by C. J. Wollen
MANY holy persons have prophesied the high destiny of France, which she will attain in spite of calamities. The biographer of B. Anna Maria Taigi attributes a prophesy about the future of France to St. Remigius, who lived in the fifth cen
tury. It was he who as Bishop anointed Clovis, the first French king. He is said to have predicted that France would enjoy great power because she was destined for the defence of the Church. But every time she should fail to fulfil her vocation she would meet with terrible punishment.
The same author mentions a prophecy recorded in a book entitled Liber Mirabilis, which was printed in 1524. The prophecy is attributed to St. Cesarius, who lived in
the fifth century. He describes in detail the tribulations which the Church, the whole world, and France in particular, will suffer, and declares that she, as well as other persecuted nations, will be freed.
A number of prophecies about France were made by Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified. the Carmelite lay-sister, who died in the odour of sanctity in 1878. Some of them are related by her biographer, the Rev. D. Buzy, S.C.J.
Repeating on one occasion what she " was given to understand," she represents our Lord as saying: " Yes, I will put My delights in the bosom of France; .ihe will be, one day, the queen of all
kingdoms. But before then, she must pass through the strainer. France has to become utterly nothing before I am at the head of the army. so that all nations may say among themselves and down through the generations: Truly it is the Most High Who is at the head of France."
England's Return to The Faith
Marie Lataste, a religious of the Sacred Heart, who died in 1847, related a somewhat similar experience. According to L'Abbe Curicque, the author of a book called Prophetic Voices, published in France in 1870, our Lord told her that He would make France greater, more prosperous, and more powerful than all other nations when
ever she was faithful enough to listen to Him.
Others have prophesied the return of England to the Faith, notably the Venerable Barthelemi Holzhauser, who lived in the seventeenth century. He was the author of an interpretation of the Apocalypse, in which he predicts calamities to come upon the Church, followed by a reign of peace.
St. John Vianney, the Curd of Art, also said that he believed that in England the Church would return to its ancient splendour.
It may well fall to the lot of our own country to release France from the grip of the enemy, and so win for herself the grace of conversion. If for that a miracle is needed, there is no reason to despair. Reynaud said before the fall of France: " I believe in miracles, because I believe in France." There are MilliOnS of his countrymen who ssould, in humbler niood, declare: " I believe in miracles, because I believe in God."
B. Anna Maria's biographer is our authority for a saying of Pope Pius IX. An Eastern prelate, writing to the Bishop of Angouleme, quoted the Holy Father as having said: " The world is immersed in evil . . . a human hand is powerless to save it, the hand of God must manifest itself visibly, and, I tell you, we shall see this divine hand with our bodily eyes."
Three Days of Darkness
The same author relates that B. Anna Maria herself prophesied terrible wars and calamities, and that during them God would show His power in a miraculous way. The sign would take the form of three days' darkness during which blessed candles only would give light. Similar predictions are said to have been made by Elisabetta Canoni Mora, a married woman, who lived in the early part of the last century. Also by Palma d'Oria, the stigmatist, later in the century.
St. Hildegarde, who in the twelfth century prophesied trials of the kind through which we are now passing, said that peace would come about in an unforeseen manner. Her predictions are set out by L'Abbd Curique in his book Prophetic Voices.
St. Catherine of Siena, whose biographer, Blessed Raymond of Capua, reported her predictions of future events, also spoke of tribulations and distress to come upon the Church. But, she said, after them, " God, through a means unforeseen by men, will purify His holy Church, and renew the spirit of His elect."
It may be that the " three days' darkness " is meant to be understood figuratively and not literally. It may meats the spirit of despair and defeat. The " blessed candles " may be the prayers of the faithful, for the lighted candle has always been the symbol of the living faith of the Christian. Even the " unforeseen means " may be the united prayers of Christians.
Lourdes Not in Enemy Hands
France is the land of miracles because it is the home of Lourdes. And Lourdes has not fallen to the enemy. In our own country Our Lady is coming into her own; shrine after shrine is being established. London itself has a number of Lourdes shrines.
Those of Walsingham, Willesden, and Muswell have been restored. That of Our Lady of Hal has found a home here. There will be others-as time goes on. Our Lady will work the miracle we long for if only we continue to ask her.