On January 26, 1902, at the parish church of Saint-André, a city on the island of La Réunion (French colony), Abbot Henry Lacombe, pastor of the church, was witness to the miracle that he would recount to thousands of people during the Eucharistic Congress of Angouleme (1904), as well as to the group of priests gathered for a spiritual retreat in the town of Perigueux. The face of Jesus appeared in the Host which was for many hours witnessed by thousands of people.
The account of this Eucharistic miracle goes back to the first centuries of Christianity and is found in the apothegm of the Fathers of the Desert who lived in the desert after the example of St. Anthony, Abbot. A monk had doubts regarding the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated bread and wine consecrated at Mass. After the consecration the Infant Jesus was seen in place of the bread. Three companion monks witnessed the same appearance.
This Eucharistic miracle is related in the life of St. Mary of Egypt who lived in the desert for 47 years. The account of her life was written by the Bishop Sofronio of Jerusalem in the 7th century. St. Mary is said to have walked on the Jordan River to reach the opposite bank and receive Communion from the Monk Zosimus.