The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 172.

Ten further visions of our Lady were subsequently granted to Estelle. The first of them took place on the evening of July I, and the last, after High Mass, on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. At this last Apparition fifteen persons were present, including the Countess de la Rochefoucauld, who has founded a Dominican Convent at Pellevoisin, in the hope that liturgical worship might never cease on the spot where God had manifested His goodness to her servant Estelle. With regard to these last visions, space only permits me to say that they concern mainly a Revelation, that Estelle believes to have had made to her, of a Scapular of the Sacred Heart, which was shown her by the Blessed Virgin, with the desire that it should be propagated amongst the Faithful. This scapular consists of two squares of white flannel; one dis plays a representation of the Sacred Heart of our Lord, together with certain insignia of the Passion, the other showing our Lady according to Estelle's visions.
In the year 1900 the Bishop of Orleans and the Duchesse d'Estissac brought Estelle to Rome, and introduced her to the presence of Leo XIII. The Pontiff desired to be left alone with his humble visitor, whom he addressed as " Figlia Stella." Estelle afterwards related that the Pope said to her: " Now tell me about France." " Holy Father," she replied, " the Blessed Virgin said that France would have to suffer." " Yes," answered the Pontiff, " France will have to suffer." As a result of this interview the Scapular of the Sacred Heart was approved by the Holy See. Since then it has been widely distributed, as it is believed to the advantage of souls who are thus drawn to the constant remembrance and a deeper love of the Sacred Heart of our Lord, and of His Holy Mother.

Five times during the last century the Blessed Virgin seems to have spoken solemnly to France. In all these heavenly communications there appears what we may perhaps call a family likeness. Three times she spoke to innocent children, once to a Sister of Charity unlettered and simple, once to a lady's maid. In each case there is the same deliberate choice of the weak things of this world to confound the strong, in each case we are reminded of the words spoken by the Mother of God in the house of Elisabeth : " He hath put down the mighty from their seat, He hath exalted the humble and the meek," and of the words of her Divine Son, " I give Thee thanks, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, that Thou hast hidden these things from the great ones of this world and hast revealed them to babes and sucklings; for so it has seemed good in Thy sight." " From the mouths of babes and sucklings the Lord hath made His promises perfect over His enemies."

We have to make our choice—I reiterate it once again—it is not that we are in any way bound to accept this or that reported incident, or any word that our Lady is alleged to have spoken. But we are bound to choose in whose ranks we would stand. On the one side are ranged those who scoff at the miraculous, the supernatural, the idea that God punishes sin even in this life, the belief that suffering may be expiatory; on the other, those who still believe in the Catholic Faith and in the possibility of Heaven communicating directly with the earth. For Catholics everything is harmonious in their religion, the same great lessons of Faith inspiring them ever with confidence in the aid that comes from heaven—for more are they that are with us than they that are against us.

We may, then, take comfort for ourselves and for France. France indeed has suffered in these last Our Lady days more than any of her children can and France, have imagined possible. But she will yet rise from her bed of suffering, purified and rejoicing in the strength of a resurrection that shall multiply a thousandfold her old-time glories. It can hardly be without significance that these apparitions of the nineteenth century were granted, not to Catholic Spain, nor to martyred Poland, nor even to Italy so devoted to the Madonna, nor to any other land—but only to France. Our Lady has thus testified that France, still the eldest daughter of the Church, is specially dear to her maternal heart. And for us all, who believe, one lesson at least can never be forgotten. The God of our fathers sleepeth not, but watcheth still over His people. God is wonderful in His Mother, and in His Saints.