In the gardens of the community there is a small chapel constructed in honor of Notre-Dame de Pontmain.
The fame of Notre-Dame de Pontmain stems from the event of January 17, 1871: on this day, the sky opened up and Mary visited some people who were in anguish. For three hours, there was an astonishing scene in the sky, which the dazzled children described to people of the village, who gathered around the visionaries for a night of prayer in the presence of Mary.
Pontmain is, after La Salette (1846) and Lourdes (1858), one of the three great Marian apparitions recognized by the Church of 19th century France.
A Short History
Pontmain, on January 17th, 1871. It is night. It is cold. France is at war. Paris is besieged. The Prussians, victors, are at the gate of Laval. In Pontmain, it is anguish: one is without news of the 38 mobilized young people. On this evening, Eugene Barbedette helps his father to crush gorse in the barn. Her young brother, Joseph, is there too. Eugene goes out “to see the weather”.
At this point in time he sees above the opposite house a beautiful woman with a dress sprinkled with stars who looks at him with a smile and her arms extended. The villagers run toward the barn. Other children, in turn, see her too. A blue oval with four extinct candles comes to surround the beautiful woman. Around the parish priest and the nuns of the school is organized a night of prayer.
The rosary is prayed, then the Magnificat, when a streamer unravels between the oval and the roof of the house, on which appears, letter after letter, a message, quickly spelled out and read by the children, while the crowd sings the litanies of the Blessed Virgin, the Inviolata and the Salve Regina.
PRAY MY CHILDREN ! GOD WILL SOON ANSWER YOUR PRAYERS•
MY SON ALLOWS HIMSELF TO BE MOVED
Enthusiasm grows and the children express their joy: “Oh! She is so beautiful!” The crowd sings “Mother of Hope.” Suddenly, the children become very sad, while Mary’s face too reflects a deep sadness.
Mary shows Jesus
A red cross appears in front of her carrying a very bloody Jesus. At the top of the Cross, on a white cross-piece, is written in red the name of the one who is there: JESUS CHRIST. Mary grasps the crucifix with both hands and presents it to the children, while a small star lights the four candles of the oval. The assembly prays silently. They sing the Ave Maris Stella. The red crucifix disappears. Mary resumes her initial appearance, with her hands extended in a gesture of welcome. A small white cross appears on each one of her shoulders. Everyone kneels in the snow for the evening prayer. Soon a large white veil unravels from her feet and little by little entirely covers her. “It is all over” say the children. Everyone goes back home with a lightened heart. Eleven days laterm the armistice is signed. The Prussians had not entered Laval.
Graces of all kinds were obtained. After an investigation and a canonical lawsuit, the Bishop of Laval, Mgr. Wicart, declares on February 2, 1872: “We declare that the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, truly appeared on January 17, 1871, to Eugene and Joseph Barbedette, Françoise Richer and Jeanne-Marie Lebossé in the village of Pontmain.”