On 3 May 1491 at around 10 in the morning, the chronicle of Thann described a certain Thierry Schoéré, blacksmith of Orbey, while going to the market of Niedermorschwihr, (French commune of 580 inhabitants located in the Upper Rhine department in the Alsace region) at Colmar, he passed by in front of a large oak tree where a holy image was placed. According to local custom, it was to invite passersby to pray for a man who had died a few days earlier. Coming down from his horse, he knelt before the pious image and began to pray fervently for the soul of the unfortunate, when he was suddenly blinded by a dazzling light, in the midst of which a delicate and vaporous shape appeared.
It was the Virgin Mary, wrapped in white transparent veils, who had three ears of corn wheat in her right hand and a small piece of ice in her left.
“Get up, good man,” said the Virgin gently, “and listen.”
My son, the people of this country have irritated heaven with their sins; go to Niedermorschwihr and preach repentance. Everyone must do penance in the shortest time possible, otherwise the crops will be lost. Announce it to the clergy, priests and people; if sinners are converted, God will bless their crops.
Do you see these ears of corn wheat? They are the symbol of the abundance of beautiful crops that will come to reward virtuous, generous beings and to bring well-being and joy to the hearths of faithful Christians.
As for this icicle, it means that hail, frost, flood, hunger and all their consequences of desolation and evils will come to punish unbelievers whose seriousness of sins has been able to overwhelm divine mercy. Go good man, go to the villages and announce to all the inhabitants the meaning of these prophecies. »
The miraculous apparition vanished, Thierry Schoéré resumed his journey, but suspecting he was being made fun of, he decided to keep the secret. When he got to the market, he bought a sack of wheat, but strangely, neither he nor anyone else managed to lift it. The sack seemed to be of lead and fixed to the ground. The villagers around were worried by the magical force that held the sack on the ground. This inexplicable phenomenon tormented the spirits of the people around and some began to accuse the unfortunate blacksmith of occult power.
Then Thierry Schoéré understood the meaning of that cautionary spell. He, the divine messenger, had disobeyed the Holy Virgin and had not at all accomplished the mission that she had entrusted to him.
In front of the crowd, a sudden silent surrounded him, Schoéré knelt, asked the Lady for forgiveness and, finally fulfilling his sacred mission, confided the heavenly apparition to the astonished inhabitants and explained with fervor the symbolism of the ice and the three ears of corn wheat. Stunned and admired, the inhabitants listened with great respect to the story. The onlookers were deeply moved and no one dared to question the sincerity of the honest blacksmith of Orbey. The most incredulous were conquered, showed sincere repentance and swore to repent. Then, relieved and happy, Thierry Schoéré returned to the mysterious sack. But … miracle! As soon as he got it he could lift it up as easily as if it were a sack of feathers and load it onto his horse.
After that, to the delight of the onlookers, Thierry Schoéré, the messenger of the Virgin, happily returned to his native village.
(Report of the apparitions of Our Lady of the Three Ears of Corn Wheat, in Alsace according to the archives of the village of Orbey – preserved in the Colmar museum.)