Our Lady
of Prayer

In the diocese of Tours, a region of central France known as the Touraine, the ancient village of L’IleBouchard shows two steeples, one on either bank of the river Vienne; St. Maurice to the south and St.
Gilles to the north. In the latter, on December 8, 1947, the Blessed Virgin, or Sainte Vierge as she iscalled in French, appeared to four little girls. The apparitions continued for seven days amidst growing
local excitement. After each apparition the girls were separately questioned and a number of investigations were subsequently conducted, including that of Monseigneur Fiot; Canon of the Cathedral of Tours and Vicar General of the diocese. The four girls were: sisters Jacqueline and Jeannette Aubry, their cousin Nicole Robin and their neighbor Laura Croizon. Jacqueline and Jeannette were 12 and 7 years old, Nicole was 10 and Laura was 8. Jacqueline was talkative and gay while her sister Jeannette was silent and of strong character. Nicole was placid and matter-of-fact. Laura was affectionate and lively. They were considered ordinary little girls by everyone who knew them. They are alive today and lead normal lives.Their families were modest.

Dec 8, 1947, 1:00 PM
At about one o'clock in the afternoon on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Jacqueline Aubry, aged 12, her sister Jeanette, aged 7, and their cousin, Nicole Robin, aged 10, stopped at the church of St Gilles to pray.

While praying the rosary at the altar, Jacqueline suddenly saw a beautiful Lady before her, all in white, with hands joined in prayer and a rosary over her right arm. To the left was an angel holding a lily, eyes fixed in contemplation of the Lady.

They wanted to tell other people what was happening, so they ran out together and saw a school friend, Laura Croizon, aged 8, and her 13 year old sister, Sergine. Laura cried out that she could see a beautiful lady and an angel but Sergine, though, saw nothing, and the others had to describe the scene for her. The altar of the Virgin had a stained glass window featuring Our Lady of Lourdes to its left, and a statue of Our Lady of Victories directly above it. The apparition was situated several feet off the ground in the corner between the altar and the window.

Dec 8, 1947
Jacqueline and Jeanette rushed home to tell their mother, but she did not believe them. One of the sisters at school, Sr. Marie de L'Enfant Jésus, believed instantly, but feared a negative general reaction.

The parish priest, Fr Clovis Ségelle, and the head teacher, Sr. Saint-Léon de la Croix did not accept their story. They decided to separately question the children who each gave the same account. Jacqueline found the other girls and went back to the altar of the Virgin where she was awaiting them.

As they knelt before her, though, her expression became extremely sad as she slowly uttered her first words: "Tell the little children to pray for France, for her need is great." Jacqueline, still not sure who the lady was, then whispered to Jeanette and Laura to ask the Lady if she was their "Maman du Ciel," (Heavenly Mother). They did so, and the reply was "But of course I am your Maman du Ciel!" The angel said: "I am the angel Gabriel"

Virgin Mary then turned back to the girls and asked for their hands to kiss, bending low to reach the hands of Jacqueline and Nicole. But the other two girls were much smaller and could not reach high enough. Jacqueline took them up, one after the other, and lifted them up at arms length, as though they were practically weightless.

All four testified to the solidity and warmth of Mary's hand and the touch of her lips. Before disappearing in a cloud of silvery dust, she asked them to return that evening at five o'clock and the next day at one o'clock. After the girls left the church, they noticed a shining white oval on their fingers, but before they got back to school these traces, which they did manage to show to a local woman, had faded.

Jacqueline and Nicole spoke of what had happened, and after class they were separated and asked to write out accounts of their experiences, which were matching. Once the girls got home they found their parents not inclined to believe them, and only Jacqueline was able to return to the church, for the rosary and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in honor of the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Dec 8, 1947, 5:00 PM
Vrigin Mary appeared and beckoned to Jacqueline, but as she debated whether to go forward or not, looking back toward Sr. Saint-Léon for permission, assuming that she too could see the apparition, the bell rang for Benediction, and when she looked back the apparition was gone. But once the Blessed Sacrament had been returned to the tabernacle, Mary reappeared.

Dec 9, 1947, 1:00 PM
All four girls assembled in the church, and so the general pattern for the week's events was set. They knelt by the Virgin's altar and began to pray Hail Marys, when suddenly a shining golden sphere, about three feet across, came out of the wall and unfolded itself as a rectangular curtain of silvery light, on which the rocky grotto stood out in relief.

The girls were then joined by a certain Madame Trinson, who owned a shoe shop in the town. Mary, with a grave expression, showed the girls the golden cross of her rosary, and asked them to kiss it. Jacqueline and Nicole both stood up to do this, and Madame Trinson was amazed to see Jacqueline repeat her feat of the previous day, lifting up the two younger girls as though they were featherweight dolls so that they too could kiss the golden cross. The metal was cold to their lips and they were penetrated with a sense of Mary's grief.

The Virgin Mary then made a beautiful, but extremely slow, sign of the cross. It took two minutes to complete, and the girls copied her movements, with Madame Trinson looking on in astonishment. Once this was over Mary said that she would tell them a secret that they could reveal in three days, and with great emphasis said: "Pray for France, which in these days is in great danger." Then she asked that the priest come at two o'clock, with the children and a crowd, so that they could all pray. She also asked for a grotto, and that her statue and that of the angel should be placed in it, promising to bless them once this was done. With that the apparition disappeared.

Dec 10, 1947, 2:00 PM
Fr Ségelle refused to come and so Jacqueline, Jeanette and Laura, with about twenty other children, and thirty adults, assembled in the church. After they had said ten Hail Marys, the Virgin and the angel appeared as before, out of the golden ball. She asked for hymns and prayers, before telling them to return each day at one o'clock, until everything was over. At five-thirty Fr Ségelle informed the archbishop of the day's events.