The prodigy of the eyes
What we call the "Prodigy of the Eyes" represent the second "founding event" of the Our Lady of the Cape Shrine. The first one was the Ice Bridge.
The Old Parish Church becomes a Shrine dedicated to Mary
Now that the new temple has been completed, the small church is no longer in use. The Pastor, Mr. Désilets, wants to fulfill his promise and dedicate it to Our Lady. The ceremony will take place on June 22, 1888. This is a date to remember: it marks the beginning of Notre-Dame-du-Cap Shrine.
Father Frederic, a Fransciscan, former vicar-custodial of the Holy Land took part in the celebration and gave the homily. His words were “prophetic”. In years to come, this will be the Mary’s Shrine. Pilgrims will come from all families of this parish, from all parishes of this Diocese as well as from all Dioceses of Canada”. So far, Our Lady’s statue had been placed on a side altar in the small church. After mass this June 22, it was moved to the top of the high altar where it remains to this day. The old parish church of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine was officially named Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Shrine. This is the title given to the Virgin Mary at Cap-de-la-Madeleine.
On that same day, June 22, 1888 around 7 o’clock in the evening three men went to pray in the church now dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary. They were Mr. Désilets, Father Frédéric and a handicapped person named Pierre Lacroix.
As they were praying at the communion rail, something extraordinary happened. This is the way Father Frédéric described the event: “The statue of the Blessed Virgin whose eyes are usually looking downward were at that moment wide open: her look was lifelike; she was looking directly in front of her. It was difficult to imagine: the sun was coming in through a window and was shining on her face as well as in the whole church. Her eyes appeared to be black, well formed and in perfect harmony with the rest of her face. Her look was that of a living person; it was partly severe mixed with sadness. This prodigy lasted approximately five to ten minutes”.
“ The statue of the Virgin Mary, which eyes were always dimmed completely, had eyes largely open.”