A poor girl is collecting wood, her friends wade across a canal, she fears the cold it will bring her, she hesitates, she decides, she will catch up with the others, she removes one stocking, but before finishing she hears a gust of wind in the calm air. She looks up at the still trees and goes back to undoing her stockings. Then she hears the gust again. This time she looks up into an empty cave to see a beautiful woman on a little ledge. She welcomes her with a smile.
The peasant girl tries to move her arm but can’t. The young lady above raises hers to make the sign of the cross and the young pauper copies her actions. Minutes later the lady was gone and the girl has to cross the canal through the cold water. The water, however, didn’t seem cold.
The other two girls think she is putting on some kind of show, pretending not to be cold while they are freezing from walking through the water. She tells them about this beautiful lady who appeared to her and they don't believe her. Even when she informs her mom that evening, the woman is sure her daughter was dreaming, or lying.
Bernadette Soubirous saw the beautiful woman in this grotto 17 more times over the next five months. After asking for her name over and over again, she responds to Bernadette that she is the Immaculate Conception – and from this she learns the woman is the Blessed Mother. Nobody else ever saw the Virgin Mary, or even saw a light, yet the Church has recognized Lourdes as one of the few apparition sites with full approval (along with Fatima and Guadalupe).
When you go to Lourdes today, you see a beautiful statue of Mary but Bernadette said that Mary really was much younger, much more graceful and much more beautiful. We can only imagine what Mary really looked like but we know she was beyond any artist’s impression.
Father Cros, SJ who cross-examined her seven years later said “The most striking proof of the apparition is Bernadette... she herself is an apparition.” One commented that he saw a beautiful girl in a picture but then the Blessed Mother in Bernadette herself. Everyone was convinced and believed because of Bernadette – by her simplicity of life imitating Mary from her brief encounters.
She was often asked to make the sign of the cross as Mary did and all who saw it said it was the most beautiful thing they ever saw. However, she always had trouble doing it because she dared not plagiarize the Blessed Mother who did it so perfectly.
Matthew P. Schneider is a religious brother in the Legionaries of Christ, currently studying theology in Rome in preparation for priesthood.
Question or comment? Please, writeto Fr. Nathan Miller, LC at [email protected]
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|Published by: Tina|
|Date: 2011-06-30 21:32:12|
Thank you for the article. I learned that Mary must have been beautiful, and that Bernadette must have been a great saint.
I hope your studies in Rome go well.
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