On September 5, 1638, at St. Germain-en-Laye the child promised to Louis XIII and Anne of Austria was born. Exactly nine months from the day Our Lady had promised! The King and Queen beheld an heir to the throne.
It was a turbulent France into which the boy king was born. His father, Louis XIII, died four years after his birth. Louis was King at the age of four. His mother, Queen Consort of France now, had been especially close to her mother who helped her develop a deep devotion to her Roman Catholic faith. She was married to King Louis XIII as an exercise in political matchmaking. They were teen agers. The Queen was very lonesome and made a habit of visiting monasteries and churches.
Another boy, Philip, had been born before King Louis XIII died, and, Anne was a doting parent with both boys. She selected one of Cardinal Richelieu’s associates to serve as her minister, Cardinal Mazarin, upon whose advice she depended greatly.
The Edict of Nantes, which defined Huguenot rights ((Protestants)) was in effect, along with the French war against Austrian Habsburgs which lasted until 1648.
It seemed inevitable that such a young king would be challenged. In 1648, a Civil War – known as The Fronde erupted when Louis was only nine. The Parlement, which was a law court, rebelled against the monarchy. France was drowning in debt, and Mazarin imposed several new taxes, forced loans, and the selling of offices that affected the nobles. The people had turned against Mazarin and when he died in 1661, Louis decided to rule without a chief minister
In 1651 Anne ceeded power to her son. The King was fourteen years old. She died in 1666. King Louis XIV had a plaque placed in the sanctuary of Our Lady of Graces to honor his mother’s memory and to remind people that he was given to them by the vows Anne made. The plaque remains to this day. Louis XI would become the longest reigning of European monarchs – seventy two years.
Yet, King Louis didn’t listen to the message from heaven about the Sacred Heart when it was brought to him. Tears and bloodshed were in store for France.
It seems highly likely, in 1660, that heaven was offering graces to France, again, knowing they would be needed in that poor strife torn land, where undercurrents of masonic thought were already forming minds and hearts in preparation for the historical conflict with Frances’ Roman Catholic Church. The first Masonic Lodge was established in France around 1688 … La Parfaite Egalite.
Once again heaven was to visit France to remind her of God and the existence of the Supernatural and of how it links to the political scene … Whether King Louis XIV ever heard about this apparition of St. Joseph is not known. However, the King knew about apparitions … as is proven by his placing a plaque in the sanctuary reminding that he was given to the people by this apparition of Our Lady of Graces at Cotignace. That plaque which is still there.
St. Joseph appeared this time! He who has so little or nothing to say in the Bible.
It was a roasting hot day in Cotignac on June 2, 1660. Gaspard Richard was searching for fresh grass on Mount Besillon. About 1PM he had to lie down because he was suffering from an exceptional thirst. He noticed suddenly that a tall man was standing next to him.
Again, not many words came from the mouth of St. Joseph, but, there was great meaning: “I am Joseph. Lift it and you will drink” said the man, Joseph, pointing to a huge boulder. Many men would not have been able to move it. Gaspard listened to the man and made the attempt. He was surprised that he was able to lift the boulder. Under it he discovered a fresh water spring. He looked up to thank the stranger, but the man had vanished. But the seemingly impossible had been done in the blink of an eye by the faith of Gaspard.
The shepherd dashed to the village to tell all the people what happened. We can’t overestimate his eagerness and excitement. Knowing him as a humble young man, everyone believed him. They all rushed to see the newly revealed spring and the surprisingly abundant water supply in a place where no water had ever been before.
The wonderful documentary Shrine of the Holy Family : Provence, France includes this event and tells how by July 25 “the city council mentions that the source pointed out by St. Joseph has abundant healing qualities and attracts people from all over the region who come to wash, drink and fine healing remedies. In 1662, Father Allard of the Oratory that was built on the site, wrote: “The waters of St. Joseph bring miracles. Since I returned, a man whom we know from Avignon, born lame, went to the spring and came back cured, having left his crutches there”
(This documentary, once available on EWTN and Amazon is no longer available and it is not known “if ever” it will be again. From Both Web Sites
Since the beginning, the spring has never dried up. National Catholic Register Joseph Pronechen Blogs March 29 2017
God is in charge. If only we could listen. Yes, there was to be one more apparition in France coming which promised victory to the King if he would consecrate France to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and paint the image on his standards and shields, and fly it on his flags. It was the famous one of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alocoque. No King listened to it. King Louis XVI had written his vow down and it was found later. Too late.
This King knew too. He didn’t listen. That too should ring true to Catholic ears who hear of Our Lady’s pleas at Fatima, Portugal, which are treated with contempt by some of her children in Rome.
France was murmuring with discontent. Taxes were outrageous. There was hunger in the land. The voices of the French people were to become thunderous.
St. Joseph had simply called the attention of the King and the people to God, Who can do anything! What a great gift from heaven!
Some listened. Some didn’t. They didn’t want God in the affairs of France. The horrors and the bloodshed were in the making!