Apparition of Pontmain - 1871by Amyobala Key
It was winter and the year was 1871. France was embroiled in a brutal war
with Prussia and its allies, led by the infamous Otto von Bismarck. The
French were losing. It was January 17th, 1871, eleven days before Paris
was to fall to the enemy. On this cold and snowy night, Cesar Barbadette
and his two young sons, Eugene, age 12, and Joseph, age 10, were feeding
the animals in their barn. The eldest son, Auguste, was off fighting in
the war. Their mother, Victoire, was back in the kitchen, preparing their
meal. It was late evening, and Eugene walked toward the door to look out
at the starry sky. As he did, he noticed that one portion of the sky,
above a neighbor's house, showed few stars, as if obscured. He was
astounded to see the Apparition of a smiling woman, some say with arms
outstretched. She wore a dark blue gown that was covered in golden stars.
She also wore a golden crown beneath a black veil and blue slippers with
Momentarily, the event which appeared almost staged, changed again, with a broad streamer unrolling beneath her feet. Letters began to appear, stating: "But, pray, my children."
When Father Guerin instructed that the Litany of Our Lady should be sung, new letters appeared, with the message: "God will soon answer you." The final message thereafter appeared: "My Son allows Himself to be moved." The Lady's countenance then changed from a smile to sadness, as a large red cross appeared before her, along with a figure of Jesus and a darker shade of red. One of the stars lit the four candles. A white veil rose from the lady's feet, obscuring her. By the third hour, the Apparition was over.
Two months later, a church inquiry, followed up a year later, resulted in satisfaction that the Apparition had been real and that it had been the Blessed Virgin who had appeared to the children.
On July 2, 1949, after more examination by committees, the Sighting was approved, and a small chapel was erected at the site.
Of the children, it has been reported that, when they grew up, Joseph and Eugene Barbadette both became priests, Francoise Richer became Eugene's housekeeper, and the younger girl, Jeanne marie LeBosse, become a nun. But it has also been reported that the four children all married and had their own families (an inconsistency with the earlier report.)
Note: We may never know the true events, as the reports suggest that the entire event was a thoroughly staged appearance. As far as some suggestions that the Apparition had assisted with ending the war between France and Prussia, it appears more likely, that after Paris fell a few weeks later, and the Armistice was signed a few months after that, that the appearance of the Apparition was merely coincidental. Images with banners at the feet that display words of faith and wisdom appear to be a style of the times, and many of the details appear added after the fact. It is hard to say exactly what the children witnessed and what was suggested to them by the zealous adults.