Benedicta Rencurel was born in September 1647 in Saint-Étienne d'Avançon, a small village in the French Alps.
In 1654, the 7-year-old girl lost her father. This sad event plunged her family – mother Catherine, two sisters and herself – into extreme poverty. In May of the same year, the Mother of God began to appear to her almost daily to make known her project, while Benedicta watched over her flock near Le Laus. "She has destined this place for the conversion of the sinners," Benedicta would say. And the Virgin Mary announced to her: "Many sinners, men and women, will come here to be converted." She asked the girl to "pray unceasingly for them." The following spring the first pilgrims arrived. Their numbers would swell to 130,000 in 18 months.
Following the healing of a person with paralyzed legs for six years, the vicar general recognized the "hand of God" behind the occurrence and authorized the construction of the church that would later become the Basilica of Our Lady of Le Laus.
In 1669, Benedicta had a vision of Christ crucified. For several years after that she experienced in her body the "sufferings of Good Friday." She died in Le Laus in a house that is still standing today, on December 28, 1718, in the odor of sanctity.
The Marie de Nazareth Team