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Our Lady Of Lourdes – 6th Apparition

Sixth Apparition Of Our Lady Of Lourdes

Sunday 21 February 1858

On this day there occurred an indication of the purpose of the apparitions. A cold wind was blowing that morning, as Bernadette arrived at the Grotto in the company of her mother and her aunt. The crowds were greater than they had been so far. Notably absent were the members of the clergy. In Lourdes there was an establishment called the Saint John’s Club. Here, the local free-thinkers would gather and discuss issues of the day, often forming conclusions on events. Of course, one such issue was the events at Massabieille. The members of the club had already made a conclusion on this particular event; the occurrences were nothing more than the product of a neurotic imagination in an unstable adolescent. Of course, these men had not taken the time or trouble to witness the events first-hand. This situation was rectified the following morning. One of this circle, Dr. Dozous, had decided to pay a visit to the Grotto. Dr. Dozous was not an especially religious man; in fact, quite the opposite. He was a man of science, which – he believed – held all the answers. What need was there for religion? After the events of that cold February morning, he changed his opinions somewhat; he championed the cause of Bernadette and of the Immaculate Conception, and wrote books on the miracles he later encountered at the Grotto. He died a good death on 15th March 1884, aged eighty-five. He himself relates what took place that morning. “As soon as she had come before the grotto, Bernadette knelt down, took her Rosary out of her pocket and began to pray. Her face underwent a perfect transformation, noticed by all who were near her, and showed that she was in communication with the Apparition. Whilst she told her beads with her left hand, she held in her right hand a lighted candle which was frequently blown out by the strong draught which was blowing along the Gave; but each time, she gave it to the person nearest her to have it re-re-lit. “I was following with great attention all the movements of Bernadette, and I wished to know what was the state of the circulation of the blood and of the respiration at this moment. I took one of her arms and placed my fingers upon the radial artery; the pulse was tranquil and regular, the respiration easy, nothing indicated any nervous excitement in the young girl. “Bernadette, after I let her arm free, rose and advanced a little toward the Grotto. Soon I saw her face, which until then had expressed the most perfect joy, grow sad; two tears fell from her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. This change occuring in her face during her station surprised me. I asked her, when she had finished her prayers and the mysterious Being had disappeared, what had passed within her during this long station. She answered : ‘The Lady, looking away from me for a moment, directed Her glance afar, above my head. Then, looking down upon me again, for I had asked Her what had saddened Her, she replied – ‘Pray for the sinners’. I was very quickly reassured by the expression of goodness and sweetness which I saw return to Her face, and immediately She disappeared.’ “In leaving this place, where her emotion had been so great, Bernadette retired as she always did, in the most simple and modest attitude.” THE LADY DOES NOT APPEAR After the last Apparition, Bernadette had been interrogated by Monsieur Jacomet, the Police Commissioner; he had sought a retraction from the child, believing that she was lying in her account of visions and a mysterious Lady. He did not succeed. Other than an account of what she had already made known, the little one gave nothing more away. Jacomet tried to trick Bernadette into contradicting herself and her story – attempting to mix up the details of the story and get her to make a mistake. He did not succeed. Finally, he had sought a promise that she would never again return to the Grotto. At this point the interrogation had been interrupted by the arrival of Francois Soubirous, Bernadette’s father, and the interview was abruptly terminated. Jacomet had failed at every turn. Bernadette had retained her simplicity, humility, veracity and sweet nature throughout. On Monday 22 February, 1858, the Soubirous parents ordered Bernadette to go straight to school and to go nowhere near the Grotto; they had been terrified of the Police Commisioner. The child did as instructed. At lunchtime she returned home for a small meal and to collect a book. She left the Cachot, but at the road to the Hospice (run by the Sister of Charity of Nevers) she was halted. “An invisible barrier prevented me from passing” she related later. She could not move forward along the road – she was able only to go in the opposite direction, toward the Grotto. Then she felt again the interior call to the Grotto and all hesitation left her. Her course was set. This scene was witnessed by some of the local gendarmes, stationed nearby – they could not understand why Bernadette appeared unable to move forward. But upon seeing her change of direction, they guessed where she was headed. Taking another road, two of them caught up with her and asked where she was off to. She replied simply, “I am going to the Grotto”. They said nothing more, but followed her in silence until she reached her destination. A local woman by the name of Mademoiselle Estrade, had been walking that day and had gone to see the now-famous Grotto. She gives the account of this days events, which she herself witnessed: “My companions and I noticed a number of people collecting at a spot where the path by the fort joins the forest road. All were looking down the river and soon a cry of satisfaction was uttered by the group – ‘There she is! She is coming!’. “We asked who was expected and they told us it was Bernadette. The child was coming along the path; beside her were two gendarmes and behind them a crowd of children. It was then that I saw for the first time the face of Mary’s little protégé. The seer was calm, serene and unpretending. She passed in front of us as tranquilly as if she had been alone. “My companions and I arrived at the Grotto. Bernadette was on her knees and the gendarmes were standing a little way off. They did not disturb the child during her prayer, which was long. When she rose, they questioned her and she told them she had seen nothing. The crowd dispersed and Bernadette went away also. “We heard that the seer had gone into the Savy mill and wishing to see her, we went to the mill to find her. She was sitting on a seat and a woman was beside her; I learnt that this woman was the mother. I asked the woman if she knew the child. She replied, ‘Ah, Mademoiselle, I am her unhappy mother!’. I asked why she called herself unhappy. ‘If you only knew, Mademoiselle, what we suffer! Some laugh at us, others say our daughter is mad. Some even say that we are receiving money for this!’. “I asked what she herself thought of the girl and she said – ‘I assure you, Mademoiselle, that my child is truthful and honest and incapable of deceiving me. Of that I am certain. People say she is mad. It is true that she suffers from asthma but apart from that she is not ill. We forbade her to return to the Grotto; in anything else I am sure she would have obeyed us, but in this matter – well, you see how she escapes our control. She was just telling me that an invisible barrier prevented her from going to school and that an irresistible force dragged her in spite of herself to Massabieille.’ “

List of All Apparitions

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