Fifth Apparition Of Our Lady Of Lourdes
Saturday 20 February 1858
By now the entire town of Lourdes knew what was reported to be happening at the Grotto of Massabieille; only a few people, however, had actually seen Bernadette in ecstasy before the vision in the niche. By the morning of the fifth apparition, the people present numbered several hundred, whereas previously there had been only a few dozen. Accompanied by her mother Louise, Bernadette approached the Grotto at half past six in the morning. She paid no attention to the crowds gathered there to witness what was to occur. She knelt upon the small rock which served her as a prie-dieux, which had become her usual place, and which was always left for her, no matter how many were present. She began her Rosary. Seconds later, the ecstasy began. “I must be out of my mind, for I simply can’t recognise my own daughter!”, such was the grace and charm of Bernadette’s every movement. The crowd was straining for a glimpse of the little visionary. They shifted their eyes from the young girl to the niche which so captivated her gaze. They, however, could see nothing but the moss at the base of the niche and the long trailing rose bush. After the vision had ceased, Lousie questioned Berndatte about what had happened during the ecstasy. Bernadette said the Lady had very kindly taught her a prayer for her personal use; She had taught this word by word until Bernadette remembered it all. Asked to repeat the prayer, the girl said she did not think herself at liberty to do so, since the prayer had been composed by the Lady with the seer’s personal needs in mind. She appeared somewhat embarrassed in relating this. Until the day she died, Bernadette never related this personal prayer to any living soul, although she maintained that she prayed it every single day without fail.