Miracle of the Eucharist of Faverney Burgundy
Faverney - 1608
Lift Your Hearts to the Lord!
The Following is an excerpt from "Miracles of the Eucharist Book 2 by Bob and Penny Lord."
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from Heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”1
Pentecost is called the Birthday of the Church. It is that most powerful time, when the Holy Spirit descended upon Our Lady and the Apostles, and they were filled with courage and zeal and inspiration. They were on fire! The Apostles charged out of that upper room into the streets of Jerusalem and evangelized to the Jews in the streets. We’re told that about 3,000 Jews were baptized that day.
Throughout our journey, doing research for this book, we found that many of the Miracles of the Eucharist were Gifts given to us by Our Lord Jesus, during the time of Pentecost, either at Pentecost, or near Pentecost. “It is the Spirit who gives life.”2 We will see the power of the Lord, as He battles the evil one in the Miracle of the Eucharist of Faverney, France, which took place in 1608. The area the Lord chose, to give us this Miracle, Burgundy,3 has been a battlefield between God and the devil for centuries. It has always been overrun with foreign warriors wanting to take over the province. It is the birthplace of St. Joan of Arc, who in the mid-Fifteenth century, had to flee her home in Burgundy and hide out with her parents to avoid the raids of Burgundian freebooters,4 who were renegades of that time.
After the death of St. Joan, and ultimately the Dauphin, Charles VII, Burgundy came under Spanish Rule, and was governed by the daughter of King Philip II of Spain, the Infant Isabella and her husband, Archduke Albert of Austria. This may have been the best thing to happen to Burgundy, for Queen Isabella followed the lead of Spain, fidelity to the Church, as she fought against Protestantism in France. In 1598, the Huguenots5 were allowed to freely practice their heresies, and so they were gaining strength throughout Europe, especially in France, but not in the principality of Burgundy, in which Faverney found itself.
That’s not to say that all was wonderful in Faverney. There was a Benedictine Abbey in the town which was no better than many of the Abbeys from that period, that had fallen into decay: no more community life, their life more secular than religious, an absence of poverty, the Divine Office rarely sung, all in all very lax living the Rule of the Order. As a matter of fact, there was no longer any Rule in the Order. They not only didn’t follow the Rule of St. Benedict; they probably didn’t have a clue as to what it was. They lived in idleness and were totally lukewarm. In the church, the vestments, the books and sacred vessels that still remained were worn out. Theology was ignored, as they paid little attention to the teachings of the Church. They didn’t even have a library in their monastery.
Pentecost Sunday, 1608. The Benedictine community was in charge of the little church in town, which boasted a statue of Notre Dame de la Blanche, or the White Lady. She, and the church named after her, were the only part of the Church, they maintained a live devotion to, the only thing that kept them from losing their faith altogether. The devotion to the Lady brought pilgrims here to Faverney, to petition the Lady for favors, and giving thanks for favors received. The day of the big indulgences at the Church, was the Monday and Tuesday after the Feast of Pentecost. That was also the day that the Blessed Sacrament was exposed twenty-four hours.
So you see how the Lord is working, using everything He can to bring not only His people back to the fold, but also, and maybe more importantly, His Religious. Can’t you just see the Holy Spirit, waiting to zap those Benedictines after the Miracle has come about? We really believe, this was the Lord’s plan in the first place. And the most amazing thing about it is, it worked. It always works! The Lord would not give up on this area of France, this Burgundy, and the miracle we’re about to behold is one of His ways to be sure that He holds onto it.
As the Feast of Pentecost was approaching, the sacristan of the Church, Dom Garnier, made a special repository for the Blessed Sacrament, for the time when Our Lord Jesus would be exposed to the Faithful. He did the same thing every year; but this year, he made it just a little more special. He set up a small Altar, in front of the choir rail, by placing a table on the Gospel side of the Church. He covered it with a table cloth on which he placed a Tabernacle. On the Altar, he placed a corporal with a silver Monstrance, whose base was attached to a sacred stone,6 upon it. He attached the small Altar to the choir rail, to provide strength and security. In back of the temporary Altar was a red cloth, which hung for the entire three days. In front of the table, attached to the table cloth was the Papal Bull from Pope Clement VIII, granting the indulgences, and a letter from the local bishop, Msgr. Rye, which authorized the publication of the indulgences. There was also a relic of the finger of St. Agatha.
On Saturday evening, May 24, the evening before the big day of Pentecost, the prior of the community, Dom Sarron exposed the Blessed Sacrament. Actually, he placed two Consecrated Hosts from the morning Mass into the lunette,7 because the Hosts were too small. Apparently, the priest didn’t have a large Consecrated Host, or had not consecrated a large one that morning for Adoration that evening. Whatever the case, he put the Monstrance on display with the two Consecrated Hosts in it. The services began.
At 8 p.m., Dom Garnier, the sacristan blew out the candles, leaving only the two oil lamps lit, one on either side of the Monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament, and closed the church. Nothing happened. The following day, Pentecost Sunday, there was a much larger gathering of the Faithful, to take part in the service and adore Our Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The priest, Dom Sarron, had worked all Saturday evening to prepare a proper homily for the Feast of Pentecost. Was the Lord working on him, bringing the readings of St. Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, to the forefront of his mind and spirit? Was Jesus speaking to him? Was the Holy Spirit whispering in his ear? Was Notre Dame de la Blanche trying to get his attention?
That evening, the Mass had been beautiful. Dom Garnier had felt the Holy Spirit filling him with power during the homily. He felt different! He had celebrated the Feast of Pentecost, many times, but He had never felt this way, before. But it was a good feeling! He went through the Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament, extinguished the candles, lit the oil lamps, and left the church. When he went to sleep that night, the warm feeling, he had felt when he had heard the powerful homily about the Holy Spirit and Pentecost, was still with him.
Now, no one knows why, but Dom Garnier returned to the church about three in the morning. As he approached it, he noticed something strange. There was a glow surrounding the Chapel where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed. He couldn’t make out what was going on; all he knew was, he had never seen anything quite like it before. His pace began to quicken. He was becoming anxious. When he entered the church, he gasped at what he saw. The church was full of smoke, so bad that he had to open all the doors, just to be able to breathe. The source of the smoke was the little Altar where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed. There was nothing left of the Altar but a pile of ashes.
He left the church, immediately and ran for all he was worth to the monastery, to tell the monks. Then, together, he and the monks all ran off to awaken the villagers, to draft their help in putting out the fire in the church. He returned to the church with Brother Brenier, to the center of the disaster. He got hold of a young novice, Gabriele Hudelot and told him to get tongs, so that they could look through the rubble, to find whatever may be left of the Monstrance. The smoke was so thick, they could hardly breathe, and it was too dark to see anything.
But all of a sudden, the young man, Brother Hudelot pointed into the air. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing “Miracle!” he shouted, “Miracle!” All eyes followed his arm, up into the air, above the Altar. The monstrance was suspended in mid-air, right above where the Altar had been, but now without any visible means of support. It was slightly bent forward, and the left arm of the small cross on top, seemed to touch the bars of the gate of the choir railing. It was unbelievable. They couldn’t believe what they were seeing. As the smoke began to clear, and their eyes adjusted to the scene before them, it was a paradox. Below, on the ground, were broken and twisted candlesticks. The sacred stone which had been attached to the Monstrance was shattered in three pieces. All that was left of the table was four charred legs. The Tabernacle was melted. Yet the Monstrance with the two Consecrated Hosts were perfectly intact, floating safely above the broken fragments. Another interesting, and completely unexplainable thing was that the two documents, made of paper, the Papal Bull and the letter of the bishop, were completely unharmed with the exception of the bishop’s seal which had melted somewhat, having been fused together by the extreme heat of the blazing fire. But other than that, the documents were in perfect shape, also. In addition, the relic of the finger of St. Agatha was saved.
After the initial shock wore off, the monks dropped to their knees and knelt, in adoration of their Lord and King who had visited His undeserving servants, through this true Miracle of the Eucharist. They folded their hands together, for the first time in maybe years, tears coming to their eyes, praising the Lord not only for loving them so very much, He would grant them such a powerful Gift, but for accepting them back again. They were home, like the prodigal son, and it was so good to be in the arms of the Lord and His Church. They felt as if they had been on a desert and an Oasis, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, had miraculously come to them. And they knew, they would never be the same, again, as they prayed in thanksgiving to their Faithful God for the Gift of Himself.
After they prayed for a long time, they began looking at each other first, then at the Monstrance, suspended in mid-air. What do they do now? One of the monks had a brilliant thought. Call the Capuchin monks from Vesoul, a few kilometers away. Have them come to witness the miracle which had occurred in the church. They sent one of the monks, Dom Noirot, to tell the Capuchins about the Miracle. But on his way to the Capuchins, he passed the early-morning pilgrims heading for the Church to pray for the Plenary Indulgence. He had to stop them and tell them about the miracle.
The word went out like wildfire over the entire area. Pilgrims, on the way to the church, reached out to everyone they saw on the road, and the numbers became larger and larger. That afternoon, they had the largest gathering of pilgrims, they had ever had in the church. There wasn’t enough room inside the church. They had to wait outside, and form a line to get in to venerate the Miracle of the Eucharist. The Capuchins arrived, just before the evening service, and praised Our Lord Jesus for the powerful gift He had given the people of Faverney. After the evening service, they began their own investigation.
This night, there was no blowing out of candles and closing of the church. There was no way to get the pilgrims out. Granted, they were not all believers. There were the skeptics, the heretics, the Protestants, the curiosity-seekers. But we can be sure that many of them were converted, despite the disbelief they registered when they first arrived at the church. They came to ridicule and put the hoax down; they stayed and revered the Lord, in this Miraculous Form until the early hours of the morning.
The following morning, there were many Masses scheduled. This was not really unusual, because they had been scheduled for the Plenary Indulgence attached to Notre Dame de la Blanche. But it seemed like there were an extraordinary amount of Masses to be celebrated that Monday morning. The first Mass was that of the community, followed by the Capuchins, and then those of the pilgrims. At the ten o’clock Mass, a priest from a nearby town, Menoux, was the celebrant. His name was Fr. Aubry. To give the pilgrims credit, they tried to concentrate on the main Altar, where the Mass was being offered, as opposed to the side Chapel, where the Monstrance was suspended in mid-air. It became especially difficult during the Holy, Holy. One of the candles to the right of the Monstrance went out. Dom Garnier, in his role as Sacristan, went over and relit it. It went out a second time, and then a third time.
Now, the pilgrims couldn’t take their eyes off the side Altar. But then when the Consecration of the Mass began, they refocused their attention back to the main Altar. However, at the moment of Consecration, while the Host was still elevated, an awesome vibration was felt, like that of a silver blade when it vibrates. All eyes went back over to the direction of the Monstrance, which was still tilted in mid-air. As the priest was lowering the consecrated Host, the Monstrance began to straighten out, and as the Host was placed back on the paten, the Monstrance slowly, very gently lowered Itself and rested on the table which had been brought in, to take the place of the one which had burned. The Miracle was over. The Miraculous Monstrance and Hosts had been suspended for thirty three hours, the exact age of Our Lord Jesus when He ascended into Heaven, after which the Holy Spirit came, on the first Feast of Pentecost. We might say the cycle was complete, starting with the Feast of Pentecost8 and ending with the Feast of Pentecost.9
Everyone in the church was thoroughly, visibly shaken, everybody, that is, except the priest, Fr. Aubry, from Menoux. He continued celebrating the Mass. He knew all along that Jesus was there. He didn’t need a Miracle to tell him He was there. But we’re pretty sure that after he left the Altar in a very dignified manner, and entered the sacristy, his knees began to shake, as had everyone else’s. Also, as soon as he left the Altar, a mad dash of pilgrims ran up to the table where the Monstrance, containing the Miraculous Hosts, was waiting. Looking from the outside in, one could see the King sitting on His throne, while all His subjects came up and paid Him Homage.
Do we give that reverence to Jesus in Perpetual Adoration?
We have to stop here, in the middle of this account, to ask the question above. In this miracle, our Lord, in His Eucharistic Presence, gave us a physical sign that He was truly there in the Monstrance. Thousands of people, who had witnessed this Miracle, came around the Altar, and stayed for hours, praying to Jesus in His Miraculous Eucharistic Presence, petitioning Him and thanking Him for favors received. They never left. They were on their knees, all the time they were there before Him. Who even knows if there were enough kneelers for all the people. It didn’t matter. Jesus was there, and they knew it. No kneelers, you can bet, they knelt on the hard, concrete floor; they stayed; they prayed.
Do we do that? First off, do we even show up for Eucharistic Adoration? In our little town, we have two churches that have 24 hour Eucharistic Adoration, and they are hard-pressed to get enough people for one person to cover each of the hours. We never see the great crowds that we’re talking about in this Miracle. And yet Jesus is no less present at Exposition, and Adoration, than He was when He let everybody know, in no uncertain terms, in Faverney, it was He who was among them. Where are we, and why aren’t we at the church, on our knees? We still have kneelers in most of our churches. They’re soft and cushy. And even if they don’t have kneelers, go on your knees. It’s your Lord!
What are we talking about here? We’re talking about piety; we’re talking about desire; we’re talking about giving praise and honor to our God. But it works both ways. As we give praise and honor to our God, He takes care of our needs; He answers our petitions; He blesses our families. Jesus asks you to spend one hour with Him; He asks you to adore Him in His Eucharistic Presence. But He also gives you power and strength through Eucharistic Adoration. Are you aware of the extra blessings a Parish receives when there is Eucharistic Adoration? Why do you think the enemy is constantly fighting, trying to block Eucharistic Adoration from blossoming in your Church?
How many times have you tried to get Eucharistic Adoration off the ground in your parish, only to be shot down by any one of a number of authority figures? There is no coincidence. It’s the enemy attacking your parish. This is more reason why you should spend time before the Blessed Sacrament. If you can’t get the Blessed Sacrament exposed, begin by adoring Our Lord in the Tabernacle. Keep praying for the Lord to soften the hearts of those who are blocking Eucharistic Adoration. Practice fasting. Do penance. These are tried and tested methods the Lord has given us over the centuries. They worked then; they work now.
Read about the power of Jesus in His Eucharistic Presence. Pay attention to how He blesses those who honor Him and venerate His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. Fight for all you are worth to bring this Gift of the Lord into your Parish, and once It’s there, don’t ever take It for granted. Work at making Eucharistic Adoration successful in your Parish.
Back to the Miracle
Two days after the Miracle had ended, Thursday, May 29, the official investigation was begun. Fifty four testimonies were taken. They included the eight religious of Faverney, the three Capuchins of Vesoul, the priests of Faverney and Menoux, especially the one who celebrated the Mass that day, farmers, workers and politicians, including the magistrate of the town. They could have interviewed thousands, because thousands had witnessed the Miracle at some time in the thirty-three hours. But they felt that they had a good cross-section of the people represented in the fifty four witnesses.
It took the Archbishop of the diocese less than two months to come to a conclusion that it was truly a Miraculous visit from Our Lord Jesus in His Eucharistic Presence, affirming the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Feast of Pentecost, and the importance of Eucharistic Adoration. On July 10, he gave his stamp of approval on the authenticity of the Miracle. On July 27, still less than two months from the time the Miracle occurred, the letter of the Archbishop was read at all the Masses in all the churches of the Diocese. On September 13th of that same year, the Papal Nuncio to Brussels advised Pope V of the extraordinary occurrence that came to pass in Burgundy.
The three parts of the Miracle which had the utmost importance, especially at that time, when the flames of Protestantism were being fanned all across Northern Europe, were the Eucharist, the Papal Bull, and the relic of St. Agatha. These truths, the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the authority of the Pope, and the veneration to the Saints, in the form of the relic of St. Agatha, were being denounced by the followers of Luther, Calvin and their followers. The Huguenots were the most radical of the Protestants in France. In addition, the church was in honor of Our Lady, being dedicated to Our Lady of White, and it was a Monastic church, run by a Religious Order, which was also under great attack by the Protestants.
The immediate results of the Miracle were truly Pentecost revisited. Prominent Huguenots in the town, who were very influential, could not help but convert to the Faith, after the undeniable proof of the Miracle of the Eucharist which they had seen. They couldn’t help but witness it; everyone in the town, and then some, witnessed it. One of the people, Francis Vuillard, went in and out of the church more than thirty times in the course of the thirty three hours. These men who had so vehemently attacked the Church, came back and with them, their families. Not only did they return, but in and through their fire, they brought hundreds of Huguenots back to the Church. Like with St. Paul, these former Huguenots, former enemies of the Church, became the strongest enemies of the Huguenot movement in that part of France.
The most precious parts of the Miracle were the two Hosts and the Corporal on which the Hosts had been consecrated, and on which the Monstrance had rested. The Lord decided that it was best that these gifts be shared with other areas, rather than be just for this church. When it was requested, The Corporal was freely given to a Jesuit priest, Fr. Ayrault, rector of the Jesuit college at Besancon, a distance to the south.
The Gift, requested by the church of Dole, was a different story, altogether. It would not be easy in coming. They had begged for one of the consecrated Hosts which were part of the miracle. It took some time before they could get any kind of answer from Faverney, and it was not positive. They begged even harder, exerting whatever influence they could to have the desired prize in their church. We truly believe that it was not for the glamour, or the prominence of having a Miracle of the Eucharist in their church, but that it was because they wanted to be able to venerate Our Lord Jesus in this miraculous Form. Proof was in the welcome that was given the Eucharist, by the townspeople when they finally wore down the custodians, at Faverney, and were given the gift of one of the Hosts.
On December 17, 1608, in high solemn procession, the Eucharist was placed on a luxurious litter, escorted by priests singing Psalms, musicians, Altar boys with candles lit, and a cortege from the army. That was the assemblage from Faverney. On the other side, the caravan from Dole outdid their brothers and sister of Faverney. They went about three miles outside the city to wait for the arrival, and processed with the procession from Faverney. As they arrived at the city of Dole, the city was all decorated in honor of the Miracle, and an arch of triumph was made under which the Miraculous Host was carried through the city, into the church.
The Host remained in a position of prominence in the church of Dole for almost two hundred years. The people of Dole venerated the Miraculous Host at every possible occasion. But the Protestant Revolution, which spawned the Huguenots, gave birth to the dissension which brought us the French Revolution. A few years into the French Revolution, 1794 to be exact, anti-clericals broke into the church and stole the Host, and most likely destroyed it. But they never were able to destroy the power behind the Eucharist. To this day, the miracle is venerated in Dole, in spirit, if not in Body.
In Faverney, a special chapel was created to house the Miracle of the Eucharist that had remained with them. Undoubtedly the Lord was telling His people that as long as they were willing to respect Him in His Eucharistic Form, and give thanks for the Miracle, He gave them, He would continue to protect them. Twice in the Eighteenth century, 1726 and 1753, fires broke out which could have destroyed the little town of Faverney. And twice, the Miracle of the Eucharist was credited with having stopped the fires. When the frenzy of the French Revolution invaded this peaceful, God-loving town, the first thing they wanted to obliterate was the Miracle of the Eucharist. But the Lord used a brave Christian, who took the initiative to take the Miracle and hide it from the enemy. In 1795, still during the Revolution, the Miraculous Host was brought to the Abbey church, and kept there. The Abbey church has since become the Parochial church of the town.
In 1862, the Congregation of Rites authorized the celebration of the Miracle of the Eucharist as a local Feast Day in Faverney and the diocese. In 1912, the little abbey church was raised to the level of a Basilica. There is still a shrine to the Miracle of the Eucharist there. The Host has decomposed, at which time we believe the Real Presence of Jesus is no longer in the substance. But that has not stopped the veneration to the Miracle of the Eucharist. Eucharistic Adoration is still a major part of the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Blanche, our White Lady, in thanksgiving and remembrance of the Miracle that was given to the people at Faverney. The Chapel is still there, and a symbol of the Miraculous Host is venerated there.
We’d like to end our account of the Miracle of the Eucharist of Faverney, France, with an excerpt from the Pastoral Letter issued by Bishop Rye on July 10, 1608, when the Miracle of the Eucharist had first been approved:
“We exhort each to bless and praise God in all His works, particularly in this one so miraculous; to strengthen their own faith and reverence towards this Most Holy Sacrament; to become worthy of the graces and of the favors that are ordinarily communicated to those who frequent this Sacrament with proper preparation. We recommend, moreover, to all the prelates, shepherds of souls, and other ecclesiastical figures, as well as the laity, to be very vigilant in that which concerns the worship and piety towards the Blessed Sacrament.”
We believe, our Bishop was pleading with the people not to get caught up with so much of the modern day world, that it fogs our minds when it comes to recognizing Jesus in the Eucharist, and adoring Him. These words were written over three hundred years ago. They might just as well have been written yesterday, or for today’s homily. The people of that time listened, and cooperated with the Lord in keeping the gift/weapon of the Eucharist alive in their day, so that the Eucharist would be a strong weapon for us today. Our job is to keep that light of the Holy Spirit, that gift of God, alive and bright for the people of the Twenty Third century.
We can do it. Just keep your eyes on the Lord! He will be there on the Altar, at the moment of Consecration during the Mass. He is always there in the Tabernacle. He is waiting for you, in the Monstrance when He is exposed for Eucharistic Adoration. Did you ever desire to have been with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when He sweat Blood and Tears over the sins of the world, to comfort Him when His trusted Apostles could not stay awake with Him? Do you have an hour to spare, now? Jesus still sees the sins of the world and He still cries. Do you have an hour to spare?
This article is an excerpt from "Miracles of the Eucharist Book 2 by Bob and Penny Lord."
1Acts 2:1-4 Ignatius Revised Standard Version-Catholic edition
2John 6:63 Ignatius Revised Standard Version-Catholic edition
3now a part of France, but not at that time. At the time of the Miracle, it was its own country.
6this is from the early days when they had a sacred stone Altar they could easily transport from place to place, because the church, being underground, had to be prepared to move on, in case of discovery - covered in our chapters on the Mass.
7Small, crescent-shaped clip or circlet, which holds the Consecrated Host. It is slid into the monstrance along a groove or track to hold the Blessed Sacrament for exposition.
4plunderers, pirates, buccaneers - Webster’s New World Dictionary
8 The Holy Spirit came the first Pentecost, and empowered the Apostles, converting them, changing their cowardice into courage to the point of martyrdom.
9The Miracle occurred on the Feast of Pentecost, and changed the stony hearts of the apathetic, lukewarm, irreligious monks to adoring hearts that belonged to their Lord.