Last Sunday in June

Notre Dame de la Visitation, Lescure, Valuéjols, Cantal, Auvergne, France

At around 19 years old, shepherd Jean Paillé was devoted to the Virgin Mary, and would daily lead his flock from his little village in central France to a wayside cross on a bluff, where he would kneel to say the rosary. On July 2, 1717, his prayers at the cross were met by an apparition of the Virgin herself, who asked that a church be built on that spot, leaving behind a small statuette of herself at the foot of the cross. She returned several times with the same request. Finally, Jean answered, "But no one will believe me." "Keep telling the people of Lescure," she said, "and eventually they'll listen." Both were right. When the shepherd mustered the courage to tell the villagers about his visions, they ridiculed him as a simpleton. So he built a small shrine in the holy place himself, of dry stone, placing the statuette inside. When bad weather threatened, Jean would go there to pray for help. Seeing those prayers answered, the villagers began to believe in his communication with the Virgin and decided to build her a church in the village. Jean argued that the Holy Virgin wanted her church on the promontory, but wanting the convenience of building and having it in town, the people built the new church in Lescure and installed the statuette. The next day, it had returned to the bluff. Jean was suspected of moving it, but the same thing kept happening, even with the shepherd under watch, so finally everyone agreed that Heaven wanted the Virgin's chapel to be on the height and not in town. This time Jean Paillé himself organized the work. Building materials poured in, which oxen carried up the hill as easily if they were made of feathers. In 1724, some 3,000 pilgrims camped in the open air to witness the consecration of the new church. The bishop's delegate dedicated the sanctuary to Our Lady of the Visitation, in memory of the first apparition date, July 2, then the Catholic Feast of the Visitation, commemorating the visit of Mary, pregnant with Jesus, to her cousin Elizabeth, pregnant with John the Baptist. In recent years the Feast of the Visitation has been moved to May 31 and the solemnity of Our Lady of Lescure to the last Sunday in June. She is invoked for healing.

Notre-Dame de Lescure, santé des infirmes, priez pour nous.
Our Lady of Lescure, health of the sick, pray for us.

(Image and information from J. B. Chabau, Pèlerinages et Sanctuaires de la Sainte Vierge dans le Diocèse de Saint-Flour, Librairie Saint-Paul, Paris, 1888, reproduced in books.google.com. See also "NOTRE-DAME DE LA VISITATION," Diocèse de Saint Flour, catholique-saint-flour.cef.fr/article.php3?id_article=123.)  

Also celebrated this date:

bulletMadonna del Fosco, Giano dell'Umbria, Perugia, Umbria, Italy. Apparition to a shepherd, 1412.
bulletMaria Ommegang, Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands. Annual procession since World War II. 
 

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly