France was at war. On July 18, 1870, Emperor Napoleon III of France declared war against Prussia. From the first days of the war, defeat followed defeat. By January 1871, Paris was under siege. Two thirds of the country was in the power of the Prussians, and they were advancing towards the west of France. By January 17, 1871 they were just across the river from Laval, which was very close to the home of the Barbadette Family, who could hear the guns and the roar of the canons.
The parents of Eugene 12, and, Joseph 10, were busy in the kitchen of their home fixing dinner when Eugene decided to go out into the barn and feed the horses. It was not as dark as usual, so he walked over to the window in the barn and looked up. The sky was filled with stars. More stars than he had ever seen, and, he kept gazing. The thirty or so young men in the town of Pontmain who had been conscripted into military service was very much on his mind. He was filled with worry for some of his friends.
As he leaned on his elbows looking in to the sky, he thought he saw a lady. But no, that could not be … he continued to watch. Yes, it was. She was real. And in the sky!
Eugene called to his brother to come out. Joseph saw her too. The Barbadette parents came rushing out to the cold barn. They could see nothing unusual except for the star studded sky. It was almost like day. The parents decided to call someone else. Of course their first thought was of the Sisters in the nearby school who came quickly and brought two little girls with them, Frances Richer, 11, and Jeanne Marie Lebosse, 9. They both saw the lady and dropped down on their knees in the hard cold snow.
What does she look like, Eugene? Tell us! Some neighbors heard the voices and joined the family and the nuns with the other children. “She is dressed in a flowing robe of deep radiant blue studded with gold stars. The sleeves were full, extending up to the hands. She was wearing blue slippers, tied with goldenribbon in the shape of a rosette. Her hair was completely covered with a black veil thrown over her shoulders reaching down to the level of her elbow. On her head, a gold crown rose slightly to a peak. It had no ornament in front except a red band circling the centre. Her hands were extended …”like the Miraculous Medal” … but without the rays of light.”
The crowd grew, and, Father Guerin, the parish Priest joined them. The Lady remained and from time to time would look sad because some of the people were ‘rowdy’ but the crowd changed that with Marian prayers and and hymns led by Father Guerin, who believed immediately when he saw the children. He led several Rosaries and as he did, stars could be seen gathering two by two under the Lady’s feet as if representing the Hail Marys of the Rosary. Then a white banner, about a yard wide, unrolled beneath the Lady’s feet, thus forming a perfect rectangle. It was on this that she spelled her message:
“OH DO PRAY MY CHILDREN, GOD WILL ANSWER YOU VERY SOON. MY SON ALLOWS HIMSELF TO BE MOVED”
Our Lady then raised her hands to the height of her shoulder, arms out and bent slightly backwards and elbows close to her body. Then a large red cross appeared in the hands of the Blessed Virgin. The figure of the crucified Christ was a darker red hue but no blood was flowing from the wounds. The community prayed their night prayers together and a large white veil began to cover the figure of the Virgin, slowly rising to her face, as she gave a last smile. The apparition ended . It was nine o’clock. It had lasted three hours.
Only the little ones had seen Our Lady, yet, the crowd believed because of the faces of the children and their mannerisms and prayers … and tears of joy at times. All this in the bitter cold and snow.
After some time, late that night of January 17, General Von Schmidt of the Prussian Army who was about to run over Laval towards Pontmain, received orders from his Commander not to take the city. The invasion of the Catholic West part of France never occurred. General Schmidt is reported to have said on the morning of the 18th: “We cannot go further. Yonder, in the direction of Brittany, there is an invisible ‘Madonna’ barring the way.”
On January 23, 1871, the longed for armistice was signed in the hall of mirrors in the palace of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles was the treaty which was hated by Adolph Hitler as it annexed, in his opinion, too much of Germany.
The promise of Our Lady “God will soon grant your request” had been fulfilled. Source Michael Journal January 91, 2013
Our Lady is prominent in the affairs of France. The pages of History are alight with her apparitions in that country. To mention a few … The Miraculous Medal and St. Catherine Laboure, The dogma of the Immaculate Conception affirmed to St. Bernadett Soubirouis, The Devotion and Badge of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary, and, the Sacred Heart/Mother of Mercy Scapular to Estelle Faguette at Pellevoisin. So many! They will all be covered here.
Our Lady is very interested in France, her eldest daughter of the Church. Yes, it is true. France is that. The proof is there and will be shown. One thing stands out in that aspect and it is this: God does not like it if the French Monarchy is broken. It is an uncanny ‘thing’. Keep reading!
And here is why I write these little ‘extras’. The little village of Pontmain, France is in the diocese of Laval. * The Diocese of Laval was the first to be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus after the beatification of Marguerite-Marie in 1865. France and the Cult of the Sacred Heart Raymond Jonas page152 (Hence … the special protection from God in time of peril occurred)
Yet it is simple when examined closely. Note how Mary appeared at Cotignac, with a baby in her arms, to announce that King Louis XIII and Queen Anne would have a male heir. He was born 9 months later. That heir was Louis XIV who was supposed to receive the Sacred Heart messages. King Louis XIII later decreed solemnly decreed a national act of thanksgiving to the Blessed Virgin Mary, named her Special Protectress of “our land” and consecrated France to the very ” holy Virgin and Glorious Mary” He had a Church built in her honor and called it ‘Our Lady of Victories’ in honor of his victory over the Hugenots (Protestants) at Larochelle. National Catholic Register ‘Mary’s Little Known Apparitions in France’ March 2017
On the Feast of the Purification, February 2, 1872, the Most Rev. Wicart, bishop of Laval, issued a pastoral letter giving a canonical judgment on the apparition of Pontmain, France. Thus the veneration of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain was given official Church recognition and approval. The Basilica was built and consecrated on October 15, 1900
Basilica of Notre Dame de Pontmain