Our Lady of Pontmain

Pontmain, France (1871)


During the devastation of the Franco-Prussian War, Mary appeared on a farm to students at the nearby convent school. Mary's message was written on a banner that unfurled from her feet: "But pray my children. God will hear you in a short time. My Son allows Himself to be moved by compassion."


Nov 7, 1871

Eugene Barbedette (12) encounters a beautiful lady suspended in air above a neighboring house. The nearby adults could not see anything but when Francoise Richer (11) , Jeanne-Marie Lebosse (9), Eugene Friteau (6) all claim to see the woman, a nun in the crowd, Sister Marie Edouard, leads everyone in prayer.

Nov 7, 1871

The Prussians halt their advance across France when the Prussian commander encounters an "invisible Madonna barring the way"

Nov 18, 1871

A peace treaty is signed between France and Prussia.

Feb 2, 1872

Mgr Casimir Wicart, Bishop of Laval, declares: "We judge that the Immaculate Mary, Mother of God, has truly appeared on January 17th, 1871, to Eugene Barbedette, Joseph Barbedette, Francoise Richer, and Jeanne-Marie Lebosse, in the hamlet of Pontmain."

Pope Pius XI later confirmed the decision of the Episcopal court and granted a Mass and Office proper to our Lady of Hope of Pontmain.

July 16, 1932

Cardinal Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII, passes a decree from the Chapter of St. Peter's Basilica that the statue of the Mother of Hope be solemnly honored with a crown of gold.

July 24, 1934

The statue of Our Lady is crowned in the presence of archbishop, bishops, priests and the laity by Cardinal Verdier, Archbishop of Paris


A white scroll appeared under the Lady's feet and words of gold started to form on them: "But pray, my children". In the next phrase, a larger cross appeared in her hands and a banner with the name of Christ hung from it. Yet another sentence appeared on the scroll: "God will soon grant your request." In the final phrase, a third sentence appeared on the scroll, "My Son allows himself to be moved."

Description of the Virgin

Our Lady wore a blue robe embroidered with numerous golden stars. On her head she had a black veil and a gold crown and on her feet blue shoes with gold ribbons. The Lady was tall and beautiful and looked about eighteen; "smiles of ineffable sweetness played about her mouth." When the cross with Christ appeared in her hands, Joseph Barbedette recalled that "her face was marked with a deep sorrow... the trembling of her lips at the corners of her mouth showed deep feeling... But no tears ran down her cheeks."

The apparition was motionless at first for the inital two hours. After the Rosary began to be prayed, a small red cross appeared over heart and a blue oval frame with four candles appeared around her while the stars in her robe seemed to increase. When the Magnificat was prayed, she elevated her hands with the palms outward in a protective gesture. The candles in the oval frame were lit by a a star, and when the Lady lowered her hands, two white crosses appeared on her shoulders. When the parish priest began his prayers, a white veil rose from beneath her feet and covered her until she disappeared.

Miracles and Signs

At 5:30 on the night of the apparition to the children, the Prussian army halted their advance through France when the Prussian commander claimed to have seen an image of the Lady in the sky. General Schmidt reported: "We cannot go any further. Yonder, in the direction of Brittany, there is an invisible Madonna barring the way." A peace treaty between France and Prussia was signed eleven days later. All the soldiers from Pontmain returned unharmed.

Approval of the Church

Mgr Casimir Wicart, Bishop of Laval, immediately requested a detailed inquiry after the events occurred and came personally to Pontmain to question people. Other investigations and questioning took place subsequently, but on February 2nd 1872, by means of a very definite canonical act, the Bishop gave his decision. He recognised the authenticity of the apparition, approved the cult of our Lady of Hope of Pontmain and called for the building of a sanctuary.

IHe declared: "We judge that the Immaculate Mary, Mother of God, has truly appeared on January 17th, 1871, to Eugene Barbedette, Joseph Barbedette, Francoise Richer, and Jeanne-Marie Lebosse, in the hamlet of Pontmain."

Pope Pius XI gave a final decision regarding the mass and office in honor of Our Lady of Hope of Pont-Main.


Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain Chapel
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
(Funds for this chapel were donated by Bob Hope and his wife Dolores.)


Novena To Our Lady of Hope

I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth; in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come to me all that desire me and be filled with my fruits (Sirach 24:24-26).
O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Grace, Hope of the world.
Hear us, your children, who cry to you

Let Us Pray
O God, who by the marvelous protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary has strengthened us firmly in hope, grant we beseech You, that by persevering in prayer at her admonition, we may obtain the favors we devoutly implore. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Prayer to Our Lady of Hope
O Mary, my Mother, I kneel before you with heavy heart. The burden of my sins oppresses me. The knowledge of my weakness discourages me. I am beset by fears and temptations of every sort. Yet I am so attached to the things of this world that instead of longing for Heaven I am filled with dread at the thought of death.
O Mother of Mercy, have pity on me in my distress. You are all-powerful with your Divine Son. He can refuse no request of your Immaculate Heart. Show yourself a true Mother to me by being my advocate before His throne. O Refuge of Sinners and Hope of the Hopeless, to whom shall I turn if not you?
Obtain for me, then, O Mother of Hope, the grace of true sorrow for my sins, the gift of perfect resignation to God's Holy Will, and the courage to take up my cross and follow Jesus. Beg of His Sacred Heart the special favor that I ask in this novena.

(Make your request.)

But above all I pray, O dearest Mother, that through your most powerful intercession my heart may be filled with Holy Hope, so that in life's darkest hour I may never fail to trust in God my Savior, but by walking in the way of His commandments I may merit to be united with Him, and with you in the eternal joys of Heaven. Amen.
Mary, our Hope, have pity on us.
Hope of the Hopeless, pray for us.

3 Hail Marys