

The pure white powder fell gently, as if it had come directly from Heaven. Monsieur Barbedette, known as Bierot, his sons Eugene 12 years old, and Joseph, aged 10, were all working side by side. It was about 6 in the evening. Supper would be ready soon. They wanted to get their work done before they were called in to eat.

In the recesses of their minds was concern over the third Barbedette son, Auguste, who was away fighting the war. The father felt that by working, he could take his mind off his fears; but it was not happening.

Not an especially religious man, he found himself praying his rosary under his breath. A neighbor woman, Jean Detais, came by with rumors about the war situation, and possible news about the son Auguste.

Eugene could not get over how gently the snow had fallen outside. He couldn't hear a sound. There was not the slightest breeze blowing, much less the gailstorm winds that had buffeted the area earlier that day. He walked to the door of the barn. He didn't want to hear any bad news about Auguste. He thought that by walking away from it, by not listening to Jean Detais, he could prevent it from happening. The night cold air was refreshing. He looked outside. The snow had stopped. He remarked to himself how unusual it was that the sky was so full of stars, though there was no moon that night. He looked around him. He was immediately frozen to the spot.
 
Our Lady of Pontmain - first appariton


Above neighbor Augustin Guidecogs house, about twenty five feet in the air, A BEAUTIFUL LADY WAS SUSPENDED IN THE AIR, her arms outstretched. She was looking at him, and smiling. He had never seen anything like her in his life.

Her eyes gleamed like stars. Her teeth were pearl white. They sparkled as she smiled at him. To the 12 year old Eugene, she was a lady, but she appeared to be about 18 to 20 years old. She wore blue, but dark blue, darker than the sky.

Her dress was long and loose; her sleeves flowed, and on her collar was a band of gold. There was a black veil on her head, topped by a gold cap which resembled a crown. A thin red band ran across the cap. She wore blue slippers tied with gold ribbons.

The neighbor woman noticed the boy standing in a daze at the door. He was staring up into the sky. She went over to him to see what was the matter. He asked her to look up in the sky and tell him what she saw.

I see nothing. she answered.

Eugene looked at her incredulously. How could she not see a lady suspended in air. It was the most unusual sight he had ever seen, and she couldn't see it. He called his father and brother to look up at the sky. Bierot could not see anything, but young Josephs expression turned to joy as he looked up above Guidecoqs barn.

I see a beautiful lady. he exclaimed. He proceeded to describe the scene in detail, just as Eugene had seen it.

The father, Bierot, ordered the boys back into the barn to finish their work. He told Jean Detais, the neighbor, not to mention what they had said to anyone. She promised that she would not. The boys returned to the barn. Bierot took one last look before he closed the barn door. What could it be that they had seen? There was nothing unusual in the sky. The stars were brighter than he remembered seeing them before, but that was probably because the wind had blown all the clouds away.

The spark of a thought kept gnawing away at the back of his mind. He had been working with the boys all day. Their behavior had been normal. They hadn't acted silly. As a matter of fact, there had been a serious tone to the day. They were all worried about the well-being of Auguste. It would have been out of character for them to take a sudden turn to silliness, as he had first attributed their claim about a lady in the sky. Then, he thought, they didn't see the lady at the same time. First Eugene saw her, and then Joseph. They both described her in the same way. Bierot took one last look in the sky, shrugged his shoulder, and went back to work.

The boys could not get the beautiful lady out of their minds. Her gaze warmed them, as if she had covered them with her mantle. The eyes, those cobalt blue eyes that pierced them, the sparkling teeth, the delicate features of her face, formed an indelible impression on their mind. They worked quickly, which was not like them at all. When they had finished their work, they raced each other to the barn door. They pushed it open, and looked out. She was still there. She was still smiling at them. She was radiant.

Bierot called his wife; maybe she would see something. This was driving him crazy. Mrs. Barbedette came to the barn door. She looked up, but saw nothing. Her husband was somewhat relieved. However, as a precaution, just in case it was a vision from Heaven, they all knelt down to say five Pater Nosters and five Ave Marias. Then they went into the house for supper.

The boys wolfed their food down, so that they could run back outside to see if the Lady was still there. As soon as the last mouthful had been finished, they ran outside the door again. She was still there. The mother asked them to describe how tall she was.

She's about the same size as Sister Vitaline.

This gave the mother an inspiration. She called the nun, asked her to look up into the sky, to see if she could see anything. Sr. Vitaline could not. The boys were becoming frustrated.

How can you not see it? Eugene cried out. She is so brilliant. Can you see a triangle of bright stars?

Everyone agreed that they could see three bright stars, which they had never seen before, and never saw again, except for that night.

 

Well, the top of the triangle is where her head is, and the two stars at the bottom are at a level with her shoulders. Can you see that?

No one but Eugene and Joseph could see the lady.

Mrs. Barbedette had heard the stories which had made their way up from the south of France about the two children from La Salette, and the little girl at Lourdes, who had claimed to have seen the Blessed Virgin. Perhaps this was the same, and only children could see the apparition. She took the nun with her, and together, they went back to Sr. Vitalines school.

There were three children there. The nun asked them to come along with her and Mrs. Barbedette, to see if they could make out anything unusual in the sky. As they walked towards the home of the Barbedettes, one of the children, Francoise Richer, age 11, pointed up into the sky.

Therees something very bright above Monsieur Guidecoqs barn, she exclaimed. Mrs. Barbedette and the nun looked at each other.

As they got closer, both Francoise and a younger girl, Jean-Marie Lebosse, age 9, cried out, Oh, the beautiful lady, with the blue dress and the golden stars. No one had said anything to these two. They had no idea of what they were supposed to be looking for. They had not spoken to the Barbedette boys as yet. But they saw the same thing that Eugene and Joseph had seen. The third child, however, saw nothing.

Word of the event spread through the little village rapidly. Soon, just about every resident of Pontmain was at the Barbedette barn, looking up into the clear winter sky, praying for a glimpse of Our Lady of Pontmain.

She became enclosed in a blue, almond shaped frame, from which protruded four candles, two at the level of her neck, and two at the level of her knees. On her heart, a tiny red cross appeared.

The gathering took on the semblance of organization as the local priest, Fr. Guerin came upon the scene. The children reported that the expression on the face of the Lady had fallen into sadness. The priest ordered everyone on their knees in prayer. They began to recite the Rosary, the favorite prayer of Mary. The first of 5 changes began to take place.

As she listened to the earnest prayers of the people for peace, and for the safe return of their children, the visionaries saw her begin to swell in size. She grew to almost double her original size. The triangle of stars grew with her, but the rest of the stars made way for the magnificent visitor, queen of all the stars in the heavens. Some of the stars became enmeshed in her gown, while others positioned themselves at her feet.

A Sister Marie-Edouard, who was well known as a leader, began to lead the people in singing THE MAGNIFICAT. The children shouted out as a new development took place. A banner formed at the feet of the Lady, between her and the top of the barn. It was about the size of the roof of the barn, and as they sang, a word was formed on the top of the banner. It was MAIS, which means BUT. As the hymn came to the end, the sentence was formed.

MAIS, PRIEZ MES ENFANTS

BUT PRAY, MY CHIILDREN

The children called out the sentence as it appeared. A shout of joy was sounded among the people. They began to pray the Litany of Mary. Another sentence appeared.

DIEU VOUS EXAUCERA EN PEU DE TEMPS

GOD WILL SOON ANSWER YOUR PRAYERS

 Prayer to Our Lady of Pontmain:


O Mary, my Mother, I kneel before you with heavy heart. The burden of my sins oppresses me. The knowledge of my weakness discourages me. I am beset by fears and temptations of every sort. Yet I am so attached to the things of this world that instead of longing for Heaven I am filled with dread at the thought of death.

O Mother of Mercy, have pity on me in my distress. You are all-powerful with your Divine Son. He can refuse no request of your Immaculate Heart. Show yourself a true Mother to me by being my advocate before His throne. O Refuge of Sinners and Hope of the Hopeless, to whom shall I turn if not you?

Obtain for me, then, O Mother of Hope, the grace of true sorrow for my sins, the gift of perfect resignation to God's Holy Will, and the courage to take up my cross and follow Jesus. Beg of His Sacred Heart the special favor that I ask in this novena.

(Make your request.)

But above all I pray, O dearest Mother, that through your most powerful intercession my heart may be filled with Holy Hope, so that in life's darkest hour I may never fail to trust in God my Savior, but by walking in the way of His commandments I may merit to be united with Him, and with you in the eternal joys of Heaven.

Mary, our Hope, have pity on us.
Hope of the Hopeless, pray for us.
Amen.


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