Basilique Notre-Dame des Victoires
The Church of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires (Our Lady of Victories), where was instituted the Archconfraternity
of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, has been blessed to be preserved among the debris. The Blessed Virgin Mary has confirmed this through the Famous Mystic and Stigmatic, Marie-Julie Jahenny.
See page 51, from the book 'Marie-Julie Jahenny, The Breton Stigmatist, by Monsieur de La Franquerie.' Click here to download the book.
Our Lady further tells me: “The sanctuary of Our Lady of Victories would resist the cannonballs, the gun fire of the instruments
of the world and that the miraculous protection of Heaven would preserve it in the midst of the debris,...”
This Church was
elevated to Basilica status in 1927.
Note: This Church is currently under the control of
the unlawful Vatican II sect's, "puppet government in Rome." Use extreme caution. -The Webmaster
Miracles wrought through the intercession of the Archconfraternity
In around 1830, the Parish of Notre Dame des Victoires, Paris, France, had lost nearly every
religious sentiment; its church was deserted, even on days of the greatest solemnity, the sacraments were neglected, the exercises of religion were entirely abandoned. This deplorable state of things had already endured six years, and nothing seemed capable
of arresting it, when suddenly the divine mercy shone forth, and the grace of our Lord fertilized this fruitless and sterile desert. At the commencement of December, 1836, while the curate was celebrating the holy mysteries, a pious thought was inspired to
him, - that of consecrating the parish of Notre Dame des Victoires to the Immaculate heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to obtain through her protection, the grace of the conversion of sinners. Immediately the statutes of an association of prayers was prepared;
the Archbishop of Paris approved the devotion, and by his ordinance of the 16th September, 1836, he established the association. By his order, the public devotions took place at once… On the third Sunday of Advent, the 11th December, 1836, the exercises
commenced by the vespers of the Blessed Virgin, chanted at 7 pm; the attendance was more numerous than at the offices of the parish on festivals, and included a considerable number of men, who on other occasions were never present. The sweet and efficacious
protection of Mary was already manifested; the invocation in her litany, Refugium peccatorum, and the Parce Domine, were chanted with a fervor and a devotion, which told that many in the assembled congregation, confessed, now perhaps for the first time, how
much they needed the divine compassion, and implored it ardently through the mediation of the Queen of Heaven and Earth.
The register of the association
was opened on the 22nd January, 1837, according to the desire of the Archbishop of Paris; 10 days later, 214 associates were inscribed, many more than could have been hoped for in so short a time, and the inhabitants of the other parishes of Paris soon united
themselves to this little band. But beyond all expectation was the sudden and prodigious extension of a work, which appeared merely parochial, by reason of its origin; the devotion has spread throughout France, and in almost every part of Europe. By the protection
of the Queen of Heaven and Earth, the knowledge of a devotion so humble, so insignificant in its origin, had been so speedily diffused, that the association was established at Boston, at New York, at Charlestown, in the new diocese of Dubusque, in the Bermuda
Isles, on the shores of Lake Superior, at Martinique, at St. Domingo.
She it is who has united all these hearts and nations and languages, in the pious
thought of invoking her tender and compassionate Heart for the salvation of sinners; thus, by so singular a testimony of her patronage, encouraging to hope for yet more wonderful blessings.
There were few weeks in which the director had not the consolation of hearing of the conversion of some among their number: nor was it in Paris alone that these prodigies of grace shone forth,-they occurred in many parts
of France, in other kingdoms of Europe, and even in America. It had several times happened, that sinners on the bed of death, resisting all exhortations to repentance, and obstinately rejecting every thought of their God, had suddenly converted, either on
the morrow, or in the night of the day on which their salvation had been implored, and received the grace of a holy and happy death. Others, little thinking that Christian piety was interceding for them, had, on the next day, or some days after they had been
prayed for, at once renounced the disorders of their life, abandoned their criminal habits, and were then fervent Christians.
Entire religious orders
prepared to enter the Archconfraternity, and thus to add to its vows and supplications, the merit of their pious labours and holy austerities. Devout confraternities and ecclesiastical seminaries were enrolled under this blessed standard. The reverend father
abbot of the Monastry of La Trappe had addressed a letter to the director of the archconfraternity, enclosing the names of the religious of his community to be inscribed on the register, and admitting all the members of the Archconfraternity to participate
in the prayers, communions, mortifications, and good works which took place in his order.
The Holy Father, Pope Gregory XVI, on 24 April, 1838, in his
Apostolic Brief, entitled this Confraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the Notre Dame des Victoires, Paris, as “The ARCHCONFRATERNITY of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of sinners.” This Archconfraternity was honoured
with great privileges by the same Pope, in not only applying Indulgences, but that the members were GRANTED ABSOLUTION and WERE HELD ABSOLVED FROM ALL SENTENCE OF EXCOMMUNICATION AND INTERDICT, AND FROM ALL OTHER ECCLESIASTICAL CENSURES AND PAINS, FROM WHATEVER
CAUSE OR IN WHATEVER MANNER THEY MIGHT HAVE BE INCURRED.
Below are the miracles and conversions obtained through the intercession of the Archconfraternity
of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the hastening of the Triumph of our Mother Church, and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The below material is taken from The Manual of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the conversion of sinners,
Notre Dame des Victoires, Paris. 1843.
1. CONVERSION OF THE PARISH OF NOTRE DAME
IT has been already observed, that the parish of Notre Dame des Victoires had fallen into the most deplorable state of religious indifference,
and even of professed irreligion. Its population numbers between six or seven and twenty thousand souls; yet the communions, during the entire of the year 1835, amounted but to the almost incredible small number of seven hundred and twenty.
The pious exercises of the association of the immaculate heart of Mary commenced on the 11th of December, 1836; the register was opened on the 12th of January, 1837. An uninterrupted series of
graces and conversions has continued since this happy epoch; the parish of Notre Dame des Victoires has now totally changed its appearance; its church is thronged; the divine office is religiously attended; the sacraments are frequented; a religious deportment,
a spirit of piety is now its distinguishing mark; and often have clergy men of the most religious diocesses in France, informed the abbé Desgenettes of their extreme edification at witnessing the devotion of his parishioners during the divine offices.
Not on Sundays and feasts alone, is this devout spectacle beheld; few moments are there, during the course of the week, in which numbers of the faithful may not be seen, kneeling in devout supplication around the altar of Mary, and invoking her protection,
in this her favored sanctuary. But, it is chiefly at the public devotions offered in the name of the archconfraternity, that the most affecting signs of piety are manifested. During the instructions, several priests are in their confessionals; the confessions
are prolonged until nearly ten o'clock; and it almost constantly happens, that many, entering the church from curiosity at this apparently unseasonable hour, struck with the devout scene before them, and moved with the instruction they hear, are suddenly inspired
with grace, and either immediately approach the tribunal of penance, or confess their sins in the course of the same week.
On the eves of festivals, the confessions, besides
occupying the whole of the day, are frequently prolonged until midnight. It has been observed that there were formerly but seven hundred and twenty yearly communions; during the happy year 1837, they amounted to nine thousand, five hundred, and fifty, and
each succeeding year witnesses an increase in their number.
These simple facts are cheering evidences that Mary, of whom Saint Bernard tells us, that the Almighty has placed
in her hands the plenitude of all his graces, because he desires that those he bestows upon us, should pass through the hands of his mother; Mary, who, according to Saint Anselm, has so much merit before God, that it is impossible she should not obtain the
accomplishment of her desires; has heard the prayers of her suppliants, and obtained the grace of conversion for this parish, heretofore miserably lost in the paths of irreligion and infidelity.
2. CONVERSION OF AN ATHEIST, SON OF ONE OF THE SOVEREIGNS OF GERMANY - MIRACULOUS
On Sunday, the 30th of April, 1837, an English Catholic lady, residing in the Rue Montmartre, was passing the Rue Notre Dame des
Victoires, at eight o'clock in the evening. Astonished to see a light in the church at so late an hour, she entered; they were celebrating the office of the immaculate heart of Mary; the sermon was just concluding, and she heard the abbé Desgenettes
make the recommendation of sinners. After the office, she addressed two or three ladies, who had remained in prayer before the altar of the blessed Virgin, and asked them the nature of the association, of which the curate had spoken; they informed her of its
title and object; and, on hearing that these ladies were members of it, she engaged them to pray for a sinner, whom she knew to be equally impious, as obdurate. They promised her to do so.
During the latter days of the same week, desirous of uniting with their prayers, she wished to enter the association. She then besought the abbé Desgenettes to recommend her protégé
to the public prayers; and, that he might understand how difficult it would seem to obtain his conversion, she said,—“The person whom I recommend to you is the son of one of the sovereigns of Germany, by a private marriage, which his father contracted
before he enjoyed the Principality. He lost his mother at the age of six years; his father then formed an alliance, suited to his elevated station, and from motives of policy, removed the child from his dominions, desired that he should take a foreign name,
and sent him into France, under the care of a tutor, a man of the most dissolute manners, who did not permit his pupil to receive the least religious instruction, but made him an atheist and a materialist. They lived together for thirty years, and were separated
only by the death of the tutor. This latter was but too successful in his designs; M. de ***, aged now sixty years, is a man of much good sense, well instructed, but impious and atheistical to such a degree of frenzy, that he never hears the name of God pronounced,
without uttering blasphemies. Of religion he knows nothing, but after Voltaire. Formerly much devoted to society, he is now infirm, receives little company, and seldom leaves his house. I have known him for twenty years; his society and conversation displease
me, but I visit him, once a fortnight, from a feeling of compassion for his lonely situation.”
The prayers were offered for him, on Sunday, the
7th of May; on the Friday following, this lady made her customary visit; she found him somewhat changed, his countenance agitated, his whole appearance anxious and troubled. “What is the matter?” said she. “Nothing; I am not ill; but since
Monday, my imagination is perpetually haunted with thoughts, which I strive in vain to banish, and, astonishing as it is, they are thoughts of religion: Judge how well they suit me! But what is yet more extraordinary, I can no longer endure the society of
Protestants. You know Mesdames * * * and * * *; they have been here twice since Monday; each time their visit troubled and disquieted me, and the same thing has happened to me when in the company of others whom I have seen; but with Catholics, this has not
occurred.” She ventured so far as to say to him,-“The thing is clear; God without doubt desires you should be a catholic;” (she being then ignorant, of what he afterwards discovered to her, that his mother was a catholic, and had caused him
to be baptised, in her room, by a catholic priest, during her last illness, when he was at the age of five years and a half, a circumstance which he perfectly recollected.) At these words, he assumed a severe countenance, and said to her with much vivacity,—“A
truce to these remarks; you know me; you know my opinion of these miserable superstitions; let them never again be mentioned in my presence.”
Saturday, Madame * * * gave the Abbé Desgenettes an account of her visit; he recognized the first movement of divine grace in this soul, and informed her, that he would procure a continuance of the prayers of the archconfraternity for her intention.
On Sunday, the 14th of May, the prayers were offered, with great devotion, for this unhappy soul. On Friday, the 19th, Madame * * * found him ill and dejected, scarcely
able to rise from his couch; his countenance indicated great anxiety, and he held a small book in his hand. “Ah!” exclaimed he, “what will become of me; I suffer inexpressible torments; in the night of Sunday last, my sleep was troubled with
the most frightful dreams, and, since that moment, I have reposed neither night nor day. As often as fatigue and dejection cause me to close my eyes, as often does a fearful dream startle and awaken me; I feel myself apprehended, dragged before a tribunal,
made to give an account of my life, and condemned, for not having fulfilled the designs of God. During the day, the same thought incessantly pursues and tortures me. I asked my servant for a catholic book, hoping it might calm my mind; he gave me this, it
interests me, and I am more tranquil since I have read it.” It was the catechism of Paris. “But how shall I pass the night? My situation is frightful; I cannot support it long; I will make use of any means, to deliver myself from such misery.”
He seemed to ask advice, but Madame * * * penetrated with compassion, dared not trust herself to speak. “I have heard you talk of a miraculous medal,”
he continued; “what is it?” She explained its signification, and, at his earnest request, promised to bring him one on the following day.
* * * received from the curate, a blessed medal of the Immaculate Conception; she took it to her unhappy friend, who kissed it with respect, saying, “It will never quit me.” The preceding night had been yet more painful than the others.
On Sunday the 21st, the prayers for him were renewed, and all the communions of the week were offered for his conversion. On Friday, the 26th, Madame * * * again
visited her patient, whom she found surprisingly changed; he was now cheerful, and apparently improved in health. “Scarcely,” said he, “had you quitted me on Saturday, when I was delivered from all the terrific thoughts, which had caused
me such agony, and they have never since recurred. I slept calmly during the nights of Saturday and Sunday; in the night of Monday, I felt myself gently awakened, and beheld my chamber filled with a brilliant light. Struck with astonishment, I sought to account
for this phenomenon, when a lady of majestic appearance, with a countenance of unutterable dignity and sweetness, robed in white, advanced towards me, and told me that it was time for me to be converted, and do penance for my sins, which, from the very commencement
of my life, had provoked the justice of God; that if I died in my present state, I should be lost for eternity, but that if I were so happy as to be converted, to receive the grace of reconciliation, in the sacrament of penance, and to persevere in this new
life, she promised me everlasting happiness from Almighty God; and immediately disappeared. I understood nothing of this prodigy; it left me in a state of indefinable astonishment, but at the same time, I experienced a sweet sentiment of joy, which I know
not how to express. I thought of it continually during the whole of Tuesday, still finding it impossible to explain the fact, of which I sought to doubt, but could not. In the night of Tuesday, I awoke in the same manner, beheld the same apparition, and heard
the same words; I was lost in wonder, and totally unable to reply. In fine, in the night of Wednesday, I again beheld her; she spoke the same words, adding, “It is for the last time I give you this advice; attend to it well; your salvation depends upon
it. She disappeared, and I have seen her no more. Can you account for all that has happened to me, during the last three weeks? I have spoken of it to you alone; I am firmly determined to be converted, to become a catholic, to confess my sins; but I know not
how to proceed; I formerly knew an Irish priest, perhaps I could address myself to him. I will do all that I am desired, I feel it is absolutely necessary, for I have already suffered too bitter a trial, and am forced to admit, that man must acknowledge a
superior power, and submit himself to its disposal.”
Madame * * * then confessed, that she had recommended him to the prayers of a pious association,
which was established in the church of Notre Dame des Victoires, for the intention of imploring conversion of sinners; that the curé of the church had felt a lively interest in his situation, and had obtained many prayers for his conversion; at which
he was equally astonished as grateful. It was agreed between them, that the curé should be consulted, on the means of ensuring the success of a work, so happily commenced; he recommended to the neophyte the “Catechism of Charency,” and desired
him to read nothing more, until he had obtained a competent knowledge of its contents.
M. * * * devoted himself, with zeal and constancy, to this study,
during four months; in this interval he had some conferences with the Irish priest, who, however, left France in the month of October. The abbé Desgenettes, who had not yet seen M. * * *, nor had any immediate communication with him, was then requested
to undertake the direction of his conscience. He found him in excellent dispositions of heart, and well informed of the Christian doctrine, but his faith wanted firmness and solidity; he understood and wished to believe, but his mind was embarrassed with the
remembrance of his former false opinions. To remedy this, the curé gave him the “Triumph of the Gospel,” the perusal of which dissipated all his prejudices, and enabled him to commence the work of his reconciliation with God.
From the first time the neophyte had approached the tribunal of penance, the empire of grace manifested itself, in the efforts which he made to combat his natural
dispositions. He, who was of a proud and domineering spirit, unaccustomed to the least contradiction, became patient and humble as a child; impressed with the spirit of piety, he found happiness only in prayer; reproaching himself for many criminal and useless
conversations, he would now speak but of God and of religion. He had the happiness of making his first communion on the first Sunday of Advent, the 3rd of December 1837, on the anniversary day of his birth, at the age of seventy-two years.
On the day following this happy festival, he imparted to the curé a project, which he had meditated for sometime, and had already prepared to execute. “My father,”
said he, “the Catholic Church is persecuted by heresy, in the land of my birth; I have nothing to retain me in Paris, where I am forgotten, where I seek not to be remembered. My place is in the midst of Catholics; I will not present myself to them as
a prince, since I have neither estate nor family, but I will go as one of the simple faithful; at my age, I cannot do much, but I may, perhaps, contribute to fortify my brethren, by recounting to them the mercies which God has bestowed upon me.”
In a few days he commenced his journey; Almighty God doubtless accepted his desires, but was content with the homage of his heart; for, the rigor of the season,
and the fatigue of travelling, joined to his infirm state of health, brought on an inflammatory illness, under which he sank, before reaching his destination.
Some there may be, who would question the reality of what is here related; it is doubtless beyond the order of nature, and of a wonderful and miraculous character; but we have it from a man of learning and judgment, whose mind was free from all religious
prejudice, he being absolutely incredulous; from a man who saw and heard it, not once alone, but three different times, and at intervals sufficiently distant to enable him to recover his tranquility of mind; who, in the possibility of having been deceived
a first time, might, on the second and on the third occasion, have bestowed the attention requisite to distinguish between truth and imposture; from a man who disputed the fact with himself, who tried to doubt, but could not; from a man who had no interest
in inventing such an incident, and who spoke of it but to two individuals.
Here are truly many motives of credibility. And why should it not be true?
In the first place, it is absurd to deny the possibility of miracles; they have happened in all ages, they still occur, others will yet be wrought, even to the consummation of the world, in the bosom of the Catholic Church. But it would be injurious to the
majesty of God, to suppose that he would work a miracle, without a motive worthy of his infinite wisdom. But what is the motive in the present circumstance? That of saving an immortal soul; and is not this the motive, the cause of the most wonderful miracles;
of the mysteries of the Incarnation, of the Redemption; of the miracles wrought by the Apostles, by the Saints of the primitive Church, and of those even now continually occurring among infidel nations. But the fact is so unusual, so extraordinary; we do not
see that God employs it in the conversion of other sinners. But the condition of this sinner was also peculiar; others have known God and have voluntarily abandoned him; as a means of return, they have the Church and the Gospel. But he, child of God by holy
baptism, was torn from the arms of his heavenly Father, before the first dawn of reason; his mind corrupted by an education of impiety, never had he known God. We may then reasonably believe, that the divine mercy did effect for him, what the angel of the
schools, St. Thomas Aquinas, assures us would be done for an heathen, who had followed the precepts of the law of nature, and arrived at his last hour, uninstructed in the truths of faith. He would rather send an angel from heaven, to reveal them to him, than
suffer him to die in his infidelity. Let us then give glory to God, saying with the prophet, “this is truly the work of the Lord, and it is wonderful in our eyes.”
3. CONVERSION AND EDIFYING DEATH.
Near the parish
of Notre Dame des Victoires, resided a lady, who at the age of thirty-three, was dying from a disease of the chest. Already had six of her brothers and sisters preceded her to the grave, and each of them had left this world, without even an idea of religion.
They belonged to one of those families, respectable indeed, but who, centering their affections on earth, think only of acquiring or augmenting a fortune; who, after daily labours and struggles for this object, know no other way of passing their time, than
in the dissipation of theatres, balls, and the like exciting frivolities of a worldly life; people who live, as if they had not an immortal spirit within them, as if there was not a future eternity approaching, as if there was not a God to judge them in that
eternity. One of this unhappy number was our sick person; she was educated indeed without religion, but she had made her first communion; even the most negligent parent is careful to see this duty performed, it being esteemed an indispensable act of social
propriety. Little attention, however, do they give to the dispositions with which it should be accompanied, and but too often do they maliciously and sacrilegiously seek to eradicate, from the hearts of their children, the good seed of early instruction. The
melancholy result of such conduct, was the total contempt of religion manifested by this sick woman: her end rapidly advanced, and there appeared no reason to judge that she would die differently from her brothers and sisters.
Divine Providence, however, had its designs of mercy. At the commencement of March 1839, a Soeur du Bon Secours was called to attend her, who, seeing at once that her recovery was beyond
hope, endeavored to comfort and strengthen her patient with pious exhortations. These the dying woman positively refused to hear, loudly professing her contempt and aversion for religion. For some days the sister dared not recur to the subject, but she sought
advice from the curé of Notre Dame des Victoires. He recommended the patient to the prayers of the archconfraternity, on Sunday, the 10th of March; on Tuesday, the 12th, the sister ventured, and with better success, to renew her pious conversation;
the patient listened, and acknowledged that religion offered much consolation to the sick and afflicted; regretted not possessing it herself, but added, that even did she possess faith, it would be impossible for her to make her confession, from her extreme
antipathy to priests; and during the remainder of the week she constantly repeated the same thing; her regret for the want of faith became more and more profound, her horror of priests did not in the least diminish. From whence came this strange feeling, and
how was it that the desire of religious consolation and assistance did not lessen its obstinacy? This woman knew no priest, probably she had never even spoken to one. Doubtless the cause must be sought, in the injurious and irreligious conversations by which,
in many families, the minds of children are prejudiced, and their hearts corrupted, from their most tender years. In their presence, religion is spoken of but with contempt or indifference, priests with hatred or ridicule; children listen without understanding,
- but these discourses, constantly repeated, make an impression, which, with increasing age, becomes fixed and immovable.
But from whence this change
in the ideas of the sick person, that she no longer despises religion, but urges its necessity and advantage; the few friends who visit her are studious to avoid the subject; her sole attendants are, her husband, a man devoid of all religious sentiment, and
her mother, who beholds her dying, and yet has not one thought of concern for her eternal destiny; even the Saur du Bon Secours, discouraged by her replies, had been silent during several days; but the tender compassion of Mary has been invoked in her favor,
and our blessed Mother has already changed her heart, and subdued her obstinacy.
The sister informed the abbé Desgenettes of the dispositions of
her patient, on Saturday the 16th; her details filled him with joy and consolation; he had confidence that Mary would save this soul from an abyss of eternal misery. But every moment was precious, for her end rapidly approached. On the evening of Sunday the
prayers were renewed; he gave an account of her state of mind, and recommended his flock to hear mass for her on Monday, and to offer the communions of that day, for the same intention. On Tuesday, the 19th, she spontaneously besought the sister, to bring
her pastor, the curé of the parish of Bonne Nouvelle. He heard her confession, and, seeing her dying condition, resolved to give her the last sacraments, without delay; she received them with a lively faith, and ardent sentiments of piety. So great
was her weakness, that it was feared she could not survive the day; but what is not effected by joy of heart, peace of conscience, and the grace of the holy sacraments! Scarcely had she received the holy communion when her strength returned; she blessed God
for her happiness, and feelingly spoke of it to all around her. She was dying, and Mary obtained a prolongation of her life during twenty-two days, that, reconciled with Almighty God, she might, by patience and submission, discharge on earth the debt due to
divine justice. She, who heretofore, never thought of God, now felt a holy attraction for prayer; in the midst of her sufferings, she neglected not her various duties of wife, mother, and mistress of a family; she caused the rules of the church to be observed,
and was careful that her servants fulfilled the precept of sanctifying the Sunday. Were her sufferings mentioned, she spoke but of her joy and resignation, frequently discoursing of it with her husband, and giving him the most salutary advice. The nature of
her illness precluded her from the happiness of receiving the holy communion, but our divine Saviour compensated for this privation, by the abundant infusion of his grace and consolation. At length the day of her recompense arrived. On Tuesday, the 9th April,
being alone with the Saeur du Bon Secours, and her husband, she affectionately recommended to him her two young children; “Educate them piously,” said she, “for God, who gave them to us, not for the world, who would ruin them; I earnestly
request you will place them in a religious house; there they will be taught to know, and practise, religion.” While finishing these words, her strength failed; she perceived this, and calmly observed, “My agony is commencing.” Afterwards,
turning towards the sister, she added, smiling, “Do not fear; I am resigned.” For some minutes she was observed in prayer; soon consciousness fled, and after a short and tranquil agony, she slept in the peace of our Lord.
4. CONVERSIONS OF SEVERAL VILLAGES.
One of the young missionaries who lately embarked for China, sent the manual of the association to his uncle, a curé of the diocese of Mans; he received it on the feast of the Purification, when, after the celebration
of high mass, he had appointed a novena to the blessed Virgin, for the happy result of the solemnity of the Forty hours, about to commence on Quinquagesima Sunday. Thinking its contents might produce a good effect on his parishioners, he read some extracts
from it during his sermon, on Sexagesima Sunday; his audience were moved to astonishment and admiration; he profited of this impression, exhorting them to conversion and penance, and announcing that, two missionaries of the diocese would unite with himself,
and his three vicars, to hear confessions, during the ensuing week. His appeal was heard; for eight days the church was almost constantly filled; the sacred tribunals were surrounded with multitudes of penitents; the confessions commenced in the morning, at
three o'clock, and did not finish until eleven at night. The communions amounted to eighteen hundred, during the three days, and there remained nearly a hundred persons, whose confessions, though commenced, were unable to be completed, from want of time. These
are the details of the missionary before mentioned.
The following letter, dated the 9th of March, was received by M. Desgenettes, from this worthy curé.
“My nephew sent me the manual of your association, which you gave him in the month of February; I received it on the Feast of the Purification. On that morning,
I had announced a novena in honor of the blessed Virgin, for the happy result of our Forty hours' solemnity, when I was to have two of our diocesan missionaries, to renew the good effects of the retreat, given by them, during last Lent. Immediately, on receiving
your manual, I resolved to inform my parishioners of its contents; I remarked to them, the happy coincidence of the arrival of this book, and the commencement of the novena; I gave them an idea of your association, and read two of the most wonderful conversions,
obtained by the prayers of the associates; I then exhorted them to a renewal of confidence and fervor, imploring those who had hitherto neglected their eternal interests, to begin their conversion that very day. The happy result was beyond all expectation;
during the three days of the Forty hours, the church was constantly filled; we had four spiritual exercises daily; six confessors were continually engaged in the sacred tribunals. We gave the holy communion to nearly eighteen hundred, out of a population of
three thousand, six or seven hundred souls. As for me, I confessed five hundred and thirty individuals, of whom two hundred and seventy-two were men. This unlooked for success, which surpassed all my hopes, I entirely attribute to the protection of the immaculate
heart of Mary. My parishioners have redoubled their love and devotion towards this charitable mother; I trust soon to establish your association, which I am persuaded will effect incalculable benefit; I reserve this for the month of Mary, which we propose
this year to celebrate with encreased solemnity and fervor.”
Who can fail here to recognize the special intervention of Mary; a simple lecture so
to change the hearts of the greater part of a numerous population. This parish includes many scattered villages far removed from the church; the season was the most cold and dreary of the year, when the roads are destroyed or rendered almost impassible, even
in the day time, by the heavy rains and falls of snow, incidental to a severe winter; yet these obstacles were surmounted, these dangers braved, even during the night itself, since numbers arrived at the church at the early hour of three in the morning, and
many quitted it not till midnight fast approached. The diversions and pastimes of the season, cherished by the villagers of Maine, as of immemorial custom, were then heeded not; all was sacrificed to satisfy their pious ardor. Possibly, it may be thought that
the frequent repetition of exhortations and spiritual exercises, reanimated the fervor of a people naturally religious. But these occur annually, during the three days of Quinquagesima week, and each year, the communicants have amounted to about three or four
hundred, whereas, on the present occasion eighteen hundred guests surrounded the holy table. This was not the work of man; no, it was God who deigned to make use of means so simple that he might show forth his mercy, and glorify the august Queen of Heaven.
Let us then, more fervently than ever, place ourselves under the blessed protection of Mary; let us think of her as our hope and comfort in this vale of tears; let us love her as our tender and affectionate Mother; let us be devout to her as our advocate before
the throne of the Most High; for “he who honors and serves Mary,” says St. Bonaventure, “shall be saved, and he who neglects her service shall die in his sins.” Qui coluerit Mariam, justificabitur; et qui neglexerit illam, morietur
in peccatis suis.
5. EDIFYING CONVERSION.
The pastor of a considerable town in France, where formerly piety was far from flourishing, hearing of the graces bestowed on the parish of Notre Dame des Victoires, with the advice of
the abbé Desgenettes, established the association in his parish. Here, in like manner, did a succession of conversions prove that Mary had granted the prayers of her supplicants. One among the number we will particularize; it is well calculated to excite
admiration and confidence. The curé of this town wrote as follows to M. Desgenettes:—
“I have long delayed writing to you, for I wished
to receive from the individual herself, the details which you requested of her conversion. I enclose you her letter: her scandals were public, her piety is now exemplary. Never have I beheld so admirable a triumph of grace; in a moment it has changed a heart
abandoned to the worst of passions, into a vessel of election. Many and terrible were the assaults she sustained; railleries, persecutions, attacks of self-love, all were surmounted. Holy prayer is now her happiness and delight; she who, for twenty-five years,
never rose till ten o'clock, is now seen at the hour of seven before the altar, absorbed in devotion at the feet of the blessed Virgin, and quitting her devotions only to fulfil the duties of her station . . . . .”
The following is the letter of this happy penitent to her pastor, in reply to his request for the details of her conversion.
“You would know the cause of the change which has taken place in me during the last six months. And how could I myself comprehend it, if, in the midst of the wanderings and disorders of my youth, I had not preserved some glimmerings
of faith, which at the same time that it causes dread of the vengeance of an offended God, yet permits hope in his infinite mercy. In passing before you, my father, the melancholy history of my past life, whose sad pages I had so long dreaded to unfold, I
recurred to the happy years of my childhood and youth; their remembrance, in offering me the charm of innocence, did but add to my remorse; I had made a devout first communion, and, until the age of eighteen, I persevered in my religious fervor. But the love
of virtue, the desire of practising it disappeared when I entered the world. Its attractions, its flatteries, enchanted my ardent imagination;-pleasure became my sole and all-absorbing pursuit. Soon passion succeeded to pleasure; my first transgression gave
place to habit, and during more than twenty years, I lived forgetful of my Christian duties. Moments there were of unhappiness, of deception, of regret; how often, then, did I invoke the aid of Heaven! Penitent and sinning by turns, I yet wanted courage to
break the chains of my captivity.
“To you, my benefactor, my guide, was reserved this arduous task, by your happy inspiration in establishing the
devotion to the immaculate heart of Mary. I assisted for the first time at one of your instructions, moved solely by curiosity; there it was, that our blessed mother, receiving sinners and restoring them to hope, made a profound and lively impression on my
mind. I always returned from these discourses pensive and affected. The sermon of the 17th of March, on the prodigal son, gave a melancholy retrospect of my own life; remorse penetrated my very soul;—I made a vow to break asunder the bonds of sin and
return to God. But what trials, what combats had I not to suffer from the enemy which enchained me. Flattering promises, brilliant hopes of the future, were employed to seduce me again; but divine grace was triumphant; your earnest exhortations confirmed my
resolution, and determined me to confide to your paternal heart, my sins, my miseries, my repentance! In your charitable counsels did I find courage and resignation to support the trials, which it has pleased Providence to send me.
“The world and its pleasures are now to me as nothing; my only attraction is for the exercises of religion and for holy prayer, which offers me a never-failing source of consolation
and assistance, though frequently accompanied with tears, which are now, alas! the only offering I can make to my God. Ah! how happy should I be at the feet of Mary, had I not to regret that innocence of which she is the perfect model, and which I would gladly
regain, at the price of a portion of my life!”
6. CONVERSION OF AN OFFICER.
An officer residing in a town of the diocese of Bayeux, whose life had been marked by the constant exercise of every social virtue, yet by a total absence of religious
feeling and principle, became dangerously ill. His wife and family were urgent in exhorting him to receive the aids of religion; he at once declared he had no need of them,-placed no faith in them; that he had always lived as a man of honor, and had nothing
wherewith to reproach himself, and forbade them to recur to the subject. His pious family recommended him to the prayers of the archconfraternity; immediately afterwards, he expressed a desire to see his pastor, who hastened to visit him, brought him back
to religion, and administered to him the sacraments of the church. To those who, knowing his previous opinions, seemed astonished at his conduct, he said—“I have acted thus to save my soul; to become faithful to my God, as I have ever been to my
7. CONVERSION OF AN ACTRESS.
This unfortunate young girl was born at Paris; she had been baptised, but knew nothing of religion. When scarcely seven years old, she had been a dancer at the minor theatres of the capital,
and remained in this scandalous employment until the age of eighteen, when, feeling an inclination for the theatre, she became an actress, and performed in the provincial towns. Some business having brought her to Paris, she there became dangerously ill, and
obtained admission into the Maison de Santé, of Dubois. She had hitherto never fulfilled any of the duties of religion, nor even so much as thought of God; and how could it have been otherwise in a life thus unhappily commenced and passed in the midst
of every species of corruption. Some days after her admission, observing the almoner of the house enter her ward, she had exclaimed in a tone of horror, “What does that minister of death desire here, let him not come near me?” She was in danger
of death; such a life, and such evil dispositions, seemed but too sure a presage of the eternal reprobation of this unhappy sinner. A pious person, who formerly knew her, hearing of her sad condition, spoke of it to the director of the archconfraternity; he
was penetrated with compassion, and promised to obtain prayers for her conversion. He advised this charitable individual to visit the poor lost child, to speak to her of God, and to exhort her to repentance; this she did with charity and constancy, but the
sick girl neither understood nor felt what was said. The prayers of the archconfraternity were offered for her on Sunday the 4th of November, after a recommendation in which all her necessities were feelingly enforced; on the following Monday, the curé
sent her a miraculous medal, she received it, listened to the good advice which was given to her, and promised to follow it, but at the same time said, “What shall I do, what shall I say; I know nothing; I was taught nothing.” The almoner, informed
of her dispositions, instructed her, heard her confession, and administered to her the sacraments of the church, on the 16th of November; on the morning of the 18th she gave up her soul to God, in sentiments of sincere devotion, pronouncing with her last breath,
the sweet invocation, “Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for me who have recourse to you.”
8. RESTORATION OF REASON TO AN IDIOT.
Hitherto the conversion of sinners had been the sole intention of the prayers
of the archconfraternity, the sick and afflicted were never included in its public recommendations; not from a sentiment of distrust in the power of its blessed patroness, who is the “Health of the weak,” and the “Consolation of the afflicted,”
as well as the “Refuge of sinners;” but that the special object of its foundation might be exclusively adhered to. But the mother of divine mercy did not choose this restriction, she desired to exercise her power and clemency in favor of all who
are in sorrow, misery, or affliction.
One of the parishioners of Notre Dame des Victoires was struck with insanity; the malady became so violent, that
separation from his family was rendered imperative. On Saturday the 16th of March, his friends desired to recommend him to the public prayers of the archconfraternity, their request was at first refused, the intention and object of the association being the
conversion of sinners; but they represented the inevitable ruin of the family, the sad fate of the two young children, who, from the deplorable condition of their father, must soon become orphans; the heart of the abbé Desgenettes was sensibly afflicted;
he gave his consent, and on the following day, the 17th, the recommendation was made. On the afternoon of the 18th, the patient wrote a letter to his wife, full of reason and good sense, informing her of the acts of imprudence which he had committed in the
administration of his affairs, during the days preceding the attack of his malady, and of which his family were ignorant; judiciously arguing on the loss it might cause them, but stating that he proposed to employ such and such means to obviate this misfortune;
in fine, announcing that he awoke in the morning in perfect calm and reason, and equally well in body as in mind;—that he was cured, but from motives of prudence, he would remain a few days longer at the asylum. His wife immediately went to see him,
passed the afternoon with him, and was no less astonished than delighted at witnessing the happy return of his reason. Restored to his family, and again directing his affairs, he retains not the least vestige of the unfortunate malady with which he was afflicted.
9. CURE OF A YOUNG LADY.
Some days afterwards, a young lady of one of the most respectable families in Lower Normandy, who was receiving her education at a religious establishment in Paris, was recommended to the prayers of
the archconfraternity, by her mother and her pious instructors. Aged between fourteen and fifteen, she had suffered for several years from a contraction of the muscles of the leg and thigh; her pains were excessive; she had not quitted her bed for many months,
the contraction of her leg disabling her from standing. A novena of prayers was requested; there was no longer cause to refuse, after the blessing so lately granted to the parishioner just mentioned. During the first days of the novena, the patient became
worse; she rejoiced at this, regarding her sufferings as a pledge of her approaching recovery. On the morning of the ninth day, she was suddenly and perfectly cured.
Numberless indeed are those who have found relief and consolation in their sufferings, in recommending themselves to the prayers of the archconfraternity, or in offering their petitions before the altar dedicated to that holy and immaculate heart, the
sweet source of every blessing, to those who devoutly and confidently invoke it.
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!