rene laurentin, 99, roman Catholic investigator of celestial visions
The Rev. Rene Laurentin, a prominent Roman Catholic theologian who devoted his career to investigating reports of supernatural religious visions, died Sunday in Evry, a suburb of Paris. He was 99.
His death was announced by the Catholic Church in France.
Often compared to French philosophers Henrilouis Bergson and Jacques Maritain, Laurentin was one of the world’s foremost students of Mariology, the theological exploration of the Virgin Mary; an expert on historic religious apparitions; and an investigator of celestial sightings reported everywhere from a hill in the Balkans to a Texas backyard.
The author of more than 150 books, he wrote six volumes on Our Lady of Lourdes alone, perhaps the world’s best known account of a Virgin Mary apparition.
In that episode, in the French town of Lourdes in the mid-19th century, a miller’s daughter, Bernadette Soubirous, reported that a woman who later identified herself as the Virgin Mary had appeared to her. After a church investigation, the girl’s account, detailing multiple encounters with the apparition, was deemed authentic and Lourdes became a shrine. Bernadette was canonized in 1933. Laurentin concurred in the vision’s authenticity.