rene lau­rentin, 99, ro­man Catholic in­ves­ti­ga­tor of ce­les­tial vi­sions

The Republican Herald - - OBITUARIES - by sam roberts

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.

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