March 22, 2017


The years 1792 to 1800 were hard ones for Catholics in France. The “little terror” took place in 1792. The “great terror” occurred between 1793 and 1794. They were part of an effort to “dechristianize” the country. Priests and bishops were actively hunted down and either exiled or killed, many by the guillotine, churches were closed, statues smashed, crucifixes were broken, relics burned and worship forbidden.

In the little town of Pezilla-la-Riviere, Fr. Jacques Perone was reluctant to slip over the border into Spain, but he was finally persuaded to do so when the situation became urgent. On his journey out of France, he suddenly remembered something. He had left several Hosts in the tabernacle of his church. He imagined the sacrilege that would be performed when they were discovered.

Fortunately, they were not immediately discovered. Several months later, a new mayor was elected. The prior one had been quite hostile to the church. The new one, Jean Banafos was a faithful Catholic. When asked, he allowed the church to be opened and the Hosts retrieved.

There were five of them, one large and four small. He actually took the large one himself, placed in a wooden box, locked with a key and placed under the floor of his house. The four were given to Rosa Llorens. She placed them in a glass cup with a lid, which she put inside a red silk purse and kept in her house.

After seven years, the persecution ended. Fr. Perone made his way back from Spain. The Hosts were located and their receptacles opened. All expected to find only dust, as unconsecrated hosts can be expected to decompose in about six months. All five, however, were as white as the day the were hidden.

A special monstrance was built to house all five Hosts and they became the reason for pilgrims and tourists to find their way to the little town. In 1893, a new church and a new monstrance were built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the miracle.

In 1930, a new tabernacle was built to better protect the Hosts and they were moved. From this point, the Hosts decomposed in a normal manner. The Lord had determined to leave for reasons only He knows.

Source: Lord, Bob and Penny, This is My Body, This is My Blood, Miracles of the Eucharist, Book II (Publisher: Journeys of Faith, 1994) p. 191-98.


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