While touring his kingdom at the close of the 8th century, Charlemagne found himself in the town of Apt in the south of France. He was there for the dedication of the church on Easter Sunday. Charlemagne had his notary record the events of that day in a letter which still exists, addressed to Pope Saint Leo III. The church had been built on the site of an ancient chapel
Besides Charlemagne and his party there was a huge crowd of nobleman, clergy and people from surrounding villages. This included a 14-year-old boy, the son of a local nobleman, who had been deaf, blind and mute since birth. In the middle of the ceremony, the young boy suddenly walked onto the alter and began banging over and over again on an alter step. This commotion caused great embarrassment, especially on so solemn an occasion. Despite being led away and admonished by onlookers, he did this twice more during the Mass.
Charlemagne pondered the young boy’s actions. After Mass, he commanded that the step the boy had been banging on be lifted up to see what might lie beneath. Work men lifted up the step as well as the huge stones underneath it. To everyone's amazement, as they started moving the huge stones they uncovered a door. When they open it up, they discovered an aging stairway descending down to the crypt where centuries before Masses had been said during a time of great persecution.
The boy led Charlemagne down to the underground crypt. There he began to bang on a wall. When the wall was opened up, it revealed a long dark passageway. The young boy led Charlemagne and the onlookers down the pathway until they came to another crypt from which escaped rays of light. The light came from a burning vigil lamp. All who witnessed this were astonished. Suddenly, the light was extinguished. Instantly, the boy miraculously obtained the use of his senses. He cried out: "In this crypt rests the body of Saint Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary." Moments later a reliquary case was found inscribed with the words: "This is the body of Blessed Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary." When the case was opened, it emitted a sweet perfume. Emperor Charlemagne led all present in venerating the sacred relic.