HomePontmain, the Marian apparition on January 17, 1871: texts, contexts, interpretations

HomePontmain, the Marian apparition on January 17, 1871: texts, contexts, interpretations

Pontmain, the Marian apparition on January 17, 1871: texts, contexts, interpretations

Pontmain, l’apparition du 17 janvier 1871 : textes, contextes, interprétations

*  *  *

Published on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

After being defeated by Prussian troops at the Battle of Le Mans, elements of the French Army retreat to the east of the department of Mayenne on January 13, 1871. Scuffles ensue in many spots, to the gate outside Laval. The advance of Prussian troops on the territory, while Paris has been under siege for four months, preoccupies the inhabitants of Mayenne.On January 17, the Virgin Mary appears to children of Pontmain, and only to them. The villagers pray and move from anguish to joy and hope.January 2021 marks the 150th anniversary of these military events and this apparition.

Announcement

General Presentation

The department of Mayenne (France) is involved in the Franco-Prussian War as early as 1870: it provides a contingent of mobilized young men. After being defeated at the Battle of Le Mans, elements of the Loire Army retreat to the east of the department on January 13, 1871. Scuffles ensue at Saint-Jean-sur-Erve on the 15th, at Saint- Melaine, at the gate outside Laval, on the 18th, then at Pré-en-Pail on the 20th and Gesvres from the 21st to the 23rd. The advance of Prussian troops on the territory, while Paris has been under siege for four months, preoccupies the inhabitants of Mayenne.

As elsewhere in the Diocese of Laval, the faithful in Pontmain, then a hamlet forming part of Saint-Ellier parish, are in the grip of doubt. On January 17, the Virgin Mary appears to children of Pontmain, and only to them. All evening long, the villagers listen to the testimony of the seers, praying and moving from anguish to joy and hope. Promptly approved by the Church, this apparition made Pontmain a place of pilgrimage; the construction of a sanctuary begins there in 1873 and the hamlet is established as a municipality in 1876.

January 2021 marks the 150th anniversary of these military events and this apparition. On this occasion, the colloquium aims to shed light on the meaning of these events by combining methodological approaches:

History

National: how does the context of the war and the invasion shed light on the events commemorated in 2021? Beyond a plain list of wars and battles, how to read the successive episodes of the Franco-Prussian War which led to the adoption of the Republic?

Local: how is daily life organized in a threatened village? How do the events unfold? What is the personality of the seers? What was the influence of Father Guérin on the village community and with civil and religious authorities?

Cultural: how do the tensions in public opinion make their appearance in France, then torn between atheism, anticlericalism and political ideologies, while at the same time a spiritual renewal, notably marked by the development of Marian worship, is evident in this end of century?

Religious: how did the religious authorities conduct the investigation to decide whether to approve the apparition or not? How to relate this apparition to the great apparitions of the century, in France and abroad? There are still many Marian apparitions today, how to situate this one in the life of the Church?

Theology

What message does Heaven, in this apparition, come to transmit to “its children”? 150 years later, what remains of Pontmain's message and how does it echo in the context of this anniversary? How does the modality of the Marian apparition, particularly in the non-verbal language (costumes, gestures, decorations) articulate with the divine message understood by the seers? How did the parish live after the apparition, and what were the consequences of this event, for the parish, for the Diocese of Laval and the whole Christendom?

Semiology

How does the Virgin Mary address the seers? Why isn't she talking? Why is she writing? What signs and symbols does she use? In which way? This apparition is presented as a living icon, which calls for hermeneutics. Its representations may also be of interest to art historians.

No discipline is excluded a priori; communications on the impact of this apparition in the world will be welcome.

Useful Information

  • Colloquium dates: January 13-14, 2021
  • Location: Laval and Pontmain (Mayenne, France)
  • Deadline for proposals: October 15, 2020
  • Contact address: archives@lamayenne.fr
  • Languages: French, English

Submission guidelines

Each proposal should include the following:

  • Name, first name, status and contact address of the author;
  • Title of the proposal;
  • A résumé with 2000 characters maximum;
  • Short statement of the credentials of the author.

So as to make it easier to write a proposal, please do not hesitate to fill in the response form attached to th Call for Papers.

Date of response by the colloquium committee: November 9, 2020

The organizers envisage a publication of the proceedings of the colloquium.

Colloquium organizers

  • The Mayenne Departmental Archives (a site of the Mayenne Departmental Council);
  • In a partnership with the departmental delegation of the National Office for Veterans and War Victims of Mayenne;
  • In an academic partnership with the Catholic University of the West, Laval branch.

Colloquium committee

  • Jean-Louis Benoît, senior lecturer at the University of South Brittany, emeritus, lecturer at the Catholic Institute of Rennes;
  • Pierre-Louis Boyer, doctor of Law, senior lecturer at Le Mans University;
  • Sylvain Chareton, doctor of Philosophy, Director of the Catholic University of the West, Laval branch;
  • Cyril Daydé, Archivist-paleographer, heritage curator, director of the Mayenne Departmental Archives.

Steering committee

  • Bruno d’Ardhuy, departmental director of the National Office for Veterans and War Victims of Mayenne;
  • Christine Mary, head of the Cultural and Educational Action Department at the Mayenne Departmental Archives.

Places

  • Archives départementales de la Mayenne - 6 place des Archives
    Laval, France (53)
  • Pontmain, France (53)

Date(s)

  • Monday, November 09, 2020

Keywords

  • guerre franco-prussienne, guerre de 1870, Pontmain, apparition, apparition mariale, culte marial

Contact(s)

  • Cyril Daydé
    courriel : archives [at] lamayenne [dot] fr
  • Christine Mary
    courriel : archives [at] lamayenne [dot] fr

Information source

  • Cyril Daydé
    courriel : archives [at] lamayenne [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Pontmain, the Marian apparition on January 17, 1871: texts, contexts, interpretations », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, September 16, 2020, https://calenda.org/801268

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search