The Miracle Hunter  
   
HOME APPARITIONS VISIONARIES MESSAGES DISCERNMENT CALENDAR DISCLAIMER CONTACT
 
   
 

Rome, Italy (1842)

   
History

Traditionally Approved

40 - 999 1400 - 1499
1000 - 1099 1500 - 1599
1100 - 1199 1600 - 1699
1200 - 1299 1700 - 1799
1300 - 1399 1800 - 1899

Vatican Approved
Bishop Approved
Coptic Approved
Approved for Faith Expression
Apparitions to Saints
Unapproved Apparitions

Our Lady of the Miracle / Our Lady of Zion

       
  Our Lady of Guadalupe  

Summary

Marie Alphonse Ratisbonne, an anti-Catholic Jew, befriended a baron in Rome and began wearing the Miraculous Medal as a simple test . On Jan 20, 1842 while waiting for the baron in the church Sant Andrea delle Fratte, Ratisbonne encountered a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He converted to Catholicism, joined the priesthood, and began a ministry for the conversion of Jews.

       

Timeline

May 1, 1814

Marie Alphonse Ratisbonne is born at Strasburg France. He was the son and heir of a wealthy, aristocratic family of Jewish bankers.

 

When Alphonse Ratisbonne was still a child his older brother, Theodor, converted to the Catholic faith and became a priest. The family reacted negatively and Alphonse resolved never to speak again with him, and developed a hatred of Catholic faith.

1842

At age 28, he becomes engaged to his own niece, Flore Ratisbonne, whom he plans to marry the following August. He decides to tour Europe and the East, partly for his health and partly for pleasure as he had planned to assume a partnership at his uncle's bank. Ratisbonne decided to go to Naples, to spend the winter in Malta, to strengthen his delicate health.

Jan 5th, 1842

Due to a travel mistake, he ended up up takingthe wrong road and then booked his passage on the steamer to Rome. He left Naples on the 5th and arrived in Rome on the 6th, the feast of the Three Kings and began to tour the city.

Jan 8, 1842

Ratisbonne encountered on the street his old Preotestant classmate from Strasburg, Gustavo de Bussières. In the process of rekindling their friendship, Alphonse meets Gustave's older brother, the Baron Theodore de Bussières, a convert to Catholicism and a close friend of
Alphonse's priest-brother. Alphonse feels instinctive abhorrence toward this zealous Catholic convert, but he knows the baron is an expert on Constantinople, which Alphonse plans to visit, so he agrees to call upon him for travel advice. De Bussières saw it as his mission to convert to Catholicism any unbeliever who crossed his path. He and Ratisbonne became friends, but not without difficulty.

 

The baron makes a proposition to Alphonse that he take a simple test: wear the Miraculous Medal and say every morning the Memorare, a prayer St. Bernard composed to the Virgin Mary.

So he consents, mocks the Faith, and quotes a line from The Tales of Hoffman: "If it does me no good, at least it will dome no harm." The baron's little daughter puts the miraculous medal around Alphonse's neck.

 

The Baron's relentless proselytism continues repelling him further from the Catholic faith. He recruits members of Rome's tight-knit community of aristocratic French expatriates to pray for him. Notable among these
friends is the Count Laferronays, ex-diplomat, once a notorious roue' and now a devout, fervent Catholic. Moved by the baron's pleas, the Comte drops into a church and fervently prays "more than 20 Memorares" for the conversion of the "young Jew." That very same evening, the Count suffers a fatal heart attack. After receiving his final Sacraments, he dies devoutly, surrounded by his loving family.

Jan 20, 1842

When the Baron was arranging the funeral of his friend Count Laferronays in the basilica of St. Andrea delle Fratte in Rome he asked Ratisbonne to wait for him in the church. When the Baron came back to the church he found Ratisbonne on his knees in prayer. This sight moved him to tears.

In Ratisbonne's own words: "I was scarcely in the church when a total confusion came over me. When I looked up, it seemed to me that the entire church had been swallowed up in shadow, except one chapel. It was as though all the light was concentrated in that single place. I looked over towards this chapel whence so much light shone, and above the altar was a living figure, tall, majestic, beautiful and full of mercy. It was the most holy Virgin Mary, resembling her figure on the Miraculous Medal. At this sight I fell on my knees right where I stood. Unable to look up because of the blinding light, I fixed my glance on her hands, and in them I could read the expression of mercy and pardon. In the presence of the Most Blessed Virgin, even though she did not speak a word to me, I understood the frightful situation I was in, my sins and the beauty of the Catholic Faith."


The baron helps Ratisbonne outside and into his carriage. He takes him to the Hotel Serny, where Alphonse is staying, and loosens his cravat so he can breathe. But Alphonse is still sobbing, clasping his Miraculous Medal, murmuring thanks to God. At last he turns to the baron, embraces him says: "Take me to a confessor! When can I receive baptism, without which I can no longer live?"

"What has happened?" exclaims the baron. "What have you seen?"

"That," says Alphonse, "I can reveal only on my knees and to a priest."

 

The baron takes him to the Gesu, the Jesuit mother-church, to see Father Villefort. There, Alphonse tries to explain himself, but he is still sobbing so hard that he is unintelligible. At last he calms down, takes the Miraculous Medal from his neck, holds it up, and cries: "I saw Her! I saw Her!" Alphonse Ratisbonne confessed and, for fear of ridicule, entered the convent of the Jesuits to make a retreat under the guidance of Father Villefort.

Jan 31, 1842

He received from the hands of His Eminence Cardinal Patrizi, the Vicar of His Holiness, baptism, confirmation andhis first Holy Communion.

Feb 1842

The following month, the Vatican holds a canonical process to investigate the circumstances surrounding Alphonse's conversion. After lengthy investigation and many depositions, it concludes that his sudden conversion was entirely miraculous; an act of God wrought through the powerful intercession of the Virgin.

May 1842

Only a few months after the apparition, a painting of the Madonna of the
Miracle was placed for veneration in exactly the same spot and in the same form as She appeared. The canvas was painted by the artist Natale Carta, who according to tradition, followed the directives of Ratisbonne himself.

June 3, 1842

In the same year, after a formal inquiry about the apparition of January 20, the Vicar General of Pope Gregory XVI, Cardinal Patrizi, declared that it was a divine miracle operated through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and permitted the publication and spread of texts recording the miracle.

1843

After his conversion he reconciled with his brother and assisted him in founding the Sisterhood of Our Lady of Sion.

1847

He was ordained priest and entered the Society of Jesus.

1855

Wanting to devote himself entirely to the conversion of the Jews, he left the society with the consent of Pope Pius IX, transplanted the Sisters of Sion to Jerusalem in 1855, and built for them in 1856 the large Convent of Ecce Homo with a school and an orphanage for girls.

1860

He erected the Convent of St. John on the mountain at Ain Karim, together with a church and another orphanage for girls. Here
Alphonse laboured with a few companions (Pères de Sion) for the conversion of Jews and Muslims until his death.

May 6, 1884

Death of Marie Alphonse Ratisbonne

Jan 17, 1892

Due to the large number of miracles attributed to Mary in the Shrine that Pope Leo XIII Alphonse Ratisbonne coronated the venerated icon with a diadem.

April 25, 1942

Pope Pius XII elevated the title of the church to the rank of a basilica.

March 12,1960

Pope John XXIII elevated the basilica of Sant Andrea delle Fratte to the title of a cardinal's church.

Feb 28, 1982

The visit of Pope John Paul II to the basilica of Sant Andrea delle Fratte.

Description of the Virgin

In Ratisbonne's own words: "I was scarcely in the church when a total confusion came over me. When I looked up, it seemed to me that the entire church had been swallowed up in shadow, except one chapel. It was as though all the light was concentrated in that single place. I looked over towards this chapel whence so much light shone, and above the altar was a living figure, tall, majestic, beautiful and full of mercy. It was the most holy Virgin Mary, resembling her figure on the Miraculous Medal. At this sight I fell on my knees right where I stood. Unable to look up because of the blinding light, I fixed my glance on her hands, and in them I could read the expression of mercy and pardon. In the presence of the Most Blessed Virgin, even though she did not speak a word to me, I understood the frightful situation I was in, my sins and the beauty of the Catholic Faith."


Messages

There were no messages given to Marie Alphonse Ratisbonne.

Approval

In Feb 1842 the Vatican held a canonical investigation of the circumstances surrounding Alphonse's conversion. After lengthyinquiry and many depositions, it concludes that his sudden conversion was entirely miraculous; an act of God wrought through the powerful intercession of the Virgin. In May 1842, only a few months after the apparition, a painting of the Madonna of the Miracle was placed for veneration in exactly the same spot and in the same form as She appeared. The canvas was painted by the artist Natale Carta, who according to tradition, followed the directives of Ratisbonne himself. In the same year, after a formal inquest about the apparition of January 20, the Vicar General of Pope Gregory XVI, Cardinal Patrizi, declared on June 3, 1842, that it was a divine miracle operated through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and permitted the publication and spread of texts recording the miracle.


Books

Bussierre, Marie Théodore Renouard. An account of the recent conversion, at Rome of Alphonso Ratisbonne: A Jew of Strasburg. C. Dolman, [etc.,] (1842)

Bussierre, Marie Théodore Renouard.The conversion of M. Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne. Burns and Lambert (1855)

Laurentin, René. Alphonse Ratisbonne, vie authentique. O.E.I.L (1986) (French)

Ratisbonne, Marie Alphons. La conversion de M. Ratisbonne: Relation écrite par lui-même et suivie de notes. Typographie de J. Casterman (1849) (French)

Fathers Theodore and Marie Alphonse (translated from the French by L. M. Leggat.) A NINETEENTH CENTURY MIRACLE: The Brothers Ratisbonne and the Congregation of Notre Dame De Sion. BURNS OATES & WASHBOURNE LTD. (1922)



Links

Basilica of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte

 
   
facebooktwitterrssyoutube Contact The Miracle Hunter
APPARITIONS VISIONARIES

MESSAGES

DISCERNMENT

DISCLAIMER CONTACT
© Copyright 2012, MiracleHunter.com
All rights reserved
Privacy Policy > Legal >

MiracleHunter.com is the best resource for Marian Apparitions on the web. The site includes approval lists, visionary biographies, detailed apparition summaries, messages, official Church statements and a photo gallery.