The Miracle that Paved the Way to Sainthood

Academy of the Sacred Heart - Grand Coteau, LA

The first miracle in North America ratified by the Vatican happened in a small town in south Louisiana.

Situated in the quiet beauty of Grand Coteau is a historic school which attracts talented female scholars both from Louisiana and around the world. Established by the Religious of the Sacred Heart in the early 1800s, the Academy has remained in existence for nearly two hundred years—longer than any of the over 200 schools run by the order (“One Hundred” 6). What began as a simple convent in a remote area has since grown into a beautiful school with a history that has earned it national recognition (“One Hundred” 6). In 1866, seventeen-year-old Mary Wilson, a postulant in the Sacred Heart order, lay dying of cancer at the Academy. The sisters at the Academy began a novena asking Blessed John Berchmans for his intercession; on the ninth day, Mary Wilson was visited by John Berchmans and immediately cured of her illness. This miracle was ratified by the Vatican and was used as one of the two required miracles needed for canonization of St. John Berchmans (Sibille 4). A small shrine and chapel are located in the room where St. John Berchmans appeared to Mary Wilson, and the all-boys school, a counterpart to the girls’ Academy, is named after St. John Berchmans in honor of this miracle.

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One must make an appointment to tour the grounds of the Academy: http://sshcoteau.org/academy/about/toursphoto-policy/