Bilocation has been a conceptional quagmire for centuries. And why has such an imbroglio come to my mind? The answer is simple. Today, I received an advertisement from a French Catholic tv network about a special film that was going to be shown on KTO (a channel) at 8 PM. Being seven behind Paris, I was able to tune in at 1 PM here in Panama. The special show was about Mère Yvonne Aimée de Jésus (de Malestroit), that is Mother Yvonne Beloved of Jesus (who lived in Malestroit, France). She was a member of the Augustinian religious order of the Sisters of the Mercy of Jesus. Rather than to complicate things any worse with technical lingo, here is a photo of her as a girl and as a sister.
Mother Yvonne (I will take the liberty to abbreviate her name to Yvonne) was born on 16 July 1901 and died at the age of 49 on 3 February 1951. Her life is recounted in several biographies and each mentions extraordinary events. These events include bilocations and spontaneous displacements from one place to another. The latter includes not only the person but objects as well.
Sound interesting? Here are some accounts of each, which come from a blog attached to http://www.traditions-monastiques.fr. (Bloggers are encouraged to read blogs other than their own!) Believe these accounts or not, it is interesting to note that the religious order to which Mother Yvonne belonged adds that three well-qualified and esteemed religious advisors who knew Mother have no argument with the stories.
In several instances of spontaneous displacements during one early morning, Yvonne is asked by Jesus to deliver a secret message in her own voice and therefore in person. Yvonne, at the time was in Paris and was ‘transported’ to a beautiful country chateau. She rings the bell and announces (à la Gabrielle) the message to an unidentified person. This happened about 1:30 in the morning. Yvonne thought that she would have to spend the rest of the very early morning in the nearby forest, but all of a sudden she found herself in front of the convent in Malestroit at about 4:00 AM. Paris, by the way, is about 368.4 km (229 miles) from Malestroit.
At about 5:00 AM, she found herself in front of the Carmelite House in Vannes (35.8 km or 22 miles between Vannes and Malestroit) when at around 6:00 AM, she meets her spiritual director Fr. Crété. Later that morning, Yvonne needs to return in a train to Paris and, in her need, she finds in her hands 200 French francs! At the train station in Vannes, she planned to buy a second class ticket, but she encountered a family that could not afford their fare so Yvonne uses her money to buy them second class fare. Of the money left, she was only able to buy a third-class ticket for herself. She got into the crammed car and didn’t find a seat, but then her third-class ticket turned into a first-class ticket. She was able to sleep comfortably all the way back to Paris.
What is interesting in this account is that the details all seem so normal as opposed to being experienced as paranormal. Yvonne apparently knew where she was and the spiritual director is not shocked to see her nor is the poor family in the train station or anyone there for that matter. That she was able to sleep on the train indicated that she was at peace with her busy early morning travel schedule.
In 1941, there is the claim that Mother Yvonne bilocated to be right in front of Adolf Hitler to whom she admonished in the name of Jesus to go no further with the war. In this case, it is clear that Adolf didn’t listen to her. Perhaps, he did not see her? Obviously, this story may be lore as in “I can top your story!)
Yvonne was arrested, however, in 1943 by the Gestapo but was free two days later. The odd part of this story is that the Gestapo did not release her. Instead, and I say this fecitiously, she took the train to freedom. Actually claimed is that she bilocated to a Paris subway to tell Fr. Labutte, her spiritual son, that she was in prison and being tortured. In a second bilocation, she returns to the metro to tell Labutte that her release depends upon his prayer. As the expression goes, he ‘prayed as hard as he could.’ Yvonne then is in a courtyard with the others who will be loaded onto a train and sent to Germany. In the courtyard, however, some sort of brouhaha erupts while Yvonne’s Guardian Angel takes her by the hand and puts her in a room in Paris, all without unlocking any doors.
The end of the story is equally happy. The valise and the hat that Yvonne left in prison (it would not be needed in Germany.) showed up by displacement a little later and to welcome her home, the valise and hat were accompanied by a beautiful bouquet of flowers!
These stories of possibility are interesting to me for a couple of reasons. I do holocaust research in France and have never come upon this material before. This shows that research leads to lots of other research questions and, as the editors of her stories that I have summarized point out, Mother Yvonne made lots of appearances to captives to offer hope an consolation. The question posed then, is there any documentation from any holocaust survivors who might have met Mother Yvonne?
The second interest flows from the theological part of me. What does the Catholic Church teach officially about bilocation? The answer is that physical bilocation or multilocation is impossible. But wait! This is a reference only to physicality. What about a mixed mode of location? On this matter, the Catholic Encyclopedia’s article on bilocation points out that whatever the second location is, it’s form (called the local extension) is not dependant on the essence of the first location. This is of interest to the Catholic Church because this explains how Jesus is in heaven and, at the same time, really present (body, soul and divinity) in each consecerated host all over the world. Now that’s multi-location!
I am a priest and am not making light of the Church’s Eucharistic theology. I bring this issue up in the context of the other possibilities of bilocation, which perhaps should not be dismissed without thought, or at least a ponderance. Afterall, we are also taught that with God nothing is impossible. Anyway, how I came to such a musing was by reading my emails from France this morning! Because of the historical timeframe of World II and the subject of Nazism and nuns in France, as a researcher/priest I felt compelled to think more about, of all things, bilocation.