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.