Notre Dame du Laus
Laus -Pictures and Spanish
Venerated as "Our Lady of Happy Meetings," Mary invites us to the joy of reconciliation and union with Christ. "Laus" is the latin word for praise.
-Benoite Rencurel was visited by the Blessed Mother at Laus for over 50 yeaars, from 1664-1718. Her father died when she was 7 and lived in great poverty as a shepherdess.
Encounters with Jesus
Benoite received visions of the suffering Christ from 1669.
-On a Friday in July of 1673, the suffering Jesus told her: “My daughter, I show myself in this state so that you can participate in my Passion.”
-She received the mystical union with Christ, the seal of the union was the holy stigmata (suffering with Him).
-Every week from that day on, for fifteen years, she suffered a mystical crucifixion between Thursday evening and Saturday morning. Starting in 1679 she lived the mystical crucifixion at the Cross of Avançon where the Prescious Blood Chapel was later built to house the relic of the cross.
Persecution from priests and perseverance.
-Ven. Benoit suffered much due to persecutions at the hand of priests. In Sept 14 1665, a year after the apparitions began, Fr. Antoine Lambert, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Embrun came to Laus in the company of several priests. He was hoping to put an end to "this sorcery," prove Benoite guilty of a hoax, and shut down the chapel. A miracle moved him to change his mind and Benoite had a time of peace. (See app.1 to see how this turned out.)
-Some time later however, priests were sent to the area who persecuted Benoite for a period of twenty years. They turned the faithful away and for fifteen years Benoite was kept under house arrest, permitted only Sunday Mass.
-Benoite's Angel comforted her by lifting a little of the veil that hid the future from her: "There will always be troubles at Laus until there are Religious are established here.
-In 1712 holy priests took charge of Laus and zealously ministered to the pilgrims.
-In 1718, after more than two decades of living as a hermit on the site of the apparitions, suffering the passion and having continual apparitions of the Blessed Mother, Benoit died after receiving the sacraments.
-1791, the French Revolution expelled the priests and the church and monastery at Laus was sold by auction. The apparitions remained little known outside the area.
-Apparitions were approved in May 4, 2008 (That year Love Crucified Community was founded -March 11- and we visited Laus, receiving there the conviction that Jesus and Mary consolidated our vocation to the community and to the Path to Union with God). -Benoit was declared venerable in april of 2009.
Bishop Di Falco, who approved the apparitions, said in his homily: "344 year ago, Our Lord chose a simple shepherdess to open the way to reconciliation and conversion" He added that the message is "to live heart to heart with God in prayer, to enter more profoundly a conversion where we are reconciled with ourselves, with others and with God, and to live your mission where your life is, in the common every day life and with joy."
In an interview, the bishop said:
What I find particularly interesting about Benoîte Rencurel is that the apparitions urged her to commit herself in ever greater measure in her immediate social circle. She did not dream her life, she lived it to the full. The Virgin Mary was her real educator in this sense. She encouraged her, thanked her, and even rebuked her at times. Through her guidance, contemplation was constantly being transformed into action.
Most of the times the Virgin Mary gave her information about the inner psychological state of the pilgrim who approached her. She urged Benoîte to communicate certain things to the pilgrim that would not increase his or her burden, but lead them to conversion. She both revealed the dangers they were running into, and how to avoid them. The Virgin Mary never showed Benoîte a future that was unalterable. Her revelations were warnings, and gave impulses to change things for the better.
Messages: Mary was at first silent and only smiled. Later she “Let yourself be reconciled!” “Let God approach you, for this God is capable of only one thing, and that is to love”.
The message is enfleshed in the messenger: Ven. Benoite was a victim soul, mystically united with Christ in love and suffering. She was persecuted but persevered loving and fulfulling the mission Our Lady had given her until her death. She dedicated herself to preparing sinners to receive the sacraments. She encouraged priests to be faithful to their vows and to receive penitents with charity and kindness. Mary asked Benoite to admonish women and girls about living lives of scandal, especially those who commit abortion.
Mary revealed herself in Laus as the reconciler and refuge of sinners. She offered signs to convince them of the need to repent. She told Benedicta that the oil from the sanctuary lamp would work miracles with the infirm if they received the anointing with faith in her intercession. The Blessed Mother stablished the sanctuary of Laus as a refuge for sinners. She said:
I want a large church to be built in in this place, with a building for resident priests. The church will be built in honor of my beloved Son and mine. The objective of this initiative, which will be realized rapidly, is to initiate Christians in the path of conversion, specially through the sacrament of confession. Many sinners will convert here. I will appear here frequently. I have asked for Laus from my son and He has granted it to me. ...as my property until the end of time.
Appendix. 1 Outcome of Fr. Lambert's visit.
Fr. Lambert questioned Benoite haughtily, trying to trap her and make her contradict herself. She remained unruffled and answered him with simplicity and calm assurance. He said to her:
"Don't think I have come here to authorize your visions and illusions, and all the strange things that are being said about you and this place, It is my conviction, as it is of everyone with any common sense, that your visions are false. Consequently, I am going to close down this chapel and prohibit the devotion. As for you, you have only to go back home."
Following the Blessed Virgin's inspiration, the shepherd girl answered him:
"Sire, although you command God each morning and make Him come down to the altar by the power you received when you became a priest, you have no commands to give His holy Mother, who does as She pleases here."
Impressed by these words, the Vicar General replied: "Well, if what people are saying is true, then pray to Her to show me the truth by a sign or a miracle, and I will do all that I can to accomplish Her will. But once again, be careful that these not be illusions and effects of your imagination to delude the people, or I will punish you severely to undeceive those who believe you. I will stamp out abuses with every means in my power."
Benoite thanked him humbly and promised to pray according to his intentions. The Vicar General had planned on leaving that evening, but heavy downpours obliged him to remain for two more days. The Blessed Virgin had arranged it thus, so that he would witness a striking miracle. A well known woman of the area by the name of Catherine Vial had been suffering for the past six years from the contraction of the nerves in her legs: they were both bent backwards and seemed bound to her body, and no effort could separate them. Her case had been declared incurable by two eminent surgeons. Having come to Laus with her mother to make a novena, she was a pity to behold, crouched all day long in the chapel. Around midnight on the last day of the novena, she suddenly felt her legs relax and begin to move. She was cured. The next morning she entered the chapel under her own power while the Vicar General was saying Mass. Her presence caused quite a stir as the people exclaimed, "Miracle! Miracle! Catherine Vial is cured!"
Moved to tears, Father Lambert had a hard time finishing his Mass. Father Gaillard, who was serving, wrote, "I am a faithful witness of all that occurred." And the Vicar General declared, "There is something extraordinary occurring in that chapel. Yes, the hand of God is there!" and, after further questioning, concluded by authorizing construction of the church as the Blessed Virgin had requested.