Our Lady of Le Puy en Velay
Apparition which appeared twice in Haute-Loire, France
Around 250, Our Lady appeared to a sick, recently converted Christian woman in Velay, now part of modern France, and told her to visit Mount Anis and lay on a large flagstone. She did this, and upon arising was found to be cured of her ailment. There are conflicting stories, but most agree that after this miraculous cure, a chapel was built on the mountain atop the ruins of a pagan shrine. Upon completion, the bishop planned to travel to Rome to request a solemn consecration. On the way he ran into two men carrying large chests filled with sacred relics from Rome destined for the church in Velay. They informed the bishop the church had already been consecrated by angels and then disappeared. Upon returning to his church, he found it illuminated by 300 torches and filled with the aroma of anointing oil. It has never been given any other consecration.
Other healings occurred at the chapel and through the years, the site grew in popularity and soon became the most popular pilgrimage site in France. Charlemagne visited twice and today, the church still marks the beginning of one of the routes to Santiago de Compostella in Spain. Pilgrims still gather daily for Mass and a blessing before starting their journey.
In the 13th century, King Louis XI gifted the church an ebony statute of Our Lady which he brought back from the Holy Land. The statue was used in processions up until the French Revolution at which point it was destroyed. Today a replica of the statue sits in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament and another Black Madonna sits behind the high altar.
Prayer to Our Lady of Le Puy
Sainte Marie, Mère de Dieu,
Gardez-moi un cœur d’enfant,
Pur et transparent comme une source ;
Obtenez-moi un cœur simple
Qui ne savoure pas les tristesses ;
Un cœur magnifique à se donner,
Tendre à la compassion ;
Un cœur fidèle et généreux,
Qui n’oublie aucun bien
Et ne tienne rancune d’aucun mal.
Faites-moi un cœur doux et humble,
Aimant sans demander de retour,
Joyeux de s’effacer dans un autre cœur
Devant votre divin Fils ;
Un cœur grand et indomptable
Qu’aucune ingratitude ne ferme,
Qu’aucune indifférence ne lasse ;
Un cœur tourmenté de la gloire de Jésus-Christ,
Blessé de son amour
Et dont la plaie ne guérisse qu’au ciel.
(Another tough one to find! prayer source)