As the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Estelle Faguette approaches, Brother Laurent Flichy, rector of the Notre-Dame de Pellevoisin sanctuary, comments on the upcoming opening of a process for the beatification of the clairvoyant and the prospect of official recognition of the apparitions by the Catholic Church.
The Pellevoisin sanctuary is already preparing to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Estelle Faguette, in 2026. Miraculously cured of an incurable illness in 1876, this poor and poorly educated young woman is said to have received fifteen visits from the Virgin. If her healing is officially recognized by the Church, this is not the case for the apparitions, which is currently slowing down the beatification of Estelle, requested by the postulators of her cause. Brother Laurent Flichy, rector of the sanctuary, discusses for Aleteia these subtleties and the importance of this beatification for the influence of the sanctuary.
Aleteia: What teaching did the Virgin Mary leave to Estelle Faguette?
Brother Laurent: The Virgin Mary appeared five times in France in the 19th century, during five different political regimes: in 1830, rue du Bac ; in 1846 at La Salette ; in 1858 in Lourdes , in 1871 in Pontmain , and in 1876 in Pellevoisin. She came to encourage the French during difficult, trying and destabilizing stages in relation to the benchmarks established by fifteen centuries of Christianity. In 1876, when she appeared in Estelle, the government at the head of the country clearly asserted an anticlerical and positivist position, although still under a regime that was still concordat. Mary gives training in interior life to a Christian of the people, simple, fervent, courageous, hardworking.
Marie spoke a lot about France to Estelle, and even asked to pray for her.
In fifteen steps, that is to say in fifteen appearances, it gives spiritual exercises accessible to everyone, it gives every Christian access to their interiority in order to be able to go through the trials of life: whether health, family, economic, political, ecclesial problems… This teaching is still very current! The Virgin Mary left Estelle a message that every French Christian must know and that it is urgent to reappropriate. It gives training “of the heart”, which is found in the wisdom of Christ. The answer to all desires for power is in the heart of Christ. This teaching applies to our problems today, in the 21st century, when man seems to want to control everything.
Sanctuary of Pellevoisin
Where is the cause of beatification and recognition of the apparitions at Pellevoisin?
The supernatural nature of the healing of Estelle, suffering from an incurable illness, was recognized in 1983 by Mgr Vignancour, Archbishop of Bourges. Therefore, the healing is also considered miraculous by the Catholic Church. This recognition implicitly leads us to look again at the apparitions of the Virgin to Estelle. The Conference of Bishops of France authorized, during a plenary assembly on June 10, 2020, the launch of procedures allowing the opening of the beatification process. However, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith has argued that the existence of apparitions requires first resuming the investigation into the apparitions. A commission was formed in 2022 to verify the message of the apparitions and evaluate its influence. The beatification process can only be truly opened when the Dicastery authorizes the archbishop to recognize the apparitions in the name of the Church. What we hope for the jubilee in 2026.
There were moments of apogee and glory in which God gave many things to the French people. Today, we must seek to experience something else.
Can this beatification lead to a better knowledge of the sanctuary? Is this a way to contribute to this vocation of France as “eldest daughter of the Church”?
Yes. Marie spoke a lot about France to Estelle, she even asked to pray for her. But we must be careful not to arouse nostalgia, or the desire to return to the past. I believe that nations are willed by divine providence and that the Christians of a people, as a community, have something to give to their brothers in humanity. However, we must also accept – it seems to me – to mourn an era of Christianity, at least the one we have known. The end of this era does not mean the end of Christianity. There were moments of apogee and glory in which God gave many things to the French people. Today, we must seek to experience something else. Georges Bernanos is buried, providentially not far from Estelle, because his maternal family was from Pellevoisin. Tormented by his years of war in the trenches, he magnificently evokes the depths of the human soul and helps us discover what this vocation of France could be today. “We understand absolutely nothing about modern civilization if we do not first admit that it is a universal conspiracy against all kinds of interior life. », he lamented. It is this inner vocation that the Christians of France are invited to develop personally and communally so that their relationship with God is a source of their commitments in the Church and in the city, much more than idealizing a great Christian country. example of other nations.