Mary in History: Our Lady of Lourdes

March 25, 1858 – Lourdes, France

This was now the sixteenth time St. Bernadette Soubirous had encountered the Lady at the grotto. Bernadette had reported seeing “a young girl, sixteen, or seventeen years old. She wore a white dress drawn in at the waist by a blue ribbon whose ends hung down. On her head she wore a long white veil so as almost to cover her hair. Her feet were bare but nearly covered by the folds of her dress, except at the tip where a yellow rose shone on each. On her right arm she carried a Rosary of white beads on a golden chain, shining like the roses on her feet.” The local pastor, Fr. Dominique Peyramale, had prudently and persistently urged Bernadette to ask and discover the name of this strange visitor.

“She was there,” Bernadette recounts. “I asked her to forgive me for coming late. Always kind and gracious, she made a sign to me with her head to tell me that I need not make excuses. Then I spoke to her of all my love, all my reverence and the happiness I had in seeing her again. After having poured out my heart to her, I took up my Rosary. While I was praying, the thought of asking her name came before my mind with such persistence that I could think of nothing else. I feared to be presumptuous in repeating a question she had always refused to answer and yet something compelled me to speak.”

“At last, under an irresistible impulse, the words fell from my mouth, and I begged the Lady to tell me who she was. The Lady did as she had always done before; she bowed her head and smiled but she did not reply. I cannot say why, but I felt bolder and asked her again to be so kind as to tell me her name; however, she only bowed and smiled as before, still keeping silence. Then once more, for the third time, clasping my hands and acknowledging myself unworthy of the favor I was seeking of her, I again made my request.”

“The Lady was standing above the rosebush, in a position very similar to that shown in the Miraculous Medal. At my third request, her face became very serious and she seemed to bow down in an attitude of humility. Then she joined her hands and raised them to her breast… She looked up to Heaven… then slowly opening her hands and leaning forward towards me, she said to me in a voice vibrating with emotion, ‘I am the Immaculate Conception.'”

Bernadette, the simple and uneducated girl, did not understand what the Lady’s words meant but she repeated them over and over to herself (lest she forget them) as she walked to inform her parish priest. Only once the statement’s meaning was explained to her did St. Bernadette realize that her “Lady” was indeed the Blessed Virgin Mary. The apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes represents a heavenly confirmation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception which Pope Pius IX had solemnly and infallibly proclaimed and affirmed a few years before in 1854.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: