It is related in the Franciscan chronicles, that two religious of that order, who were going to visit a sanctuary of the Virgin, were overtaken by night in a great wood, where they became bewildered and so troubled that they knew not what to do.
But advancing a little, they discerned through the darkness something which seemed to them a house. They went groping along with outstretched hands, and at length touched a wall; they found the door, knocked, and heard some one within asking who they were?
They answered that they were two poor religious who bad lost their way by accident in that wood and were seeking a shelter, that at least they might not be devoured by wolves.
But suddenly they heard the door open, and saw two pages richly dressed, who received them with great courtesy. The religious asked them who inhabited that palace? The pages answered that a very kind, good Lady inhabited it. We wish to pay our respects to her, said they, and thank her for her charity. We will take you to her, said the pages, for she too wishes to speak to you.
They ascended the stairs, found the apartments all illuminated, richly furnished, and perfumed as with an odor of paradise; they finally entered the apartment of the Lady, who was majestic and most lovely in her appearance, and who welcomed them with the greatest kindness, and then asked them in what direction they were travelling? They answered that they were going to visit a certain church of the blessed Virgin.
If that is the case, said the Lady, when you go I will give you a letter from myself, which will greatly aid you. And whilst the Lady was speaking to them, they felt all inflamed with love of God, and filled with a joy such as they had never before experienced.
They afterwards went to rest, if perchance they could sleep in the midst of so much joy, and in the morning they went again to take leave of the Lady of the mansion, thank her, and at the same time receive the letter, they did so and departed.
But when they had gone a little distance from the house, they perceived that there was no superscription to the letter; but they turned and returned, and could not find the house again.
At last they opened the letter, to see to whom it was sent, and what it contained, and found that it was from the most holy Mary, and was written to themselves, and let them know that she was the Lady whom they saw the night before, and that on account of the devotion they cherished for her, she had provided a house and refreshment for them in that wood.
She exhorted them to continue to serve and love her, for she would well reward their devotion, and assist them in life and in death. At the bottom of the letter they read the signature of the Virgin Mary. We may easily imagine the thanks that those good religious offered to the divine mother, and how greatly they were inflamed with the desire of loving her and serving her to the end of their lives.