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​VISIONARY: Jeanne Courtel (12) shepherdess


FIRST APPARITION: August 15, 1652

LAST APPARITION:  August 20, 1652

​APPROVED: September 20, 1652

"To prove that the message comes from heaven's command,

I tell you that you will discover a few steps from the fountain of Saint-Gall...

an image that was honored in ancient times."


  Querrien is a small village in the northwestern part of France known as Brittany. On August 15, 1652, Jeanne Courtel, age 12, was a poor shepherdess tending her father’s sheep. She had been both deaf and mute ever since her birth. She was reciting her prayers when she was surprised by the sudden appearance of the Blessed Virgin. Our Lady was holding the Child Jesus on one arm and holding a stalk of lilies in the other.


  Blessed Mary had only spoken a few words when Jeanne suddenly realized that she could actually hear her! The twelve-year old had been miraculously healed.


  The next day the Virgin appeared again, this time urging for a chapel to be built for veneration to her. As evidence of her apparitions, in addition to the miracle of healing, Mary showed her where a statue was buried of the image of "Our Lady of Eternal Aid." The statue was found and this place manifested fifteen apparitions of the Virgin which were considered and recognized as authentically supernatural by the Bishop of Saint-Brieuc. The chapel was immediately built on the site of the apparitions.


  Because of the large crowds that visited the chapel it was enlarged in 1779. This shrine of Our Lady of Eternal Aid is the only one in Brittany that has been authenticated by the Catholic Church.




  In 1574, St. Columban and twelve of his companions landed on the coast of the country now known as Brittany. In its wake, many hermitages and monasteries were formed. Other missionaries followed, among then St. Gallen.


  In 1610, St. Gallen founded the chapel in Montrel Langast. In Querrien, there is a spring “so that people can knead bread.” He also built a chapel and sculpted a statue of the Virgin and Child. During a disastrous time in the region, the chapel that he had built was destroyed, and the statue was lost.


  In 1641, Jeanne Courtel was born deaf and mute. She later became a shepherdess.




  On Thursday, August 15, 1652, at about 6pm, just 40 km from Saint-Brieue, between Merdrignac and Loudeac, in the place called “champ des Fontenelles”, Jeanne is reciting the rosary when suddenly she felt like a “gust of wind”. She then sees a “beautiful woman smiling, dressed in brilliant white with a halo”, standing on a cloud above the spores of the soil”. For the first time in her life Jeanne hears a human voice: “Beautiful shepherdess, give me one of your sheep”.


Now Jeanne finds that she is able to talk and responds prudently: “These are not my sheep, they are my father’s. If he wants to give one to you, I am happy to agree”.


  Our Lady then says:  “Return to your parents and ask if I may be given a lamb”.


  “But who will tend to my flock?” questioned Jeanne to which Our Lady responded:


  “Myself. I will keep your sheep!”


  The little girl returned to her parents quickly - and they were astonished to hear her speak! Jeanne excitedly told them: “A Lady came to see me, and she asked me for one of your lambs.”


  The father was overjoyed at his daughter’s miraculous recovery and replied: “Ah, my daughter.  Because this Lady has made you speak, we will give her all the flock.”


  Jeanne also related that her father should dig in the nearby pond to find a statue of this Lady that had been buried there for centuries - according to the Lady. The father asked his daughter if the Lady had stated who she was?


  Jeanne responded: “She said that she was the Virgin Mary, and we need to build a chapel in the village so many pilgrims will go there to honor her.”


  The father responded: “If this is true, we will ask the bishop to allow us to build a shrine to the Virgin Mary.”


  The next few days, August 17, 18, and 19, The Virgin continued to show herself to Jeanne in different places: In the field of Etoubles, and that of the Bosquereaux, the “land of Querrien”, etc.


  On August 20, the Virgin said:


“To prove that the message comes from heaven’s command, I tell you that you will discover a few steps from the fountain of Saint-Gall... an image that was honored in ancient times.”


  Having been divinely directed by Our Lady to search the pond for the statue that had been lost for 800 years, it was duly found on August 20, and proved to be in excellent condition - despite having been buried in water for centuries.




 The Chapel - Shrine


  On September 11, 1652, Msgr. Denis de La Barde, Bishop of that region, made an appearance there at Querrien and was informed about all that had taken place. Several days later on September 20, after conducting his investigations, he formally recognized the validity of the apparitions and blessed the first stone of the future chapel. The chapel was begun later that year and was completed four years later. The shrine was enlarged in 1779 because of the large crowds.


  The body of visionary Jeanne Courtel was entombed within the shrine after her death in 1703 at the age of 63.


  One of the most splendid ceremonies to take place at the shrine was that in honor of Cardinal Lustiger, Archbishop of Paris, who paid homage to the Madonna and then blessed the new buildings on September 10, 2000.


  The Shrine of Our Lady of Eternal Aid is proud to announce that it is the only one in Brittany that has been authenticated by the Catholic Church.


The Statue


  On August 14, 1950, some 20,000 pilgrims visited Querrien for the coronation of the miraculous status by the local bishop who did so in the presence of many ecclesiastics.



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