Estelle Faguette 1843 – 1929

Our Lady of PellevoisinEstelle Faguette 1843 – 1929 was a French visionary, who experienced visions of Our Lady of Pellevoisin.

Estelle was a patient of Bucquoy, Leon Francois Adolphe Simon, Velpeau,

At the beginning of the year 1875 in the village of Pellevoisin the department of the Indre, Estelle Faguette lay dying, at the age of 32, of pulmonary tuberculosis, of an acute peritonitis and an abdominal tumor.

On the 10th of February 1876, one of the doctors consulted, Doctor Benard of Buzancais only gave her a few hours to live.

During the night of the 14th-15th of February, she was the object, she affirmed, of an apparition of the Blessed Virgin which was to be followed during the year by the others. The following day, she again affirmed, the Blessed Virgin declared to her that she would be cured the following Saturday.

Estelle announced this to those around her and a few months later, 20 persons testified to this on their honor before a canonical commission. Effectively on the morning of the 19th of February 1876 when the parish priest of Pellevoisin, Abbe Salmon brought her Holy Communion, she declared herself cured. She rose and ate with a good appetite.

A few days later Doctor Hubert, practitioner from Buzancais who had followed her illness and who had stated that “to recover she needed a new chest,” declared that the disease had left no traces, and he wrote to Madame de la Rochefoucauld for whom Estelle worked, that “this recovery is beyond the laws of nature.”

A similar attestation was given a year later by Dr. Bucquoy, a future member of the Academy of Medicine who had treated the patient during her stays in Paris: “I continue to consider quite extraordinary Estelle’s cure, given her condition when I last saw her. I submitted this young woman to the most thorough examination and I must truthfully declare in order to find any indication of her former illness I would need to know she had been ill.”

Estelle explains in her own words: “… I had illness after illness and an accident which was the cause of my leaving. During my novitiate which commenced the 15th September, the anniversary of my baptism, I followed the Rule exactly….

“I was infected by a patient who had a gangrenous smallpox. That was my first illness. After I had a high fever and coughed a great deal. This time I was at the Lariboisière Hospital. When I had recovered I was brought to La Charité. I had already been to Saint Louis.

“In the last year of my novitiate I was brought to the Hôtel Dieu to assist at a profession ceremony. On our return to La Charité we found ourselves to be a little late for the Refectory time and since I was the reader I had to hurry and go up several floors to fetch my apron of order and to receive the blessing by the Superior.

“Descending in haste I fell down several steps and sprained my knee. I said nothing about it at the time and continued my service with the patients. However a few days later my knee swelled up and I could no longer walk. I was made to see a surgeon M. Velpeau who found that my knee was very bad and ordered leeches and absolute rest. A fortnight later my knee was put in an apparatus and all movement was forbidden.

“After a certain period my knee was taken out and the doctor declared it incurable, saying I would have to undergo an operation and perhaps even amputate the leg. It was impossible to describe what I suffered at that moment. I felt that I could not be a Sister with one leg cut off. To return to my family to be a burden, the thought pained me immensely.

“So a meeting of the Council was held in order to decide what to do with me. The Superior offered to take me back home to be cared for there, together with the medications, the doctors and all other things, with the promise that if one day I recovered, I could return. I still have the letter.

“I refused every service coming from the Community so as not to see the persons that I used to see daily at the Charity and at the Community. It was too painful for me. I abandoned myself entirely to God, and returned home the 15th of September 1863. My parents came to get me, to their great joy, but it was not the same for me. I left on a stretcher, the two of them accompanying me.

“I suffered cruelly at having left the Community. At my parents’ home I suffered greatly, lacking nearly everything and I suffered even more feeling myself to be a burden upon my family.

“I sent my youngest sister to get a Sister of St. Vincent de Paul, Sister Sophie who I had known at St. Thomas Aquinas before I entered the convent. She was at that time in the house of the Sisters of the Gros Caillou. This Sister came at once. She had me attended to by Doctor Henri a bone setter and provided me with crutches.

“The Doctor attended to me for many weeks and since I wanted to help my parents and not be a burden for them I prayed to God and the Blessed Virgin with all my soul to come to my aid. I begged the Sister to find me work. Not having a trade I wanted to go as apprentice dressmaker. Sister Sophie refused me this and said she would find me some day work.

“At that time in February 1863 the chambermaid to Mme de La Rochefoucauld, Duchess d’Estissac nee Dessoles, Mlle Louise Bonomee had asked Sister Sophie to find her someone to mend their linen. Sister Sophie offered my their work. I didn’t dare to accept, fearing that I could not do a day’s work and not knowing the job. Sister Sophie insisted that I take it saying “Go, go, the Good Lord will help you.”

“So I went and that is how I first entered the House of the Rochefaucauld, as a day worker on my crutches. I worked as hard as I could for fear of not doing enough. I was very happy. Mlle Louise was very kind and full of pity for me. The dowager duchesses, the mother used to come to see me. She was very kind also.

“One day she came and sat in front of me and asked ” How did you come to injure your knee? You were a novice with the Nursing Sisters.” So I explained to her how it all came about. That interested her. She gave me encouragement and even some kindnesses.

“One day the Duchesses stayed with me rather longer. She said “Louise, take care of this girl, go and get her something to eat.” That pleased me greatly. Nobody can imagine my joy at the end of the week. Mlle Louise payed me 2 Francs 70 for each day’s work. I was overjoyed. I remarked that I hadn’t earned it. The Good Lord was obviously helping me. She replied “but you work quite as well as all the other women that I have employed and from now on, if you agree, you will come regularly two days a week.”

“The following week Sister Sophie came to see me and told me to go and see a Madame Kovaleski. I went that same day. Sister Sophie had forbidden me to say that I could not work. This troubled me because the lady spoke to me about making her day dresses and evening dresses. (It is remarkable how ever since my childhood everybody has been so kind to me.)

“Without the help of God whom I implored from the depths of my soul, asking him to have pity on me and to answer on my behalf, I think I should have disobeyed Sister Sophie. Instead I replied, ” Madame, I will do whatever I can.”

“The following morning on arriving for work she gave me some violet colored material to make a costume for her. I was at a loss since I had never cut out a blouse. Thereupon she went out saying “I am going out, get on with it. Here is a blouse as a pattern.”

“It was the 19th of March 1864 the Feast of St. Joseph. Before going to work I had been to Mass and received Holy Communion. Left alone after the lady had gone, I was worried, turning the material over and over again without being able to make up my mind to cut the cloth.

“Then I had a good idea. I prayed to St. Joseph and in my difficulty I said to him “Great Saint Joseph, you who are a pattern for the whole world, be a pattern for my work, otherwise I will not be able to do it. I have to earn my living and that of my parents.”

“Immediately after this prayer I courageously set about cutting out the dress and tacking it together. When the lady came back to see me she was surprised at being so soon able to try on the dress. It suited her so well that it did not need altering and ever since then I have always been able to work with my hands.

“In the same building I used to work for Mme de Coïnlin. Doctor Henri lived opposite the house and these ladies kindly allowed me to take my work with me to the Doctors who attended to me but would accept nothing for her care. I used to stay there two hours daily. I quickly was able to get rid of my crutches to everyone’s great astonishment, even the Doctors….

“It was on arriving in the country at Poiriers that I fell ill. I had an acute peritonitis. The Doctor said it was caused by excessive tiredness. I was so ill that I received Extreme Unction for the second time in my life. The first time had been at the Hôtel Dieu when I had caught my infection.

“Countess Arthur de La Rochefoucauld was very good to me. She took care of me with great devotion. I owe her my life and this is how. The doctor at Poiriers Doctor Benard had given me up. Thereon Madame de la Rochefoucould asked if she could do what she wished to try to save me. She applied to me 80 leeches and than as soon as the leeches had been removed she placed me in a large bath where I lost consciousness.

“When I came to I find myself on a straw mattress surrounded by the Countess, the Sister of the sick of Pellevoisin, my mother who had been brought from Paris, and my sister Augustine. After a few hours I was fully conscious and took to my bed, and at the end of 3 weeks I was much better.

“Several weeks later the Countesse de La Rochefoucauld made the trip to Paris and took me to consult the homeopath Leon Francois Adolphe Simon.

“I started service again on my return from Paris in spite of my attacks which affected me from time to time in a chronic manner….

“The 1st of June 1875 in Paris I had such a severe attack that after having been attended to at the Countess’s house she drove me in a carriage to the rue Oudinot to the Augustinians, on Doctor Bucquoy’s advice who continued to see me there. He had stated that besides the peritonitis I had was tubercular, that I had a tumor on the left side as big as a small orange, and declared it would be impossible for me to work again, that it was only a matter of time and that I would not recover.

“The Countess after six weeks care had me brought back to Poiriers putting me in the care of the guardsman of the train. At Poiriers I was unable to take up service, I was too ill, I was coughing a great deal and losing my strength. The Countess in September 1985 had to go to the Chateau de la Tour (near St. Gualtier in the Indre) and seeing how ill I was, called in the doctor for his opinion and to know if she could leave me without fearing that I would die during her absence.

“The doctor said in front of me that there was no immediate danger but that “with an old barrel you can’t make a new one” and that I would never recover. I wept abundantly at the thought that I would die leaving my parents in poverty.

“That same evening I was quite alone and had the feeling of being abandoned by everybody because they were all tired of me and my maladies. So, during the night I recommended myself to the Blessed Virgin and formed a resolution to make a request to her which I did that same night.

“I had paper and a pencil on my bedside table and wrote the letter which is in the brochure and which Mlle Reiter herself took to the little grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes which the children had built in the park at Poiriers. This letter was found in the grotto 15 months later, the day before the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the day of my last apparition at Pellevoisin.

“When I wrote this letter I did not know if my request would be granted. It would have been unthinkable that I should one day have the happiness of seeing the Blessed Virgin.

“At that time I was completely abandoned by everyone, I no longer saw anyone. The children had been forbidden to visit me. The Countess ordered the chambermaid to get a bath ready for which she did. But after having helped me to get into it, she left, forgetting to put out the boiler which heated the bottom of the bath. The water began to boil. I was cooking and could not get out because of my weakness. I remained like that 2 hours until fortunately the poultry woman Victorine Robert who was passing heard my moans and ran to my help. Without the help of God, I would assuredly have died that night.

“I had to be wrapped up in starch powder and cotton wool, on the orders of the Countess who had been informed even though she had company for there was a reception at the chateau that evening.

“My illness got worse each day. Everyone was so tired of seeing me ill for so long that nobody bothered about me anymore. One day I remained from 4 o’clock in the morning when Victorine opened my door until 9 o’clock in the evening, without seeing a soul and without anyone bringing me any food whatever. That happened quite often.

“When the cold weather came, towards December, since my room had no heating, I implored them to put me inside the chateau hoping thereby to see more people and receive a little more care. This was granted me and I was transferred to a little room over the kitchen but I still lacked everything.

“The children passed by my door and used to come surreptitiously. This pleased me. I was happy to see them. But my illness got worse and worse. One night I had an attack so terrible Cécile Brunet (the chambermaid) heard me and came to assistance, bringing the Countess thinking I was at my last moments.

“The Countess came immediately and proposed that I should have the parish priest. It was 2 o’clock in the morning. They sent for the parish priest and at the same time my father and mother who I have brought to live in Pellevoisin. The parish priest anointed me, it was the third time, and around 18th December 1875.

“During the night I was suffering so much that the Countess said to me “Poor girl, it would be better to be dead than to suffer like that.” Those words did me good, it’s true. Since I had just received Extreme Unction I was resigned to offer my sacrifice. Up till then, I had recoiled at the thought of death. While praying I used to say “Yes my God.”

“But the thought of leaving my parents bothered me and prevented me from being completely resigned. It was therefore after having received the last Sacraments that I abandoned myself entirely to the Will of God. My sacrifice was made. I was so weak that I could no longer pray. The people around me were so convinced that I was about to die that they had asked for the linen to bury me in.

“The hour of God is not that of this world. I was not yet finished, on the contrary I rallied a little after each attack. This lasted until the end of January, the 20th 1876.

“At that time my employers had to return to Paris. The Countess came to tell me “My poor Estelle, we cannot stay here indefinitely so we have decided that we will install you in the house at Pellevoisin which is empty which we had built for M. Charbonnel the former parish priest. The air is good there and your parents will be able to live near you and your mother will take care of you”.

“My parents had been living in Pellevoisin since 1866. I had got them to come to Pellevoisin for the sake of economy because rents in Paris were 300 Francs and in Pellevoisin 100 Francs and food also was much cheaper. My father had been bed ridden for 18 months, with moving. In the country he recovered a little without nevertheless being able to work.

“It was then that I had to devote myself completely, depriving myself of everything. Several times I had bought different things with which to clothe myself and then as soon as I arrived home I regretted it and returned my purchases. I can sincerely say that nobody has helped me in any way. It happened often that I was obliged to ask for an advance on my month’s wages.

“My parents therefore came to live in the house at Pellevoisin belonging to the Count and Countess. Once they were just about installed I was carried on a straw mattress to Pellevoisin. Before leaving I was very distressed thinking that I should never again see the Count and the Countess, nor their children nor anyone.

“Before leaving the chateau, in order not to spoil another mattress, I was placed on a straw mattress on the pretext that my sickness might recur and they did not want to spoil another mattress. My complete bed had been transported to Pellevoisin.

“A few days before my departure I had wanted to eat some black currant jam. The chambermaid had refused me because, leaving soon, she did not want to open a fresh jar. Had the Countess known, she would surely have ordered it to be given me.

“On arrival at my new house at Pellevoisin, I lacked absolutely everything. Without Mlle Thersile the parish priest’s sister, we would not have had even a drop of soup. This was on the 20th of January 1876.

“I had become so depressed that I told my mother to let nobody come into the house. Mlle Thersile however, like everyone else worried herself about my condition and in the evening came to ask my mother if there was anything I would like. My mother replied that a few days before I had asked for some black current jam. She went to get me some and gave me half a teaspoonful in my mouth. I was so ill that it was impossible for me to swallow it and I had to spit it out.

“I was very touched be these little attentions, being no longer used to receiving the least care. Furthermore I was afraid of the parish priest.

“The Count and Countess left for Paris the 1st of February 1876. The Count came to see me before leaving. Everyone in the village offered to sit up with me as did the nuns. The parish priest kept the Countess informed about me every day and she, out of kindness told the parish priest to get me another doctor than my usual one if I so wished. The parish priest did this.

“It was Dr. Hubert, Dr. Benard not wanting to put himself out on the pretext that it was hopeless, that I was lost. Dr. Hubert, to clear his conscience visited me but only occasionally when he came to see Etienne the coachman who also was ill and who died a few days later. That evening Dr. Hubert gave me a physical and examined my eyes for I could no longer see and told the Mother Superior who was present that I had only a few hours to live and it was therefore useless to make me suffer. I brought up everything they tried to give me. I was as good as dead.

“That lasted until the evening of the 14th of February when Dr. Hubert had come to see me and had said I only had a few hours to live. It was that same night, at midnight that I had the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin. My father was watching over me with a local woman.

“It was midnight, the day of Tuesday, the 15th of February was commencing. It was then that the Blessed Virgin said to me “You will either die or recover.”….”

The years after the French revolution were to be decisive and also tumultuous ones for France, as the need for a Monarchy was replaced with the more acceptable Republic.

These were difficult years for the people of France as it recovered from the Prussian invasion as different reigns disappeared overnight to be replaced with a Republic and new forms of government.

And with these decisions France was to see different leaders came and go, which left the people with feelings of instability, at a time when many people were struggling with poverty and disease.

But it was during the year 1876 that once again France was given a great favour from Heaven, with a visit from our Lady to the visionary Estelle Faguette. This was at a time when many thought Estelle was going to die including herself, as she was suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis an incurable disease, and was suffering much pain….

Estelle Faguette died in 1929.

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