OUR LADY OF THE CAPE- NOTRE DAME DU CAP" THE PRODIGY OF THE EYES 1888

What we call the "Prodigy of the Eyes" represent the second "founding event" of the Our Lady of the Cape Shrine. The first one was the Ice Bridge.
The Old Parish Church becomes a Shrine dedicated to Mary
Deep Marian Devotion existed in Cap-de-la-Madeleine since 1694 with the institution of the Brotherhood of the Rosary under Father Paul Vachon. In 1720, Father Vachon built a small fieldstone church to replace an earlier wooden structure. Father Vachon died in 1729, and was buried in the church. Without a resident pastor, the parish fell into decline. It was not until 1845 that the Bishop appointed Fr. Leandre Tourigny to be the settlement’s resident priest.
In 1867, devotion to Mary was revived under Father Luc Desilets. After he had seen a pig holding a rosary in its mouth Fr. Desilets decided to consecrate himself to the Blessed Virgin and re-introduce the rosary devotion to his parishioners
During Fr. Desilets' revival of Marian devotion the number of people attending the parish church began to increase until the church was no longer large enough to hold the parishioners. In 1878 it was decided that a larger church was needed and that it would be built with stones from the opposite side of the St. Lawrence River which is approximately 1 1/4 miles across at Cap-de-la-Madeleine. The decision was made to bring the stones across the river on sleds once it had frozen in the winter. Unfortunately the 1878-1879 winter was unusually mild and the St. Lawrence did not freeze over as planned. This seemed to hinder plans for construction of the new church. Fr. Desilets instructed his congregation to pray the rosary in order to obtain ice to cross the river, he also promised Mary that if she interceded he would dedicate the Old Church (then dedicated to Mary Magdalene) to her instead. In March 1879 pieces of ice floated downstream from Lake St-Pierre, forming a "bridge" across the St. Lawrence River, and this miracle was attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Mother. This bridge was called the Rosary Bridge due to its connection with the prayer of the same name. For several days the parishioners poured water on the ice pieces in order to thicken the ice and form a path, which they then used to transport the stones across the river. Fr. Desilets upheld his promise and renamed the old church.
Now that the new temple has been completed, the small church is no longer in use. The Pastor, Mr. Désilets, wants to fulfill his promise and dedicate it to Our Lady. The ceremony will take place on June 22, 1888. This is a date to remember: it marks the beginning of Notre-Dame-du-Cap Shrine.
Father Frederic, a Fransciscan, former vicar-custodial of the Holy Land took part in the celebration and gave the homily. His words were “prophetic”. In years to come, this will be the Mary’s Shrine. Pilgrims will come from all families of this parish, from all parishes of this Diocese as well as from all Dioceses of Canada”. So far, Our Lady’s statue had been placed on a side altar in the small church. After mass this June 22, it was moved to the top of the high altar where it remains to this day. The old parish church of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine was officially named Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Shrine. This is the title given to the Virgin Mary at Cap-de-la-Madeleine.
On that same day, June 22, 1888 around 7 o’clock in the evening three men went to pray in the church now dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary. They were Mr. Désilets, Father Frédéric and a handicapped person named Pierre Lacroix.
As they were praying at the communion rail, something extraordinary happened. This is the way Father Frédéric described the event: “The statue of the Blessed Virgin whose eyes are usually looking downward were at that moment wide open: her look was lifelike; she was looking directly in front of her. It was difficult to imagine: the sun was coming in through a window and was shining on her face as well as in the whole church. Her eyes appeared to be black, well formed and in perfect harmony with the rest of her face. Her look was that of a living person; it was partly severe mixed with sadness. This prodigy lasted approximately five to ten minutes”. while the two priests moved about the church to view the statue from different perspective to test whether this was an optical illusion.
When word circulated of this unusual occurrence, this incidents of pilgrimages increased. Beginning in 1892, there were reports of cures.
In 1904, Pope Pius X authorized a canonical coronation for the statue, which was carried out by Bishop François-Xavier Cloutier. The "shamrock-girdled crown" was provided by the Irish community of Montreal.[2] The image received a second coronation in August 1954 by Cardinal Valerio Valeri, representing Pope Pius XII. Pope John Paul II stopped there in 1984, during a visit to Quebec. This inaugurated a tradition of annual pilgrimages for young people, known as Cap-Jeunesse.
READ MORE:Our Lady of the 
OUR LADY OF THE CAPE- NOTRE DAME DU CAP" THE PRODIGY OF THE EYES 1888 OUR LADY OF THE CAPE- NOTRE DAME DU CAP" THE PRODIGY OF THE EYES 1888 Reviewed by Francisco Nascimento on 14:23 Rating: 5

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