History of the Monastery

The apparitions of Saint Josephare extremely rare. Quiet in his life, he remained so afterwards.

The Saint-Joseph Chapel and the Saint-Joseph Monastery were built on the site of the apparition of Saint Joseph on June 7, 1660 on the site of a fountain (Font) which sprang up after the apparition.

Cotignac, village of the Holy Family, is also the site of two apparitions of the Virgin Mary (10/11 August 1519).

The great Marie et Joseph pilgrimages are alive and well in a land so special that both have honored with their divine presences.

  • 1660. June 7. Around 1 p.m. A 22-year-old shepherd, Gaspard Ricard, keep his herd on the mount Bessillon.
  • The heat overwhelms him and he is thirsty when suddenly, he sees a man by his side.
  • The man pointed to a heavy rock and said to him I am Joseph; take it off and you will drink.I am Joseph; take it off and you will drink.
  • Faced with the hesitation and surprise of the young man, the apparition reiterates his advice.
  • Gaspardthen easily lift the heavy rock and discover a spring.
  • Gaspard drinks his fill and runs to bring the news to the village.
  • In a place that everyone knows has no spring, now flows fresh water.
  • 1977 – 2019. TheMoniales Bénédictines from Algeria watch over the place and pray Saint Joseph by appealing to his father’s heart.
  • 2019. March. The Mater Dei Sisters, originally from Argentina, settled in the Bessillon Monastery.
  • 2020. December 8. Launch of the Year of Saint Joseph , Year of the Family.
  • 2021. March 19. Launch of Famille Amoris Laetitia.



Saint Joseph Chapel.

  • 1660. Begun on August 9, the chapel is completed in October.
  • 1661. The charge of the chapel is entrusted to Fathers of the Oratory .
  • 1661. From March 19, Feast of Saint Joseph, large crowds arrive.
  • Very quickly, faced with the multiplicity of processions and the number of pilgrims, the Fathers were overwhelmed.
  • The chapel being too small, it was decided to build a new sanctuary which was consecrated in 1663.
  • 2021. The Joseph & Cassien association undertakes significant work in the St-Joseph du Bessillon chapel.
  • Saint Joseph Monastery.

Why is it unique?

The site is unique by the rarity of the apparitions of Joseph. It is also because of its living dimension. The Pilgrimages of Mothers and Fathers of Families are particularly important in number and intensity. Pilgrims come from all over the worldand the arrival of the Sisters from Argentina only reinforces this dimension.

The 1st Symposium of the French Center for Research and Documentation on Saint Joseph, in Cotignac, in 2008, the importance of Saint Joseph in Provence, especially in Marseille (Saint Joseph district with the former Grand Séminaire and World-renowned Saint Joseph Hospital) show how the Silent is at work in Provence.



Monastère St Joseph