OUR LADY OF LOURDES: THE APPARITIONS.
Dear friends, Happy Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes! This day marks the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858 to fourteen-year old Marie Bernade (St. Bernadette) Soubirous. There were eighteen apparitions in all, the last of which was on 16 July 1858. The message of Lourdes is a call to personal conversion, prayer, and charity.
Below you have a chronological account of her apparitions taken from its official website.
Oh Mary, conceived without sin, Health of the Sick, pray for us!
TO YOU WE ENTRUST ALL THE SICK PEOPLE IN THE WORLD AS WE CELEBRATE TODAY THE WORLD DAY OF THE SICK.
+++CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER OF THE APPARITIONS OF OUR LADY TO ST. BERNADETTE+++
On Thursday, 11th of February 1858, accompanied by her sister and a friend, Bernadette went to Massabielle on the banks of the Gave to collect bones and dead wood. Removing her socks in order to cross the stream, she heard a noise like a gust of wind, she looked up towards the Grotto:
“I SAW A LADY DRESSED IN WHITE, SHE WORE A WHITE DRESS, AN EQUALLY WHITE VEIL, A BLUE BELT AND A YELLOW ROSE ON EACH FOOT.”
Bernadette made the Sign of the Cross and said the Rosary with the lady. When the prayer ended the Lady suddenly vanished.
On Sunday 14th of February, Bernadette felt an inner force drawing her to the Grotto in spite of the fact that she was forbidden to go there by her parents. At her insistence, her mother allowed her; after the first decade of the Rosary, she saw the same lady appearing. She sprinkled holy water at her. The lady smiled and bent her head. When the Rosary ended she disappeared.
It was on Thursday 18th of February when the Lady spoke for the first time. Bernadette held out a pen and paper asking her to write her name. But the Lady replied;
“It is not necessary” and she added: “I do not promise to make you happy in this world but in the other. Would you be kind enough to come here for a fortnight?”
Bernadette returned to the Grotto of Feb. 19 with a lighted blessed candle. This is the origin of carrying candles and lighting them in front of the Grotto. The next day she returned as well and the lady taught her a personal prayer. At the end of the vision Bernadette is overcome with great sadness.
On Sunday, 21st of February, the Lady appeared to Bernadette very early in the morning. About one hundred people were present. Afterwards the Police Commissioner, Jacomet, questioned her. He wanted Bernadette to tell what she saw. Bernadette would only speak of “AQUÉRO” (“that thing” in local dialect)
Surrounded by 150 people, Bernadette arrived at the Grotto on Feb. 23. The Apparition reveals to her a secret “only for her alone”.
On the 24th of February, The Lady told Bernadette:
“PENANCE! PENANCE! PENANCE! PRAY TO GOD FOR SINNERS. KISS THE GROUND AS AN ACT OF PENANCE FOR SINNERS!”
It was on the 25th of February when Bernadette relates; “She told me to go, drink of the spring (….) I only found a little muddy water. On the fourth attempt I was able to drink. She also made me eat the bitter herbs that were found near the spring, and then the vision left and went away.” In front of the crowd that was asking “Do you think that she is mad doing things like that?” she replied; “It is for sinners.” Three hundred people witnessed the scene.
On Feb. 27th, eight hundred people were present. The Apparition was silent. Bernadette drank the water from the spring and carried out her usual acts of penance.
On Feb. 28, over one thousand people were present at the ecstasy. Bernadette prayed, kissed the ground and moved on her knees as a sign of penance. She was then taken to the house of Judge Ribes who threatened to put her in prison.
It was on the 1st of March: when the First Miracle occurred. Over one thousand five hundred people assembled and among them, for the first time, a priest. In the night, Catherine Latapie, a friend from Lourdes, went to the Grotto, she plunged her dislocated arm into the water of the Spring: her arm and her hand regained their movement.
The next day, March 2, there was more crowd than ever. The Lady asked her:
“GO, TELL THE PRIESTS TO COME HERE IN PROCESSION AND TO BUILD A CHAPEL HERE.”
Bernadette spoke of this to Fr. Peyramale, the Parish Priest of Lourdes. He wanted to know only one thing: the Lady’s name. He demanded another test; to see the wild rose bush flower at the Grotto in the middle of winter.
On March 3, from 7 o’clock in the morning, in the presence of three thousand people, Bernadette arrived at the Grotto, but the vision did not appear! After school, she heard the inner invitation of the Lady. She went to the Grotto and asked her again for her name. The response was a smile. The Parish Priest told her again: “If the Lady really wishes that a chapel be built, then she must tell us her name and make the rose bush bloom at the Grotto.”
The next day, March 4, the ever-greater crowd (about eight thousand people) waited for a miracle at the end of the fortnight. The vision was silent. Fr. Peyramale stuck to his position. For twenty days Bernadette did not go to the Grotto, she no longer felt the irresistible invitation.
On March 25, the Lady finally revealed her name, but the wild rose bush, on which she stood during the Apparitions, did not bloom. Bernadette recounted; “She lifted up her eyes to heaven, joined her hands as though in prayer, that were held out and open towards the ground and said to me:
“QUE SOY ERA IMMACULADA CONCEPCIOU (I AM THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION).”
The young visionary left and, running all the way, repeated continuously the words that she did not understand. These words troubled the brave Parish Priest. Bernadette was ignorant of the fact that this theological expression was assigned to the Blessed Virgin. Four years earlier, in 1854, Pope Pius IX declared this a truth of the Catholic Faith (a dogma)
On April 7, another apparition occurred. During this Apparition, Bernadette had to keep her candle alight. The flame licked along her hand without burning it. A medical doctor, Dr. Douzous, immediately witnessed this fact.
The final apparition happened on the 16th of July. Bernadette received the mysterious call to the Grotto, but her way was blocked and closed off by a barrier. She thus, arrived across from the Grotto to the other side of the Gave. “I felt that I was in front of the Grotto, at the same distance as before, I saw only the Blessed Virgin, and she was more beautiful than ever!
SEE AS WELL: THE LADY SPOKE TO ME
(St. Bernadette Sobirous’ letter on Our Lady of Lourdes’ apparition) in
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