In the heart of Provence, nestled in a green setting, is the village of Cotignac. Built at the foot of a cliff, this typical provencal village with its small streets, its coloured walls and its red-tiled roofs, looks like one of those
provencal nativity scenes where santons become alive during Advent time. Maybe that’s why Heaven chooses Cotignac twice to appear…
On August 10th and 11th 1519, the Virgen Mary appears on Mount Verdaille to Jean de la Baume, a logger. She is holding the Child Jesus in her arms. Beside her are Saint Michael the archangel and Saint Bernard. She delivers this message to Jean : « I am the Virgin Mary. Go and tell the clergy and the Consuls of Cotignac to build me a church on this place in the name of Our Lady of Graces, and that they should come in procession to received the gifts which I wish to bestow. »
On September 14th, less than a month after apparitions, the first stone of the Sanctuary is laid. The entire community comes in procession on Mount Verdaille with clergy and officials ahead.
On November 3rd 1637, Brother Fiacre has a vision of the Virgen Mary asking him to pray 3 novenas for Her so that King Louis XIII and Queen Anne could have a son. One of the novenas is said in Our Lady of Graces in Provence.
On February 21st 1660, Louis XIV come with his mum in Cotignac to give thanks for his birth.
On June 7th 1660, Gaspard Ricard, a young sheperd, is very thirsty on Mount Bessillon. Saint Joseph appears to him and says : « I am Joseph, lift that rock and you will drink. » Gaspard obeys and a spring, which is still running today, flows out. Since August 9th, the inhabitants of Cotignac begin building a chapel on the place.
During French revolution, everything is destroyed. Only the miraculous painting, the statue of the Virgen Mary and the heart of Brother Fiacre are saved through the courage of three young ladies from Cotignac.