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Witness: Gaspard Ricard

On June 7th of 1660, a shepherd of 22 years of age named Gaspard Ricard, was herding his sheep to the east side of Mount Bessillon. At roughly 1pm the heat grew stronger and harder to bear. Very tired and thirsty, he decided to lay  upon the  rocky  ground

for a rest when suddenly a tall man stood next to him and pointed to a nearby rock saying:


“I am Joseph, lift the rock and you will drink.”

The startled young man saw that the large rock looked heavy, stating that it would take about eight men to move it. He asked how he would be able to do this alone as there were no other men around besides him. St. Joseph reiterated his instruction to lift the rock. Gaspard obeyed and, finding himself able to move the rock, found fresh water flowing from underneath. He began to drink excitedly and looking up he found that St. Joseph had disappeared. With haste, he ran into town exclaiming this news to the villagers and within three hours the small spring of water had now become a fountain of overabundant water.

It is interesting to note that St. Joseph had nothing else to say besides his simple instruction to lift the rock and drink. But in the absence of words, he has told us much. Water is the sign of healing and new life in the Roman Catholic Church and here we are shown that Joseph pointed to this source of water. He is given to us as an intercessor, leading us to drink of the fountain of life in Jesus.

Because of these occurrences, King Louis XIV (1638-1715) decreed that day to be a holiday and, after making his own pilgrimage to this place, he consecrated France – as well as himself – to St. Joseph. These waters which sprang forth in Cotignac, France, would become a sign of hope for many people as the waters were found to have curative properties for both the body and the soul. One of the documented miracles that took place was recorded in 1662 by a priest who had gone there the previous year:

“The waters of St. Joseph bring miracles. Since I returned, a man whom we know from Avignon, born lame, went to the spring and came back cured, having left his crutches there. Everyone drinks and carries away the water.”  – Father Allard of the Oratory, 1662

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