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Notre-Dame du Laus, Saint-Étienne-le-Laus, Hautes-Alpes, France

Commemorated on First Monday Pentecost
Notre-Dame du Laus, Saint-Étienne-le-Laus, Hautes-Alpes, France
The Virgin Mary started appearing to shepherdess Benoite Rencurel, 19, in 1664 and continued visiting her until she died in 1718.
The Blessed Mother asked for a church and a house for priests to be built, with the intention of drawing people to greater conversion, especially through the sacrament of penance. The holy site now draws 120,000 pilgrims annually.
Numerous physical healings have also been associated with the site, especially when oil from a lamp is applied on the wounds according to the directives the Virgin Mary gave to Benoite. Bishop Jean-Michel de Falco of Gap officially approved the apparitions on May 4, 2008.


Sept 16, 1647
Benoite (Benedicta) Rencurel is born in Saint-Étienne d'Avançon (in the southern French Alps).
Benedicta's father dies. The family suffers financial difficulties with creditors.
Benedicta's family was in even worse straits, so she took employment tending sheep for two masters at the same time.
May 1664
Benedicta encounters an elderly man, St. Maurice, who tells her to take her flock of sheep to the valley above Saint-Étienne where she will see the Mother of God.
May 1664
Benedicta was caring for the animals of some neighbors and praying the rosary when she saw a dazzling lady standing on a rock, holding a beautiful child in her arms. “Beautiful Lady!” she exclaimed. “What are you doing up there? Do you want to eat with me? I have some good bread which we can soften up at the fountain.” The girl’s simplicity brought a smile to the Lady’s face, but she said nothing. “Beautiful Lady! Could you give us that child? He would make us so happy.” The Lady smiled again without responding. After remaining a few minutes with Benedicta, she took the child in her arms and disappeared into a cave.
For four months, the Lady appeared to Benedicta every day, talking to her and preparing her for her future mission. Benedicta told the woman
who owned the flock that she cared for about the visions, but she did not believe her. One day, however, the woman secretly followed her to
the Fours valley. She didn’t see the vision, but she did hear Mary’s voice, who told Benedicta to warn her that her soul was in danger. “She
has something on her conscience,” Mary said. “Tell her to do penance.” The woman was deeply moved by the message, returned to the
sacraments and lived piously for the rest of her days.
Aug 29, 1664
Benedicta asked the Lady what her name was. She replied, “My name is Mary.”
During the winter, Benedicta went up to Laus frequently, each time receiving a vision of the Blessed Mother, who told her to
“pray continuously for sinners.” News of the apparitions spread throughout the entire region.
September 14, 1665
Father Antoine Lambert, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Embrun and most unsympathetic towards the apparitions, came to Laus in the company of several eminent priests, equally unsympathetic to the events at Laus, hoping to put an end to "this sorcery," prove Benoite guilty of a hoax, and shut down the chapel.
Sept 18, 1665
The apparitions were officially recognized by the diocese and that fall, construction began on a small church to receive the hundreds of pilgrims coming to visit.
Oct 7, 1666
On the Feast of the Holy Rosary, Father Gaillard laid the first stone of the building, and the Dominican Fathers from Gap presided over a long procession of pilgrims. It was on that occasion that Benoite became a Dominican Tertiary. From then on she wore the tertiary veil and cape, and people began calling her "Sister Benoite."
Benedicta received five visions of the suffering Christ. 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 seals of mystical union with Christ, the holy stigmata. Every week from that day on, she suffered a mystical crucifixion between Thursday evening and Saturday morning. This weekly crucifixion lasted fifteen years, with a two-year interruption from 1677 to 1679, when Benoite served food to the workers who were building the priests' residence; in November 1679, the mystical crucifixion was renewed at the Cross of Avançon.
The Apparitions at Laus and Benoite were to meet with much hostility over the next twenty years. The Bishop, now old and in a weakened state appointed two chaplains who were not in favor of Laus, and 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 established here. The messenger's fidelity triumphed over this long "eclipse of Laus."
The direction of the Pilgrimage was entrusted to some good priests, called the Pères Gardistes, "a deeply religious group of sound doctrine, moved by an ardent desire for the apostolate."
Dec 28, 1718
After more than two decades of living lived as a hermit on the site of the apparitions and suffering and continual apparitions of the Blessed Mother, Benedicta received Communion on Christmas Day 1718. Three days later she made a confession, received the last rites and around 8p.m. said goodbye to those around her. Benedicta then kissed a crucifix and passed away peacefully. She died in the odor of sanctity.
Pope Pius IX celebrated the coronation of the Virgin Mary at the hand of the Cardinal of Bordeaux.
Pope Pius IX declared her a "Servant of God."
The church in Laus was raised to the rank of a minor basilica
July 31, 1981
Reopening of Benedicta's beatification process by Blessed Pope John Paul II
May 4, 2008
Bishop Jean-Michel de Falco of Gap officially approved the apparitions: “I recognize the supernatural origin of the apparitions and the events and words experienced and narrated by Benedicta Rencurel. I encourage all of the faithful to come and pray and seek spiritual renewal at this shrine."
April 3, 2009
Pope Benedict XVI recognized the heroic virtue of Benoite (Benedicta) Rencurel proclaiming her 'Venerable'.



Mary revealed herself in Laus as the reconciler and refuge of sinners, and therefore 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.
Benedicta took the mission she received from Mary seriously and dedicated herself to preparing sinners to receive the sacrament. She encouraged the two priests at the shrine to receive penitents with charity and kindness in order to help them convert.
Mary asked Benedicta to admonish women and girls about living lives of scandal, especially those who commit abortion. She also encouraged priests and religious to be faithful to their vows.


On September 14, 1665, Father Antoine Lambert, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Embrunand most unsympathetic towards the apparitions, came to Laus in the company of several eminent priests, equally unsympathetic to the events at Laus, hoping to put an end to "this sorcery," prove Benoite guilty of a hoax, and shut down the chapel. When the poor shepherd girl heard that they had arrived, she was so afraid that she wanted to leave.
When the Father Antoine Lambert, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Embrunreached Laus, he entered the chapel to pray for a moment and then summoned the shepherd girl. Backed by his colleagues, he questioned Benoite haughtily, trying to trap her and make her contradict herself. She remained unruffled and answered him with simplicity and calm assurance. Her words were clear and surprisingly affirmative. 
"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," the Vicar General said severely. "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. Father Fraisse, the pastor of Saint-Étienne, Judge François Grimaud and Father Pierre Gaillard were also questioned. The Vicar General, instead of closing down the oratory, made a detailed inventory and wrote out a lengthy report of his pastoral visit. He 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!" Father Lambert questioned the woman who had been cured and wrote out an official report of the miracle. Then he had everyone enter the chapel to sing the Te Deum and the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, and he named two young priests as chaplains at Laus: Father Jean Peytieu, who would die of exhaustion at the age of forty-nine after twenty-four years of ministry totally dedicated to souls, and Father Pierre Gaillard, who exercised an exemplary ministry there for fifty years as director of the pilgrimage. Father Barthelemy Hermitte was named to serve as their assistant, which he did for twenty-eight years until his death. The Vicar General concluded by authorizing construction of the church as the Blessed Virgin had requested. 


On July 31, 1981, the bishop of Gap, Mos. Seguy, proceded with the publication of a decree of the formation of a offocial commission for the recogition of the autheticity of the apparition. HGis successor Mons. Lagrange, following the cause. On May 4, 2008, Mons Di Falco ha recognized the authenticity.
During a Mass on May 4, 2008, attended by Roman Curia officials, Bishop Jean-Michel de Falco of Gap noted these are the first Marian apparitions to be approved in the 21st century by the Vatican and the Church in France. He called it the most singular event to take place in France since the apparitions of Lourdes in 1862.
“I recognize the supernatural origin of the apparitions and the events and words experienced and narrated by Benedicta Rencurel. I encourage all of the faithful to come and pray and seek spiritual renewal at this shrine,” the bishop said.
“Nobody is obliged to believe in apparitions,” he continued, “even in those officially recognized, but if they help us in our faith and our daily lives, why should we reject them?” he asked.
In this homily Mass broadcast throughout the country by France-2 Television, the bishop said, "344 year ago, Our Lady chose to address a simple shepherdess to open the way of penitence and conversion, to invite pilgrims to reconcile themselves with the world and with God."
Read official Church statements about the apparitions at Le Laus. 


In 1855 Pope Pius IX crowned the statue of the Madonna through the hand of the Cardinal of Bordeaux.  


Queen of Laus, kind and loving Mother, hear our pious pleas. Your son always hears your prayers, and you always hear your children. O pure Virgin, ceaselessly watch over our hearts from heaven. Let no dirt tarnish the heavenly whiteness.Be our support in virtue, all-powerful Virgin, and guide our feeble steps. If we fall, Compassionate Mother, kindly embrace us in your arms.Give us shelter under your wings when the storms burst with fury, spare us from cruel agony, and may the sinner repent with true remorse.Leave us not at our last hour, but let us sleep in peace at your maternal breast. And once awakening, drawing back the veil, we will see you in the splendor of heaven. Our Lady of Laus, Refuge of sinners, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
Prayer for the beatification of Benoîte
Father, full of tenderness and mercy,
your son gave us Mary as mother.
At his request, he gave the Laus to make it the refuge of sinners.
Your servant Benoîte welcomed pilgrims and took them to the source of forgiveness and reconciliation.
We pray with confidence that she would soon be beatified and thus the Laus shines a new light, it touches more hearts and always lead more sinners to Thee.
At his intercession, deign to grant me the grace that I ask for your mercy to the praise of your love and your glory.



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