The young Benoîte Rencurel saw Virgin Mary, one fine day of 1664... Our young shepherdess led her flock in the mountain, by a fine summer day. She was tired, so she decided to rest in a little cave where she often came to pray. She entered... and she saw a radiant lady, with a baby in her arms... Benoîte was speechless: what to do?
She didn’t know if it was a vision or a real person. She came back in her village and told about her strange meeting: "well, the next time, said her family, ask her name!" When the young girl came back to the cave few days later... the lady was here!
Benoîte asked her name. She said: “I am Mary, Jesus' mother". Finally! The answer Benoîte waited for... The Virgin appeared to her many times, until this day where she told her: “You will never see me in this place again”. Indeed, the shepherdess had no vision for an entire month! Then, as she was in a place called the Laus, Benoîte saw the Virgin.
She told her that this place was her new home, and she would only appear here, in a hidden chapel. A chapel? Yes, raised in 1640 by people from the mountains... Benoîte found it, attracted by incense smells. The Virgin asked her to raise a beautiful and big church, dedicated to her, just here on the location of the chapel. Well, meanwhile, the rumour of visions started to go round!
Soon pilgrims came in a body: miraculous recoveries happened in the little chapel... which could only welcome 15 people! They needed to rebuild a bigger one... From 1665, they started the building site. Each pilgrims gave a little sum of money, in order to help for the construction.
Benoîte drew plans and led the site. Once the church was consecrated, people started to smell delicious smells from the church. The vicar of Gap said: “Those smells were so sweet, so delicious. It's like a foretaste of heaven...”
Benoîte herself took holy orders. Her visions were authenticated by the Church: the first one in France, after Lourdes' visions! We can see in Laus the basilica with Benoîte’s tomb, her house and the chapel du Bon-Rencontre...