|Our Lady of Graces and the birth of Louis XIV.|
|Le sanctuaire - Histoire|
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OUR LADY OF GRACES AND THE BIRTH OF LOUIS XIV
Married very young in 1615, Louis XIII and Anne of Austria still had no children. The matter became worrying even if only from a political point of view. The Queen prayed continually for an heir. Alas, in 1630 her pregnancy was again no more successful than before. It was said that a miracle was required. The miracle happened after 22 years of marriage, by the intercession of Our Lady of Graces.Brother Fiacre receives a promise and a request from heaven. : On 27th October 1637, while he was in prayer with his brothers in the chancel, Brother Fiacre had a sudden inner revelation: The Queen should publicly ask that the people make three novenas to the Blessed Virgin, and a son would be granted to her. The first novena at Our Lady of Graces in Provence, the second at Notre Dame de Paris, the cathedral, and the third at Our Lady of Victories, the church of his monastery. In fact, brother Fiacre two years earlier, as a young novice, had received the same inspiration, but with less conviction. Nevertheless, his superiors remained sceptical and refused him permission to speak of it. Unless of course he had proof??
Six days later, on 3rd November towards 2 am, the pious brother in his cell is disturbed from his prayers by the cries of a child. He is astonished and afraid when he finds himself before the Virgin Mary who shows him the crying baby she is holding in her arms. "Don't be afraid, she said, I am the Mother of God, and the baby that you see is the Prince which God wants to give to France." The vision disappeared only to return for a short moment without further words. Two hours later, Mary re-appeared but alone. She said "Dispel any doubts my child in what you have told your confessor. To show you that I want the Queen to make three novenas to me, here is the same picture which is at Our Lady of Graces in Provence, and the appearance of the church." And Brother Fiacre saw the picture in detail as well as the choir where it was placed (as it is today).
Immediately informed, his superiors who, like him, had never been to Cotignac, consulted friends who had made the pilgrimage. The descriptions corresponded exactly. On 5th November, a witness statement was drawn up and signed by the whole Augustinian community, and sent to Cardinal Rouchefoucald as these three novenas had become a matter of State. Soon informed, the Queen began to believe in the heavenly promises transmitted through Brother Fiacre. Her husband also heard of it but the opinion of the Cardinal was the determining factor and he was taking advice. Time passed...
But goaded on by a strong urge, on 8th November 1637 brother Fiacre had already begun the three novenas in the name of the Queen. These finished on the 5th December (the Queen found out) and as it was thus discretely written in the biography of the venerable brother "precisely 9 months before the birth of the future King Louis XIV".
In the first days of February 1638, the Queen felt the child moving inside her, and felt that she must get to know the famous brother Fiacre. The humble monk was thus obliged to go to the Louvre where, embarrassed and moved, he saw the Queen kneel in front of him and thank him. This showed how profoundly Anne of Austria believed in the happy success of her pregnancy. A little later, he was summoned before the King who commanded him and a brother priest to go to Cotignac. On 7th February, the Royal command ordering them to go to Cotignac was received. The King made sure that all that was necessary for the journey was made available to them. At the end of the letter he ordered all the governors and general lieutenants to give the bearers safe and free passage and giving them every favour and assistance which may be required. Brother Fiacre would nevertheless have been ready to make the journey without this.