Our Lady of Pellevoisin

Our Lady of Pellevoisin is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary which refers to a series of Marian apparitions in Pellevoisin, in the province of Berry, in the department of Indre, France. Pellevoisin is west of Châteauroux in the Catholic Archdiocese of Bourges.[1]:2

Our Lady of Pellevoisin
Shrine of Our Lady of Pellevoisin - Chapel.jpg
Notre-Dame de Pellevoisin
LocationPellevoisin, France
Date14 February to 8 December 1876
ShrineSanctuary of the All-Merciful Mother of Pellevoisin

In 1876, a domestic servant, Estelle Faguette, claimed to receive a series of fifteen apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and recovered from a serious illness, tuberculosis. A distinctive feature of Estelle's apparitions was her claim that the Virgin wished her devotees to wear a Scapular of the Sacred Heart.

Following authorization by the Archbishop of Bourges in 1877, Estelle's bedroom was transformed into an oratory.[2] Pellevoisin rapidly became a place of pilgrimage, the shrine of Our Lady of Pellevoisin. Pope Leo XIII encouraged the pilgrimages by approving indulgences to pilgrims,[3]:111 and also approved related devotions to Our Lady.[4]

In 1983, Archbishop Paul Vignancour of Bourges formally declared Estelle's cure to be inexplicable in the light of medical science and that her recovery could rightly be regarded as a miracle by Catholics.

Estelle FaguetteEdit

Estelle Faguette

Estelle Faguette was born 12 September 1843 at Saint-Memmie near Châlons-sur-Marne and joined the Children of Mary at the age of 14. She entered an order of Augustinian nursing sisters, but left while still a novice. She tripped and fell on a staircase; although the sprain seemed trivial at first, two weeks later, her leg was immobilised and doctors considered amputation. On 15 September 1863, Estelle reluctantly accepted that she could not pursue the life of a nursing sister and returned to her parents’ home.

The apparitionsEdit

At the time of the apparitions, Pellevoisin was the commercial centre for around a thousand citizens under the authority of the village mayor, Comte de la Rochefoucauld. His wife employed Estelle Faguette as a domestic servant and nursemaid at their residence near Pellevoisin, the Château de Poiriers-Montbel. A woman of fragile health, after numerous years in service, Estelle was dying of tuberculosis at the age of 33.[5]

With childlike faith, Estelle composed a letter to the Blessed Virgin Mary in which she asked for a cure. The letter was laid at the feet of a statue of the Virgin in Montbel, the summer chateau of the Rochefoucaulds, about 3 km from Pellevoisin.[1]:4

In February 1876, the Countess had to travel to Paris but arranged for accommodation to be made available for Estelle in a house close to the parish church in Pellevoisin. Unable to consume anything except liquids, Estelle received the sacrament of Extreme Unction. On 14 February, her physician judged that she had only hours left to live.[1]:6

During the night of that same day, Estelle reported experiencing the presence of the Virgin Mary for the first time, who told her that she must suffer for five more days in honour of the five wounds of Christ. At the end of the five days, Estelle would die or be cured; and if she lived, she would obliged to make known ‘Mary’s glory’.[6]

On each of the following four nights the Blessed Virgin again appeared to Estelle. On Tuesday, she said: 'If my son grants you life, it will be a blessing for you.' On Wednesday, she said, 'I am all-merciful and the mistress of my Son. Your good deed, fervent prayers and little letter have touched my motherly heart'.[6]

Estelle Faguette commissioned and placed this plaque in Pellevoisin as a thanksgiving for her recovery from a grave illness.

On Friday night, Mary did not come and stand at the foot of the bed, as on the previous nights, but drew close to her. She showed Estelle the plaque which she must have placed as a thanksgiving, bearing the words: 'I called upon Mary in the depths of my misery. She obtained for me, from her Son, my complete cure.' The plaque was not plain white, but had a golden rose on each corner, and at the top, a heart on fire, crowned with roses, pierced by a sword. Indeed, on Saturday, Estelle was cured when she received Holy Communion. Immediately she was able to eat and drink normally, and within a few days, she resumed domestic and gardening duties with no sign of fatigue.

The next three apparitions occurred on three consecutive days in July, Saturday 1st - Monday 3rd. 'My son's heart is so full of love that he will not refuse my demands. I have chosen this particular place for the conversion of sinners. I would like you to remain very peaceful about this!'[6]

The Blessed Virgin returned in September (Saturday 9, Sunday 10, Friday 15). On 9 September, the lady drew attention to a small scapular she was wearing.[5] Estelle had seen it there before, as plain white cloth, but on this day it bore the red image of a heart. 'This devotion pleases me', Mary said, and then, 'It is here that I shall be honoured'.[6] The lady next appeared on 15 September, speaking of her concern for the Catholic Church in France.

Three further visions followed in November (Wednesday 1, All Saints' Day; Sunday 5; Saturday 11). On 11 November, Estelle set about making a replica of the scapular which she had seen the lady wearing. On that day's apparition, the Virgin told Estelle 'You have been working for me'.

The final and culminating vision took place on Friday 8 December 1876, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.[6]

I have many graces in store for those who wear this scapular with trust in me. These graces are my Son's; I bring them from His Heart; he will refuse me nothing.[6] The lady asked her to show the scapular to the local bishop and ask his assistance in promoting it.

Estelle died in Pellevoisin on 23 August 1929, a few weeks short of her 87th birthday.[3]:119

Response of Catholic authoritiesEdit

Initial enquiries were carried out by Mgr de La Tour d'Auvergne, Archbishop of Bourges.[3]:110

On 30 April 1876, with the permission of the Archbishop, she had an ex voto plaque of thanksgiving placed in the parish church. On December 8, her bedroom was transformed into an oratory. A few days later, the Archbishop received her for an interview and granted permission for her to make and distribute copies of the Scapular of the Sacred Heart.[3]:109

In 1877, the Archbishop set up an enquiry and interviewed 56 persons who knew Estelle; apart from one who preferred not to comment, all spoke favourably. A second enquiry was conducted in December 1878, with similar results.[3]:110

A confraternity of the All-Merciful Mother was erected on 28 July 1877. No explicit mention was made of Pellevoisin in connection with its approval (but there was reference to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a nun who had received visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus).[7] Its statutes were approved on August 27.[3]:109

In 1892, Pope Leo XIII offered two signs of favour to the shrine: awarding a candle, and declaring certain indulgences for pilgrims who visited it.[3]:111 On 8 May 1894, he raised the confraternity to the status of 'honorary Archconfraternity' and, on 12 May 1896, to 'effective Archconfraternity'.[3]:112 The Pope received Estelle Faguette in audiences on 30 January and 17–18 February 1900, during which he agreed that the relevant Vatican department, the Congregation of Rites, should consider authorising use of the Scapular of the Sacred Heart. Formal recognition was given on 4 April 1900.[3]:112 & 114

In 1893, Archbishop Boyer invited the Dominican Friars to establish a monastery in a house close to her oratory.[3]:113

In April 1897, Monsignor Servonnet became Archbishop of Bourges. The same year, on 14 October, he renewed permissions given by his predecessors for information about the shrine to be published. In 1899, following numerous petitions from France and Canada, he opened a third canonical enquiry, which again found her to be a credible witness.[3]:113

On 16 April 1903, Madame de la Rochefoucauld, who still had administrative rights over the property containing the oratory, closed it to the public. The annual pilgrimage still took place on 9 September 1903 with a crowd gathering at the railings of the property; 40 police officers attended. On 19 July 1905, Archbishop Servonnet issued an order that crowds must not gather in front of the oratory.[3]:115

On 17 October 1915, Pope Benedict XV commented that Our Lady had chosen Pellevoisin as a privileged place to dispense her graces.[3]:117

On 22 December 1922, the Congregation of Rites authorised a votive Mass of Our Lady of Pellevoisin to be celebrated on 9 September in the parish church and adjoining monastery.[3]:119

On 7 June 1936, by the hand of Cardinal Pacelli (who later became Pope Pius XII), Pius XI sent a painting of Our Lady of Pellevoisin as a gift to the Dominican community.[3]:119

On 7 December 1981, Archbishop Paul Vignancour established a medical commission to examine the apparently miraculous cure. On 6 September 1982, having received its report that the cure was still inexplicable in the light of current medical science, the Archbishop established a theological commission to consider whether this cure might appropriately be called 'miraculous'. On 4 September 1983, while speaking at the annual pilgrimage to Pellevoisin, he announced the commission's findings that the cure had a 'miraculous character'. That was formally confirmed, in writing, on 8 September.[3]:122,125,126

On 19 September 1984, an Imprimatur was granted for a novena to Our Lady of Pellevoisin.[3]:123

Current shrineEdit

The house in Pellevoisin, France, where domestic servant, Estelle Faguette, claimed to have received visions of the Virgin Mary. It is now a monastery of the Community of St. John.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Pellevoisin was under the care of the Dominicans for 105 years from 1895, but since 1998, it has been served by friars and sisters of the Community of St Jean. A community of contemplative sisters form the Monastery of the Merciful Mother, and the friars form the Priory of St Mary Magdalen. The main spiritual activities are daily Mass at 11:30, a weekend celebrating God's mercy around the Second Sunday of Easter each year (Divine Mercy Sunday in the Roman Catholic Church) and the annual pilgrimage on the last weekend in August. Pilgrimages by groups and individuals are welcome throughout the year.[8][9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Sanctuaire Notre-Dame de Miséricorde – Pellevoisin. Brochure published by the shrine authorities at Pellevoisin, 2005. Printed by Imprimerie BEAU’LIEU Lyon.
  2. ^ "Sanctuaire Notre-Dame de Miséricorde de Pellevoisin | Sanctuaire Notre Dame de Miséricorde de Pellevoisin". Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Estelle Faguette (1993). Pellevoisin: Estelle nous parle... : autobiographie et récit des quinze apparitions par la voyante. Monastère des dominicaines.
  4. ^ Ball, Ann (2003). Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices. Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. p. 515. ISBN 9780879739102. The Confraternity of Our Lady of Pellevoisin was established, and Pope Leo XIII gave approbation both to the confraternity and to the scapular [of the Sacred Heart, associated with the apparition].
  5. ^ a b John O'Connell (2000), Our Lady of Pellevoisin at CatholicCulture.org, archived from the original on 2014-08-13, retrieved 2014-08-13
  6. ^ a b c d e f *A Brief Account of the Apparitions, archived from the original on 2014-08-13, retrieved 2014-08-13
  7. ^ Stephey, Mark. "Who is Our Lady of Pellevoisin?", Marian Library, University of Dayton, September 20, 2010
  8. ^ Pellevoisin yesterday and today (Brothers of St John), archived from the original on 2013-05-31, retrieved 2014-08-14
  9. ^ *Sœurs de Saint Jean (Diocese de Bourges), archived from the original on 2010-06-12, retrieved 2014-08-14


External linksEdit