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OUR LADY OF VICTORIES – PARIS, 1836

OUR LADY OF VICTORIES – PARIS, 1836

Catherine Laboure’s pastor in 1830 was Father Charles du Friche des Gennettes. Father des Gennettes’ parish included the area in which the mother house of the Daughters of Charity was located. Father probably did not know Sister Catherine because the community had its own spiritual adviser, Father Aladel. He was very familiar, however, with the story of our Lady’s appearances in the convent chapel and with the Miraculous Medal.

In 1832, Father des Gennettes was transferred to the Church of Our Lady of Victories. This church had been built in 1629 by King Louis XIII in thanksgiving for favours granted him by the Blessed Virgin. The parishioners, for a century and a half, were known for their devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

WITH THE FRENCH REVOLUTION, THE CHURCH FELL UPON EVIL DAYS

With the French Revolution, the church fell upon evil days. All sorts of outrages were performed in it by the revolutionaries. Afterwards, it was used by a schismatic sect, and after that it became a stock exchange. In 1809, it was restored to its original purpose, but there were few parishioners left.

Father des Gennettes found that scarcely anyone came to Mass or received the sacraments. Being a very apostolic man, he tried in every way he could think of to bring the people back to their faith. He met with nothing but indifference. At length, Father became discouraged. Perhaps another priest might be able to do better, he thought. He decided it was his duty to resign as a failure.

“CONSECRATE YOUR PARISH TO THE MOST HOLY AND IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY”

On Sunday, December 3,1836, Father des Gennettes began to say Mass in an almost empty church. He was seized by a frightful distraction, the conviction that he must resign. He could scarcely keep his mind on the Mass. When he reached the Canon, he cried out in distress.

At that moment he heard a calm distinct voice say very solemnly: “Consecrate your parish to the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

After Mass, Father wondered whether he had really heard these words. He convinced himself that it had been his imagination and knelt to say his thanksgiving. Again he heard the words: “Consecrate your parish to the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

HE COULD DOUBT NO LONGER

He could doubt no longer. Taking up a pen, he composed the rules for a confraternity of our Lady. The Bishop approved the rules that same week.

The following Sunday, Father told the ten people at Mass about his project. He said there would be Vespers of our Lady that evening and that he would then give the full details of the Confraternity.

When Father des Gennettes entered the church that evening, he found it full for the first time in years. More than 400 people were there. The parish continued to flourish from then on. People began to come to Our Lady of Victories from other parts of Paris, and then from all France, and soon the fame of the shrine was worldwide. Today, about 90,000 thank offerings for cures line the walls.

TODAY, ABOUT 90,000 THANK OFFERINGS FOR CURES LINE THE WALLS

In 1838, Pope Gregory XVI made the Confraternity the Archconfraternity of the Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary for the Conversion of Sinners. There are affiliated societies throughout the world.

In March 1855, an octave of thanksgiving was held at the shrine for the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. At the end of the octave, the statue of the Immaculate Heart was seen to move. This happened again. Pope Pius IX took this as a sign of approval for his act, and ordered the statue to be crowned, June 1, 1856.

“I WAS FILLED WITH PEACE AND JOY”

St Therese of the Child Jesus visited the shrine on November 4, 1887. “Having arrived in Paris,”  she wrote, “Papa took us to see the sights. For me there was only one – Our Lady of Victories. What I felt in her sanctuary, I cannot say. The graces she granted me resembled those of my First Communion. I was filled with peace and joy. It was there that my Mother, the Virgin Mary, told me distinctly that it was indeed she who cured me. With what fervour did I beg her always to keep me and to bring about my dreams., to enfold me ever beneath the shadow of the cloak of her Virginity. I besought her again to keep all occasions of sin away from me.”

– From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 

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Posted by on September 27, 2019 in Devotions, Prayers to Our Lady

 

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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (MATTHEW 8:1-4)

IF YOU WANT TO, YOU CAN CURE ME.

After Jesus had come down from the mountain large crowds followed him. A leper now came up and bowed low in front of him. “Sir,” he said “if you want to, you can cure me.” Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him and said, “Of course I want to! Be cured!” And his leprosy was cured at once. Then Jesus said to him, “Mind you do not tell anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest and take the offering prescribed by Moses, as evidence for them.”

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 
 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (2KINGS 5:1-15)

THERE WERE MANY LEPERS IN ISRAEL, BUT NONE OF THESE WAS CURED, EXCEPT THE SYRIAN, NAAMAN.

Naaman, army commander to the king of Aram, was a man who enjoyed his master’s respect and favour, since through him the Lord had granted victory to the Aramaeans. But the man was a leper. Now on one of their raids, the Aramaeans had carried off from the land of Israel a little girl who had become a servant of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would approach the prophet of Samaria. He would cure him of his leprosy.”

Naaman went and told his master. “This and this,” he reported, “is what the girl from the land of Israel said.” “Go by all means,” said the king of Aram, “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten festal robes. He presented the letter to the king of Israel. It read: “With this letter, I am sending my servant Naaman for you to cure him of his leprosy.” When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his garments. “Am I a god to give death and life,” he said, “that he sends a man to me and asks me to cure him of his leprosy? Listen to this, and take note of it and see how he intends to pick a quarrel with me.”

When Elisha heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments, he sent word to the king, “Why did you tear your garments? Let him come to me, and he will find there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his team and chariot and drew up at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent him a messenger to say, “Go and bathe seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will become clean once more.” But Naaman was indignant and went off, saying, “Here was I thinking he would be sure to come out to me, and stand there, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the spot and cure the leprous part. Surely Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, are better than any water in Israel? Could I not bathe in them and become clean?” And he turned round and went off in a rage.

But his servants approached him and said, “My father, if the prophet had asked you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? All the more reason, then, when he says to you, ‘Bathe and you will become clean.'” So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child.

Returning to Elisha with his whole escort, he went in and stood before him. “Now I know,” he said, “that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel.”

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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