The employer, who had heard everything, tearfully promised to amend. And she kept her word. News of the apparitions began to spread; people were talking about them all over. Many believed in them, but several others were incredulous and treated the shepherd girl as a false mystic. Among the many people who supported Benoîte were the little girls of St. Stephen’s who, like her, loved Mary with all their heart.
Virgin Mary: “Tell the girls of St. Stephen’s to sing the Litany of the Blessed Virgin in the church every evening, with the permission of the Prior, and you will see that they will do it.”
Indeed, once they had learned their “lesson,” the Litany was chanted every evening with great devotion. It might be interesting to point out here that Laus is in the diocese of Embrun. Since 1638, the year of the consecration of France to Mary by King Louis XIII, the Litany of Loreto had been chanted regularly in the cathedral of Embrun. As reports of the apparitions took on greater expansion, François Grimaud, the magistrate of Avançon Valley, a good Catholic and a man of integrity, decided to conduct an investigation. After serious examination he concluded that Benoîte was not deceiving anyone, nor was she an impostor, or mentally ill. He also observed that Benoîte had not asked her Lady to reveal Her identity, so to speak. At the magistrate’s request, although personally it cost her a great deal, Benoîte was obliged to ask:
Benoîte: “My good Lady, I and all the people in this place are hard put to know who You are. Might You not be the Mother of our good God? Please be so kind as to tell me, and we will build a chapel here to honor You.”
Virgin Mary: “There is no need to build anything there because She had chosen a more pleasant spot. I am Mary, the Mother of Jesus. You will not see Me here any more, nor for some time.”
September 29, 1664
Benoîte: “Oh, good Mother! Why did You deprive me of the joy of seeing You for so long?”
Virgin Mary: “From now on, you will see Me only in the chapel that is in Laus.”
And Mary showed her the path that went up and over the hill toward Laus, a village the young girl had heard about but never visited, as she actually lived in the village of St.-Étienne d’Avançon.
In 1640, some pious mountain people had built a little chapel dedicated to Notre-Dame de Bon Rencontre deep in the solitude of Laus. They had done so for the purpose of gathering there to pray when high water would prevent them from going to the parish church in Saint-Étienne. Exteriorly, the humble thatch-roofed structure looked like all the other small houses; just over two meters square, it had a plaster altar whose only ornaments were two wooden candlesticks and a pewter ciborium. That is where the Queen of Heaven awaited the young shepherd girl, as in a new stable of Bethlehem. since Benoite had never heard of the chapel, the next day she searched a long time for it in tears, going here and there, sometimes wandering away for a moment. She stopped at the entrance of each poor dwelling, trying to detect the “sweet fragrance.” Finally she detected it near a door left ajar. Entering, she found her beautiful Lady standing on a dust-covered altar.