The Blessings of Mary
Taken from A GARLAND FOR OUR LADY
Irish Ursulines, 1920 with IMPRIMATUR
THE STORY: AFTER MANY YEARS
The Black Madonna, a copy of the Romanesque statue destroyed in the fire of 1465, stands in the Chapel of Grace, built at the site where the original was placed by Saint Meinrad in the 9th century. The veneration of the Virgin at this shrine began after the Saint was murdered by by robbers in 861. Being so holy he was regarded as a martyr. A succession of hermits occupied his hermitage, which is what the name "Einsiedeln" means, and eventually a Benedictine monastery was established there. This shrine is the most significant of the Marian shrines in the country. The statue is miraculous because it survived the looting of French revolutionaries when it was hidden by one of the Benedictine monks.
After Many Years
Innumerable are the instances of the power and goodness of Our Blessed Mother, even in our own times. We do not wish to assert that all these incidents are of a miraculous nature. Holy Church remains silent on the subject, and so do we, but these remarkable occurrences have been, and ever will be, the means of sanctification to thousands, the source of edification, the increase of reverence in our churches and chapels, and the revival of faith and confidence in tepid and lukewarm Christians. Indeed, they cannot fail to benefit souls by bringing home to them the fact that, notwithstanding the scepticism of the age, notwithstanding the almost insuperable obstacles we oppose to grace, God's arm is not shortened, the power of Mary's intercession is not lessened.
The following account of a remarkable cure is transcribed from an official report signed by the parish Priest and the Mayor of the district:
Marie Francoise Petitot lived at Pont de Roide, Besancon, in France. When she was eleven years old the loss of a near relative and other troubles consequent upon it, told on the sensitive child to such a degree that her health was seriously affected. She had never been strong, and now she seemed to lose all vitality, and gradually became a hopeless invalid. For some unexplained reason her feet became so contracted that she was unable to walk without great pain, and consequently spent the whole day on a sofa. After having tried every remedy human skill could suggest, she resigned herself to her fate, and remained in that sad and helpless condition for thirty-two years. She had long felt a great desire to make a pilgrimage to the famous shrine of Our Lady at Einsiedeln, but for many reasons was not able to carry out her intention. At last, on the 11th of May, 1850, she started, after many wearisome preparations, travelling in a little donkey carriage. She arrived at her destination on the 18th, and took up her abode at a small inn. The day following her arrival being the Feast of Pentecost, she was brought to the "Chapel of Favours" [Chapel of Grace] to hear Holy Mass, which was said at eleven o'clock. Just at the moment of the Elevation she felt an extraordinary change come over her, as if her whole being was transformed; her feet were loosened from their contracted position, and she found she could place them without difficulty on the pavement. She stood up at once, and falling on her knees, gave humble thanks to her Saviour Who had cured her through the intercession of His Blessed Mother. She was now able to return to her lodgings, leaning for support on two friends.
The news soon spread far and wide, and many people came to see for themselves the truth of this miracle. During the three days she remained at Einsiedeln she went to the Chapel regularly with only a slight support. On her homeward journey, as she passed through the Catholic cantons of Switzerland, the people came out to greet her, and, in fact, her return home was a triumphant procession in honour of the Blessed Virgin. Every now and then she would leave her donkey carriage and walk in front of the people to satisfy their devotion. In this way she arrived on the frontiers of France.
When she reached her village, which was six miles from the parish church, she was met by an immense crowd who had previously assembled at the church to hear Holy Mass in thanksgiving for the wonderful favour that had been vouchsafed to one among them.
Next day a solemn High Mass was celebrated in the parish church, in the presence of more than twelve hundred people, during which Marie communicated with great devotion. All could now judge for themselves that her cure was complete and genuine, as they saw her return from the Communion rails alone. After Mass all joined in a grand "Te Deum."
May this true and simple account increase devotion to, and trust in the goodness and power of Our Blessed Lady, who will on her part never fail to show herself a tender and solicitous Mother to all those who invoke her.