About L'lle Bouchard:
One of the lesser-known apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the 20th Century took place in this tiny French village just after World War II. It was a tumultuous time in France: the allies had defeated Germany, and France was once again free, but there was much turmoil in the country and the Communists had a large following. It was feared by many that they might eventually take over.
Against this backdrop, on December 8, 1947, at about one o'clock in the afternoon on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Jacqueline Aubry, aged 12, her sister Jeanette, aged 7, and their cousin, Nicole Robin, aged 10, stopped at the church of Saint Gilles to pray.
While praying the rosary at the altar, Jacqueline suddenly saw a beautiful Lady before her, all in white, with hands joined in prayer and a rosary over her right arm. To the left was an angel holding a lily, eyes fixed in contemplation of the Lady.
They ran out to tell others, first running into two schoolmates who came back into the Church with them. The youngest, 8 year old Laura Croizon, was able to see the apparition but her older sister, 13-year old Sergine, was not able to see anything.
Laura cried out that she could see a beautiful lady and an angel but Sergine, though, saw nothing, and the others had to describe the scene for her.
At first they were not believed either by their parents of the pastor of the Church. In the case of Jacqueline, she had very poor vision due to conjuctivitis and wore thick glasses, so they assumed that she was just seeing double. However, this led to a miraculous event. The girls requested some sort of sign and miraculously Jacqueline retained her vision and could see with no problems whatsoever.
The site was declared an official pilgrimage site of the diocese of Tours on 8 December 2001 by the archbishop Monseigneur André Vingt-Trois. Since 1999, priests and lay persons from Emmanuel Community have been in charge of the pilgrims.
The apparitions themselves, however, still await approval although that process has begun to move forward after being held up for about 20 years.
There is train service from Tours as far as Chinon (about 10 miles west) as well as Noyant/Sainte Maure de Touraine (about 10 miles east) . From there you can take a taxi to the Shrine, there is no bus service.
Address: 58 Rue de la Liberté 37220 L'Île-Bouchard
GPS coordinates: 47° 7' 25.8168'' N, 0° 25' 37.3836'' E
Tel: +33 0247-5851-03
Photos courtesy Father Xavier MALLE, curé-doyen
Sanctuaire Notre-Dame de la Prière