|The apparition of St Joseph in Cotignac|
|Monastère Saint-Joseph - Histoire|
The rock was heavy - it would take about eight men to move it, how could Gaspard move it? But the venerable old man, according to the accounts of the day, reiterated his instruction. The shepherd obeyed and, moving the rock, found fresh water beginning to flow. Immediately he drank eagerly. When he stood up, he found the man had gone. Without waiting he went and took the news to the village and the curious began to arrive. Three hours after the event, in a place known to have no water, an abundant source was flowing.
St. Joseph brought to light in the Church and in France. : "That's it! Nothing simpler, nothing poorer than this apparition?. like the Gospel", commented Mgr. Gilles Barthe, in his pastoral letter of 14th February 1971. Water is the sign, so essential in our faith, of our regeneration and of the new life risen for us in Christ's Easter. Here is brought to light St. Joseph's role as a powerful intercessor"
"The fathers (of Our Lady of Graces) have assured me that there have been 52 processions between Easter and Pentecost, and that there were 6000 people within the octave of the latter feast. The waters of St. Joseph bring miracles. Since I returned, a man whom we know from Avignon, born lame, went to the spring and came back cured , having left his crutches there. Everyone drinks and carries away the water."
He adds that the fathers had constructed a 6 bedroom building at St. Joseph, and they are overwhelmed. They need reinforcements. The Pope Alexander VII gave his benediction to the Confraternity which soon established itself under the name of Confraternity of the Holy Family or Jesus Mary and Joseph.
All this shows the popularity achieved by the devoutness of St. Joseph. Since 1661 on his feast day the 19th March, huge crowds arrived. It was in that year that Louis XIV decreed that day to be a holiday. Soon the feast of St. Joseph was kept in all the French dioceses (which the Holy Father had been asking for the past 40 years) and especially in Provence. Churches appeared which were consecrated to St. Joseph and, in nearly all the others, an altar was dedicated to he whom the Church would in 1871 proclaim its universal protector. The St. Joseph source at the foot of the Sanctuary has never dried up, it is still visible lower down than the sanctuary on the side. Neither have the graces which it would be impossible to list say the Benedictine Sisters, who have made this their privileged abode since 1977 when they returned from Algeria. To all those who pray with faith, St. Joseph replies with a father's heart. He brings back the hearts of children to their parents, protects the unborn child, reconciles feuding brothers, and restores the will to live, say the Benedictines, who are often the confidants of graces obtained and these are often regarding material necessities: to live one must have food and a roof over ones head...
After his pilgrimage to Cotignac and the apparition of St. Joseph, Louis XIV could hardly do less than to consecrate France and himself to St. Joseph. (These good Christian dispositions hardly survived the death of his mother, Anne of Austria).