Miracle at Mont Saint Michel

I first went to Mont Saint Michel in 1980, aged only 14, and returning thirty years later felt strange. I returned as a part of an assignment for work. I took a group of 21 mixed aged English school kids and their two teachers for a five day trip round France. On Sunday the 30th of May, the feast day of Joan of Arc and also Mother’s Day in France, we arrived as the monks were ringing the bells for morning prayer. Drawn by a need to sit and find some inner peace, I chose a bench halfway down the abbey church and was surprised to find a couple of the older girls joined me. Incense began to fill the air, and music played. I shivered, that goosebumps moment when you feel God is very, very close, and you feel that if you look up at the right moment, you will see Him. Tears began to fill my eyes and I felt alarmed. I couldn’t have an emotional meltdown here. I was in charge. The kids would think I was an idiot. I bit down hard on my need to cry and let myself detach from my emotions a little. To capture the moment, I held the camera above my head and snapped a few photos, so I could maybe later recall and give way to my feelings.

Plainchant in French made the hairs on my body stand on end and the readings, caught in snatches because of my poor French were like Sybil’s leaves blown on the wind….

“Before the hills were made, I knew you. I knew you in your mother’s womb.”

I can’t recall what book from the Bible they were from.  

I went on, determined to be strong. I toured the rest of the abbey and bought the obligatory fridge magnet. A little later, I discovered I had lost my purse, containing all my Euros. I nearly panicked. I ran back up to the abbey shop and asked there. Nothing. I left my name and address and was told to report it to the tourist office, which I did once I found them open again after lunch. I stayed in French, which I am proud of and I stayed calm. It was only money after all.

As I sat I remembered all the times I have had small miracles, where unexpected money has come my way just when I needed it. I can’t help hoping that my 50 or 60 euros went to someone who really needed it, and as I sat there thinking that, I thought, may they have joy of it.

The rest of the trip went well, but on the channel ferry yesterday, we were looking at photos. I’d snapped away and never actually looked at any of my own. The photo below was greeted with astonishment and awe:

I  am myself astonished and greatly moved. The window behind has no pattern in it; there isn’t a figure in it, as far as I saw. You will have to take my word that this photo is unaltered; anyone who knows me also knows stuff like photo shop is beyond me. I saw nothing when I took the photo.

I know who I think the figure is.

Who do you think it is?

Everyone agreed that it’s a sign, but a sign of what?

Truth is that today I feel that the world has become far more complex than it was before. I’m the sort of person things happen to, but they are usually not good things. I’ve never had anything like this happen before. I’ve been given something extraordinary and I simply do not know what I must do with it.

This has happened for a reason, just as I lost my purse for a reason.

I pray that the reason becomes evident soon.

48 thoughts on “Miracle at Mont Saint Michel

  1. Beautiful story. Gives my goosebumps, as well. I think the sharing the photo and and story with your beautiful words is a good thing to do with it. Thank you!


  2. When you described the photo to me on the phone last night I had no idea what to expect really. When I saw the email, it gave me goosebumps like Roka.
    I have no idea what to do with it either but I do feel that change is on the way.


  3. Seems as if you have been touched by the mystical . . .

    Try to be open to signs that might be guiding you further.

    And God bless you.

    With loving kindness,

    michael j


  4. What an amazing picture Viv! I don’t quite know what to say about it… which I guess is normal when you see something you can’t explain. I do know that somehow these types of images, orbs etc. are more likely to show up when shooting digitally rather than on film. (Same goes for recording)
    So sorry about your purse. I lost my ipod a week or so ago, and it’s hard to accept the loss.
    You’re so wise to wish the person who found it well. That’s hard to do, but a healthier way to cope I think.
    Thanks for sharing!


  5. Viv,

    I cannot help but think of those original tellers of the Gospel (and their personal encounters with the risen Christ) as I reflect on your story.

    It strikes me that you are doing what they did, doing the only thing possible (for you) to do — daring to tell the good news.

    And don’t you know those original storytellers died with their stories still fresh on their lips from the telling?

    Thanks for sharing.



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  7. It looks like a female, motherly figure to me. Gentle and protective but powerful. I’m sure you will know what kind of sign it is meant to be.
    As you lost your purse in a holy place, I believe your money went to someone who really needed it badly. I also believe when things like that happen, it is for a good reason. You will be given something you need badly, in other words. I realize this may sound like stupid superstition, but every time I lose something, I get something in return.
    This is a powerful enough experience to inspire a good story, isn’t it?


    • Well it was fete aux meres, or fete aux maman; Mother’s day. And the feast day of Joan of Arc, a personal favourite saint.
      I don’t think it’s superstitious at all, I have experienced the same thing myself.


  8. The Light of the World comes to those in need of it. Through a window without pattern comes a pattern made of incense and light. What matters is only the message we read in that moment.

    You wrote of the moments just before taking this extraordinary picture: “I shivered, that goosebumps moment when you feel God is very, very close, and you feel that if you look up at the right moment, you will see Him,” and so you did, though later on when studying the photos. Teilhard de Chardin spoke of matter being surcharged with Christ and that the whole of Creation moves inexorably in the direction of becoming ever more full. It moves toward an hypothetical omega point, an ultimate fulfillment of purpose in G-d. So, the air, the rising smoke, the particles of Light combine in a purposive visage that demonstrates our connection to Him across all space and time.

    Your time in the Church and the moment of enchanted luminosity strikes me as Christ embracing you, an encouragement requiring no words, a reminder that while we may be often be fooled by seemingly chance events ( like losing a purse, or our way) we are running a patterned course ( albeit complex from where we sit) that is most simply captured by a single word that transcends all our reason and supposed knowledge: Love!

    What a great Blessing Viv.


  9. Gosh, Viv – as I was reading the account, I was busting out in goosebumps. I’ve learned, over the years, to pay attention to those goosebumps as they are what tells me that something is true.

    I can’t help thinking that this is your proof. I received my proof in a gobsmacking and awe inspiring way and I feel you were, as you say, in the right place at the right time to receive the proof and understand it. Also, it seems right to me that you have something tangible with which to show others that what happened wasn’t just a story – it really happened. Oh, and yes, it REALLY happened. *smile*


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  11. A great photo, Viv. As for what it means, that is something for the unconscious to wrestle with. At some point the symbolism will be expressed in your outer life’s journey.


    • Wrestling away. I hope you are right about the symbolism being expressed externall at some point because I feel there is something missing and it might be this.


  12. Viv:

    You have been shown the face of God, but only because you were ready to see it. I know that this means so many beautiful things to come your way. what a beautiful set of moments; and your embracing of gratitude with the loss of your purse inspires me. You are a true beautiful soul.


  13. Viv, I couldn’t begin to offer an explanation for your photo. It’s definitely *something*, but then you know that already, don’t you?

    The whole experience sounds mystical, not just the apparition in the photo. As a believer, but not necessarily in the same way most Christians believe, I’m inclined to think it is a physical manifestation of an aspect of God that you (and maybe many others) can relate to.

    I would accept it as a gift in that light and move forward with life knowing you are never truly alone at any point on your path.


  14. Beautiful story Viv that is beautifully written. I enjoy reading your writing which is chalked full of wit, insight, honesty, heart and humor! My kind of people!

    Very interesting picture! When the heart is open, miracles happen. This picture is definitely a keeper!! As for trying to figure out what it means? Well, it’s moments like these that I like to remind myself of my own quote, “The heart laughs at what the mind thinks it knows.” Sometimes all one can do is join in on the laughing and accept the joy of the moment.

    Oh, and ya…while we’re laughing, let’s not forget to put on our seatbelts and enjoy the ride!….LOL ☼


    • Wild rides? Me? I screamed on the Pirates of the Carribean ride at Disneyland Paris!!
      You’re right though; miracles happen when the heart is open to them.
      thanks again.


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  16. Hi Viv – I love your writing. The photo really touched me too & made me a bit teary…

    The verse you mention may be this one from the Bible:

    Jeremiah 1:5
    “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

    Perhaps your writing provides insights and spiritual truths to others & this is a God-breathed assignment.

    I feel the presence of Jesus in the photo – reaching out to you – and letting you know how special you are to Him.

    Cheers, Kerry (http://mrsozzie.wordpress.com)


    • Hi Kerry, nice to see you here.
      Despite not being fully fluent in French, I did manage to recall enough to discover it was from Proverbs 8, 22-31. I misplaced my French bible so it took a while to remember enough keywords. And checking the missal for that day helped too!
      I am quite relieved it wasn’t from Jeremiah because that felt too “heavy” for my life right now; I am no prophet. But I do believe that what i write is a special gift from God and to share it is a powerful mission, especially the books.
      Thanks for visiting; come back again soon!


  17. Hey viv! I’m a friend of Randy Quickfall, he just pointed me to your blog and the peice on the picture. I love it! Fear not, dear one, i believe miracles are not about getting it… just about seeing it. Like little kids we are invited to bask in the wonder. To let our mouths hang open in that gentle o of surprise and then grin and clap our hands. People may scoff, people may question or accuse, but you know what happened and how it moved you – both in the church and again when you saw the picture. It says to me… I am here, I love you… whoever the I is. Sue

    The passage you quoted? Either Isaiah or Psalms… I’m trying to find it. Sue


    • Hi Sue,
      nice to see you here.
      I first thought it was from jeremiah but it’s actually from Proverbs 8, 22-31. I checked the Missal for that day, and the reading matched the snatches of French I remembered.


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  20. Oh Viv! Thank you for putting this link into your newer post. This is highly moving. I have no need to have anyone explain it, justify it or doubt it. Its authenticity sits in my soul.


  21. Oh sweet heavens, that is incredible, wonderful, beautiful…. and your own. Hold that feeling in your heart – remember it, whenever you feel in need. Open your heart to that beautiful energy- feel it suffusing you, holding you, protecting you. It is the Light of the World. In whatever form you need it to be. My love to you too….an imperfect form of the Perfect Love. Janexxxx


  22. Its beautiful, even if it is just smoke without mirrors. Or is the smoke the mirror?
    Thanks. I’m glad this stuff is happening to somebody. I never seem to notice it anymore. At least not visually.


  23. i think it was definitely a spiritual vision, i was fortunate to have such an experience after the birth of my son, this vision was so life changing for me i could do nothing except share it , it filled me with calm and courage at a difficult time (although i had nothing tangible to show others) and most importantly turned me from a disbeliever to a believer . my family & inlaws thought id lost the plot as they arent believers, the doctors thought i was manic as i saw things, nobody believed what had happened to me . My son had a traumatic delivery, there was doubt whether he would live as he’d had a brain haemorhage and went to the special care baby unit. That night i had a vision of an eagle guarding his cot and the eagles giant wings were laid over the cot like a blanket, im not sure if it was angel wings or an eagle, i fell asleep and dreamt that Jesus was holding my son in his arms, he was just majestic, all powerful and crowned. At first i was scared this was a sign my son was going to die, but the voice of Jesus said to me whether he lives or dies he is safe in my arms , the last part of the dream/vision was a circle of illuminated beings praying around my son and Jesus holding my son out to me with open arms giving him back to me, my son had had a brain scan within a day or so of birth which was full of damaged areas which showed up on the xrays as black spaces, i was told this was permanent and would lead to him being physically and mentally handicapped , at his 3months check up all the black spaces had vanished and the medical profession couldnt explain it, im convinced my son was healed, yes he has aspergers & adhd (special needs) but we had been told he would die or if he recovered he would never walk or talk and now he has just sat 10 GCSEs and is great at football and skateboarding .

    anyway i dont mean to monopolise your blog comments, just wanted to say i believe this is authentic and is a sign , interesting you had the event occur on mothers day in conjunction with the psalm about unborn children, there is a message there. ive been lucky enough to have other miracles occur but this was the first and only experience of a vision


  24. wow that’s quite extraordinary, Viv. When I first glanced at the picture on FB, I assumed you were sharing something of possibly dubious provenance but given that you were there and you took that picture then words fail me. What a fantastic find for you. And silly old purse. I’m always losing mine. Hoping people thrive in its wake. I’m glad I saw this!


    • I am glad you saw this too, Milla. Every time I see it myself, I shiver slightly and feel comforted. I feel that I am watched over and cared for, as are you.


  25. I actually see another image in the smoke as possibly a large standing/floating Jesus looking down lovingly and at the same time appearing almighty!!!


  26. Amy sent me this link, Viv, in commenting on my post on the zen of soup-making. I visited Mont.St. Michel when I lived in Brittany, but only from the shore. This is a beautiful, mystical account. The quote is from Psalms (I think 38) Interestingly, I used it in my novel as well. (Winter is Past, the first one)


    • Thank you. It’s a wonderful psalm, and I wish I’d made a proper note of it because my French is not that good. It reminds us that we’re in God’s hands from the first spark of life to the last.


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