Sunday May 4, 2008.
Roman Catholic Monsignor Jean-Michael di Falco Leandri announced he recognizes the "supernatural origin" of the Virgin Mary apparitions to 17-year-old Behoite Recurel. The apparitions occurred from 1664 to 1718.
Benoite Rencurel was born on September 16, 1647 in a small Alps town called Saint-Etienne d'Avançon. The family lived a moderate life making a living from working with their hands. Upon death of the father Guilaume Rencurel, difficult time fell on the wife and three daughters. With no school in the small village the only instruction was that of Sunday Mass so Benoite never learned to read of write. Benoite was know for praying for long periods of time and one day in May of 1664 while attending sheep in a grotto she saw an apparition of a beautiful woman on a rock with a child, while saying the rosary. The apparition would continue daily for four month when the apparition did not return. It is said this absence was a time of purification.
"Lady Mary" returned the end of September as the 17 year old, stopped her sheep and goats by a river bank with an old broken down bridge. Lady Mary (as She called herself) stood blazing like a beautiful sun. Unable to cross the bridge Benoite crossed the water on the back of a big goat. Now before Our Lady, she asked, "My good Lady, why have you deprived me for so long of the honor of seeing you?" Lady Mary replied "From now on, when you want to see me, you will be able to do so in the chapel in Laus," pronounced Lou. The next day, Benoîte went to the village of Laus where she immediately entered and saw Lady Mary. Accounts tell us this small chapel was old dirty and showed poverty. Benoite suggested cutting her apron in two, to use as a cloth under the Lady's feet. The Lady said soon, linens, candles, and other ornaments would be there.
The news of the apparitions spread among the villagers. Starting on the Feast Day of Saint Joseph, (March 19) pilgrims came to the chapel. There many sinners would be converted. Many obtained graces doing confession and resolving to change their lives. Many conversion and healing took place so that more and more flocked to Our Lady of Laus as the little chapel took on a new life even with priests saying Masses.
During her lifetime Benoite would also receive visitation of Christ 5 times between 1669 and 1679. One Friday in July 1673, a bloodstained Jesus said to Benoite, "My child, I am making myself appear in this state so that you might participate in the sufferings of My Passion." In this Benoite would come to suffer with the wounds of Christ, commonly known as Stigmata. She also had other saint like mystic qualities such as the gift of prophecy. She also displayed the gift of reading the state of the soul of a person and she was often surrounded in a beautiful perfume fragrance of roses. Padre Pao also had these same gifts, as did more recently mystic Maria Esperanza. The smell of Roses is not uncommon and has been associated with many apparitions such as Fatima and Medjugorje and other mystics such as St. Theresa.
It was Christmas Day 1718 when Benoite was told she would die in three days. On the morning of the Feast of the Holy Innocent, she announced she would die that evening. Today a marble tablet covers her tomb which was opened in 1788 because a workman accidentally dropped a heavy stone which witnesses say an open wound on the corpses issued fresh blood. In 1854 the coffin was again exhumed and Benoite's body was skeletal but her habit was fully intact. On September 7, 1871 Benoite Rencurel was declared venerable and the apparitions were declared supernatural on May 4, 2008.
"Our Lady of Laus" come before yet follows other well know apparitions from France such as, "Our Lady of La Salette," "Our Lady of Lourdes," "Our lady of Pontmain" and "Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal."