Notre Dame de Vie (Our Lady of Life) is a Marian shrine where people have prayed to the Virgin Mary since the sixth century. She it is who drew Fr Marie-Eugène and the first women who came here.
« Notre-Dame de Vie (Our Lady of Life) is a spring which God caused to gush forth, a valley which God has made fruitful with his morning rain… One day we discovered it and we believed in it. »
In 1932, when Fr. Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, Carmelite, and Marie Pila, co-founder of the Institute discovered the Sanctuary of Notre-Dame de Vie, where the Blessed Virgin has been honored and prayed to since the 6th century, they were struck by the imposing statue above the choir ; the Blessed Virgin is present there with all the radiant strength of her motherhood. They felt attracted by the one who gives us Life, her son Jesus. Like her, they were carried away by the life which flows from her beloved son, like her, they gave Jesus to the world.
Fr. Marie-Eugene understood that the mission which God entrusted to him could begin in Venasque under the gaze of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Life. Even if this mission began humbly, poorly and in the darkness, Mary watched in the night and supported the emerging work.
Fr Marie-Eugène, La Vierge Marie toute Mère (The Virgin Mary wholly Mother), pp. 177–8
Mary, Mother of Life
« Yes, it is really a Sorgue (a resurgent source)
which the Virgin Mary made to gush in this valley
frequented at all times by souls in search of perfection.
The Virgin made the powerful stream of that source,
of this underground river, to gush here.
One day we discovered it, we believed in it and we saw the effects of these gushing flows of life. The Virgin Mary herself tells us : « Venite ad aquas », get closer to the spring.
You are hungry, you are thirsty, this is why you are here.
You hunger and thirst for God, come closer to the spring, it is abundant, you will not exhaust it, it will quench your thirst.
The Virgin Mary will give you freely. She is happy to give presents to her children in such a way.
The source that springs here, is a Sorgue of mercy.
Fr Marie-Eugene of the Child-Jesus