"If my people do not obey, I shall be compelled to loose my Son's arm. It is so heavy I can no longer restrain it. How long have I suffered for you! If my son is not to abandon you, I am obliged to entreat Him without ceasing ... I have given you six days to work. The seventh I have reserved for myself, yet no one will give it to me. This is what causes the weight of my Son's arm to be so crushing. The cart drivers cannot swear without bringing in my Son's name. These are the two things which make my son's arm so heavy."
The italicized portion of the above texts are a paraphrase of Leviticus 23:3. Our Blessed Mother was speaking in the first person, delivering God's word just like Moses and the prophets! She then told the children, who admitted to praying very little, to at least say their morning and night prayers. The Blessed Mother bemoaned the way that in the summer time the only people attending Mass were the elderly women, as everyone else worked in the fields. In the winter people came to Mass but they mocked it. No one practiced the Lenten fasting and abstinence. Before disappearing she told the children to make her message known to all her children. They did and it sparked a religious revival in France.
The apparitions over Pontmain, France took place about 25 years later. France was fighting the War of 1870, and Prussian forces controlled 2/3 of France. The district containing the city of Pontmain was in the northwestern part of the country, and it expected to be overrun next.
Mary was seen in the sky over a family farm in Pontmain by four children (Joseph and Eugene Barbedette, and two young girls, Jeanne-Marie Lebosse and Francois Richer) on Jan.17,1871, for over two hours. The parish priest was called and he led the children and their parents, unable to see the apparition, in prayer. The children saw the Blessed Mother dressed in a dark-blue robe covered in stars, a smile upon her face, with her hands extended downward toward them. A blue oval with four candles encircles her and as the crowd prayed Mary and the oval increased in size and more stars seemed to sweep in and cover her dress. A broad white streamer slowly unrolled beneath her feet with gold letters, reading "Pray, my children. God will answer before long. My Son lets Himself be moved." As the parish priest led them in singing "Gentle Jesus, pardon now our penitent hearts" Mary's face showed sadness. A large red cross then formed, with a placard at the top reading "Jesus Christ" in red. Mary offered the cross to the children. The cross vanished after a few minutes and Mary returned to her initial posture, but now with a white cross on each shoulder. A large white veil appeared at her feet, slowly rose in front of her, and the apparition ceased.
The Prussians that the visionaries and their neighbors feared were soon unexpectedly turned back and an armistice signed.