In 1876, Pellevoisen, a town in central France, became the
site of an apparition of the Virgin Mary and an accompanying
spectacular healing of Constance Estelle Faguette. Faguette
had been ill for several years. She was wasting away with tuberculosis
(at the time an incurable disease) and related complications
and had finally reached a point that she could not retain
any food. She was given the last rites and a grave was being prepared.
She had been the sole means of support for her aging
parents and her death threatened to reduce them to beggars.
As her illness had taken its toll, she had composed a letter to
the Virgin and placed it under the statue of Mary at the local
On the evening of February 14, as friends kept a death
watch, Faguette awoke to a strange sight at the foot of her bed.
A demon-like figure appeared and then the Virgin. She banished
the demon and told the dying young woman not to fear.
She would suffer for five more days and then be healed. The
Virgin returned each evening to assure her. When she told her
friends and neighbors about the apparitions, they assumed that
it was the sickness talking, though many showed up on the fifth
day to see what would occur. After taking Communion, Faguette
announced her cure, got out of bed, put on her street clothes,
and asked for food. She would live an additional 63 years.
Over the next year, Faguette had ten additional encounters
with the Virgin, in one of which she was shown what is known
as the red scapular, a square of red cloth with the picture of a
heart pierced with a lance and surrounded by thorns. Over the
next century, it would be a new item in the church’s depository
of pious practices. In the last apparition, Faguette was told to
make the spread of the scapular her mission in life.
Following a study of the apparitions, the local bishop reported
favorably, but sent the results to the Vatican asking the
pope’s blessing. Given a positive response, the bishop organized
the Confraternity of Our Lady of Pellevoisen. The regular
holding of services at Pellevoisen was only a matter of time,
and soon a regular stream of pilgrims began to appear. It has
also been added to the short list of approved Marian apparitions.
Beaumont, Barbara. Pellvoisen Our Lady Reveals the Devotion
to the Sacred Heart Scapular. Chulmleugh, Devon, UK Augustine
Publishing House, 1986.
Sharkey, Don. The Woman Shall Conquer. Kenosha, Wis.
Franciscan Marytown Press, 1976.

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