Faverney is a small village in the Haute-Saône region of France. Visitors to the village cannot fail to notice the huge building of the former Benedictine abbey, now the philosophy department of the Besançon major seminary. Not far from the seminary is the Basilique de Faverney... the famous church of Notre-Dame-la-Blanche, famous also for a great miracle performed by Jesus to show his presence in the Host.
On Monday May 26th, at three o'clock in the morning, the sacristan opened the church doors and rang the service bell. An acrid smell of smoke seized him by the throat; he rushed into the darkened nave, not daring to believe the horrible truth. And yet, yes, that's what it is: all that's left of the beautiful repository is a small pile of shapeless, burnt-out things. Panic-stricken, he runs outside, calling for help, only able to repeat in inarticulate words, cut short by sobs: "My repository, my chapel!" The monks and townspeople came running. We must face the facts: the misfortune is all too real. A few charred pieces are pulled from the still-red embers. This is all that's left of the altar table. Here's a candlestick, twisted by the violence of the flames. Here's the marble slab that supported the repository, lying shattered in three pieces. Dismayed, the monks clawed away at the debris, stirring up the coals, trying to find something of the monstrance which, along with its precious deposit, must have fallen prey to the flames. Suddenly, as dawning daylight illuminates the church, the voice of the youngest calls out:
"Here it is! Wonderful! The monstrance remains where it was.
The news spread, and people flocked from Vesoul and the Protestant town of Montbéliard, certain to discover the deception.