Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Feast of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin and the commemoration of the Holy Cord of Valenciennes Apparition - click to read

For over one thousand years the inhabitants of Valenciennes, the little town in north-east France, make the fourteen kilometers long pilgrimage around their town to fulfill the vows made to the Blessed Virgin Mary for rescuing the town from dreadful plaque. The whole story is posted below and we may gratefully meditate on God's wonderful providence.

...At the beginning of the 11th century, this sudden disease--as contagious as it was merciless--ravaged Valenciennes, taking more than 8,000 victims in merely a few days. Fear reigned unchecked. Facing total decimation, so fierce was the plague, the people turned to heaven, calling the Most Blessed Virgin for help in their distress, for devotion to her had always been held in honor in that city.

At that time, a pious hermit named Bertholin lived in an oratory dedicated to the Virgin Mary, in a place called Fontenelles. Moved by compassion as he witnessed his neighbors's sufferings, Bertholin begged the Holy Mother of God to come to the rescue. Toward the end of August, the Mother of God appeared to him and said: "Go see my people in Valenciennes; announce to them that I have disarmed the hand of my Son. The night preceding the feast of my nativity, my people will know that I have heard their cries of distress. My servants should go up on the town's ramparts, where they shall see wonderful things."

Soon after, as they crowded the fortification walls, 15,000 spectators suddenly saw the darkness dissipate and the night turn into a radiant day, while their amazed eyes contemplated a majestic queen, of entrancing beauty, surrounded by a great cort├Ęge of angels seemingly coming from the hermit's cottage and stopping above the chapel of the Neuf Bourg, which had been dedicated to the Mother of God by Charlemagne.

She held a ball of scarlet cord in her hands. At a sign from their glorious queen, an angel respectfully took the end of the "celestial thread" and, quickly flying around the city and its outskirts, he unraveled it and let the precious cord drop behind him. Once he completed his circuit, the vision ended. At the same moment, the contagion ceased, and those already affected were cured.

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Moment with Mary