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Full text of "The wonders of Lourdes"

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OUR LADY OP L 



ADY OP LOURDES. 



TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF HENRI LASSERB& 

One Yol. 12mo, 500 pages. 

Cloth extra, $2 00 

Cloth gilt, 250 

A work honored urith a special brief addressed to the authca 
fry his Holiness the Pope, Pius IX. 

SEVENTH EBITIOK. 



THE 

WONDEKS OF LOURDES. 

"BT 
Cranslatett from tfje jFrencfc 

OF 

Mas. DE SEOTTB 

BT 

ANNA T. SADLIER. 



"3 

NEW YORK: 
D. & J. Sadlier & Co., 31 Barclay Street. 

KB NOTRE DAME STREET, MONTREAL. 



Every person reading this book should procure a copy of Lassenre s 
iplete and unabridged work, 



complete and unabrid 

OF J.OURDES. H 



Extract from the brief to the Author from His Holiness Pope 

Pius IX.: " 

"We firmly believe that She who, from every Quarter, attracts towards 
herself, by miracles oi her power and goodness, multitudes of pilgrims, wills, 
In the same manner, to employ your book in order to propagate more widely 
and to excite towards herself the piety and confidence of mankind, to the 
end that all may participate in the plenitude of her graces. As a pledge of 
the success of your work, receive our apostolic benediction, which we ad 
dress to you very affectionately, as a testimony of oar gratitude and our 
paternal benevolence. 



Batered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by 

D. & J. SADLIER & CO., 
la the Office of tbe Librarian of Congress, Washington, D.C, 



PREFACE. 



THE particulars of the accounts given here are 
taken from the most authentic sources : firstly, 
from the excellent and admirable work of my friend 
Mr. Henri Lasserre, already known throughout 
France, and far beyond it. Scrupulously accurate, 
Mr. Lasserre wished to see everything, hear every 
thing, and judge of everything for himself. lie pass 
ed entire months at Lourdes and in its vicinity, 
sparing neither expense nor fatigue to go and ques 
tion those who were said to have b^en miraculously 
cured ; hence his testimony is rather that of the 
actors themselves and of the witnesses to the pro 
digies which he relates, and of which his lively and 
ardent faith has made him the faithful recorder. 

I have next borrowed my information from the 
Annals of Our Lady of Lourdes, collected on the 
spot by the pious missionaries, who see with their 
own eyes and hear with their own ears what they 
.publish in their monthly report, which always has 
the approbation of the bishop of the diocese. The 
missionaries are, as it may be said, located on the 
spot ; and this circumstance gives to their testi 
mony an indisputable value. 
Those from whom I have borrowed all my facts 



tv Preface. 

may, then, repeat with the Apostle St. John : " We 
declare unto you that which we have heard, which 
we have seen with our eye% which we have looked 
upon, and which our hands have handled. And 
these things we write to you, that you may rejoice, 
and that your joy may be perfect." 

Therefore I cannot too highly recommend the 
reading of the Annals and of Mr. Lasserre s book. 
Its contents are adapted to convert, touch, and 
greatly console. 

In this little abridgment of the Wonders of the 
Grotto of IjOiirdes, in citing facts which are not my 
own, I have only shortened, condensed, and some 
times slightly changed the form. But the founda 
tion is intact, the accuracy strict, and the merit, 
if merit there be, is due entirely to the pious mis 
sionaries of the Annals and to the illustrious and 
charming historian of Our Lady of Lourdes. 

I have no need to declare here, what is always un 
derstood by a Catholic author when he relates facts 
of this nature, that I in nowise pretend to antici 
pate the official decision of the Church touching 
their miraculous character. In presenting them as 
miracles, as facts evidently supernatural, as divine 
manifestations, I fully submit to the judgment of * 
the ecclesiastical authority, which is alone compe 
tent to decide finally on such important and delicate 
questions. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



MM* 
Ex-Voto, ......... 18 

L 

A Word on Pilgrimages and Shrines, , * 15 

n. 

The favored Grotto of Lourdes, ..... 19 

m. 

Little Bernadette, 21 

IV. 

Thursday, February 11, 1858, . .... 25 

V. 
The First Apparition, ... 25 

VL 

The Second Apparition, . . . ". 38 

vn. 

The Third Apparition and the first Words of the 

Blessed Virgin, 81 

7 



viil Contents. 

VEIL 

PAM 

The first three Days of the Miraculous Fortnight, . 86 

IX. 

Contradictions and Persecutions endured by poor lit 
tle Bernadette, 89 

X. 

The fifth Day of the Fortnight, ..... 45 

XI. 

Bernadette at the Feet of the Blessed Virgin, . . 47 

XIL 
The heavenly Beauties of the Vision, ... 63 

XIII. 

Apparition of Tuesday, February 23. First Secret, 

and demand for a Shrine, . . 56 

XTV. 

Apparition of Wednesday, February 24 Second 

Secret, and exhortation to penance, ... 60 

XV. 

Apparition of Thursday, February 25. Third Secret, 

and the miraculous Fountain, .... 06 



Contents. be 

XVL 

MM 
Friday, February 28. The first miraculous Cure, . 70 

xvn. 

Apparitions of the last Days of the Fortnight, . . 74 

XVHL 

Marvellous close of the Fortnight Resuscitation of 

little Justin, . . . . *. . 79 

XIX. 

Ridiculous Efforts of the Police Force to put down 

Fanaticism and Superstition, .... 87 

XX. 

The Apparition of March 25. " I am the Immaculate 

Conception," ...... 97 



The Apparition of Easter Monday, April 5. The 

Miracle of the burning Taper, .... 103 



Miraculous cure of young Henri Busquet, . . 105 

XXIIL 

Eighteenth and last Apparition of the Blessed Virgin 

to Beraadette. 108 



x Contents 

XXIV. 
Bernadette since the Apparitions, . . 110 

XXV. 

The Episcopal Decision, and the Canonical Institu 

tion of the Pilgrimage, ..... 117 

XXVL 
The Miracles of Our Lady of Lourdes, . 124 

XXVH. 
Sudden cure of a Protestant Free-thinker, . 128 

XXVIH. 
Little Pierre Estournet s Eyes, ..... 181 

XXEX. 
A dying Girl instantly resuscitated, . . . 135 



Sudden cure of an old Militia-Man, . . 145 



Instantaneous cure of a young Working-Girl in her 

Agony, ........ 157 



Marvellous cure of a Boy of fifteen, dumb and para 
lytic, . . . 



Contents. 



Cure of a Mother of a Family afflicted with Cancer in 

the Tongue, . . . . .* . 178 

XXXIV. 

Sudden cure of a little School-Girl threatened with loss 

of Bight, . . . .M5 

XXXV. 

Cure of a Switch-Tender, related by himself, . 187 

XXXVL 
Instantaneous cure of a young consumptive Peasant 

Girl, ......... 1 W 

xxxvn. 

Touching cures of Children lately worked by the 

miraculous Water of Lourdes, ... 201 

XXXVIII. 

A Workman of sixty suddenly cured of Varicose 
^ Swellings, declared incurable ..... 213 



The Seminarian of Li6ge, . . 

XL. 

Instantaneous and radical cure of a young Village-Girl 
dying in Convulsions, .... 



xH Contents. 

XLL 

Miraculous cure of Pierre Hanquet, Master-mason at 

kfege, . 23C 

XML 

What Inference does Faith draw from all these Mar 
vels? 241 

XLrn. 

What the Heavenly Apparition of the Grotto teaches 

our Piety, . . . . 944 



THE WONDERS OF LOURDES. 



EX-V0TO. 

ON the 17th of October 1869, it seemed that my 
mother was to be snatched from those who loved 
bor, by a terrible attack which in a few hours 
reduced her to the last extremity. A skillful physi 
cian candidly warned me of the danger, adding that 
certain alarming symptoms left him no hope. Tho 
distortion of her features, it appears, was frightful, 
and her pulse had almost ceased to beat. 

After having received the last Sacraments with 
great faith and humility, the dying woman, who 
was perfectly conscious, remained in the same con 
dition for several hours, "It will be to-night," 
she said to me, calmly, "it will be at sunset." 

A pious friend of the family, who had come to 
bid her a last farewell, was inspired to have recourse 
to Our Lady of Lourdes. This thought was joyfully 



14 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

received by all : by a providential coincidence, the 
last book which my mother and I had read together, 
towards the end of our vacation, was precisely Mr. 
Lasserre s beautiful and touching book on the mir 
acle of Lourdes. 

In about two hours, our excellent friend brought 
us a small flask filled with water from the miracu 
lous grotrto ; we put some of it on the bandage 
of ice-water which had been placed on the 
patient s head, and I made a vow if " the Blessed 
Virgin left us our mother, that I would go and cel 
ebrate in the very Sanctuary of Lourdes, a Mass of 
thanksgiving. 

A few minutes after the water of Lourdes had 
touched my mother, she fell into a peaceful sleep, 
^wjhich lasted till the close of day. The sun 
went down, and she did not die. " Then, it will 
undoubtedly be to-morrow morning," said she to 
me again, " unless Our Lady of Lourdes. . . . These 
sort of attacks return almost always at sunrise ot 
sunset." 

Next morning, the sun rose and the day began 
without anything occurring. That evening, the 
next day, and the day following that, it was the 
same. The actual danger passed away from hour 
to hour, so much so that at the end of ten or twelve 
daysj she began to be convalescent. 

The doctor, who was a true Christian, watched 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 15 

with mingled joy and astonishment the progress of 
BO unhoped for a cure. Without wishing to present 
this cure as a miracle, I cannot help regarding it as 
a supernatural favor, and as a very great grace, due 
to Our Lady of Lourdes. 

Full of gratitude, I have then fulfilled my vow. 
I have had the happiness of venerating that sacred 
grotto, still balmy with the fragrance of the Mother 
of GOD. And as I wished to leave at that blessed 
shrine a little offering in token of my gratitude and 
love, I promised Our Lady of Lourdes to collect in 
a little popular work, within reach of all minds and 
of all purses, the wonders that the divine mercy has 
deigned to accomplish in that place. 

It is this little work that I now place at the feet 
of the Blessed Virgin in the grotto of Lourdes, and 
which I here offer to your piety, my dear reader. 



I. 

A WORD ON PILGRIMAGES AND SHRINES. 

THERE are on the earth a certain number of priv 
ileged spots, where the mercy of the good GOD lovea 
to manifest itself with a sort of prodigality. These 
blessed places are called Sanctuaries, that is to say, 
places specially sanctified and sanctifying. They 



1 6 The Wonders of Lonrdes. 

are also called pilgrimages, because of the luimbet 
of pilgrims who go there to pray and implore graces. 

Pilgrimages are, in fact, fountains, or, to better 
express it, volcanoes of graces. A volcano is a 
mountain whence escapes, if not always, at least 
often, the mysterious fire with which the whole inte 
rior of the earth is filled. This fire, whose power is 
inconceivable, forms for itself here and there oper- 
ings by which it communicates with the inhabited 
earth, tearing up the soil all around it, continually 
giving forth smoke more or less dense, and at times 
breaking out in eruptions, as they are called, and 
sending from its crater torrents of burning lava. 

Such are, in a spiritual sense, our pilgrimages, 
our great Sanctuaries. " The earth is full of the 
mercy of the Lord" says the Holy Scripture ; this 
divine mercy supports and fertilizes our souls ; like 
the central fire of the earth, which maintains a cer 
tain degree of heat in the ground, without which 
everything would perish. But besides, in order to 
satisfy the wants of His heart and to revive 
unceasingly our faith and confidence, the good 
GOD deigns to manifest to, and so to say to 
inundate us with the treasures of His love. For 
this purpose He chooses certain spots, which thus 
become meeting-places of prayer, of piety, of ador 
ation, where the faithful acquire new strength, and 
poor sinners are more easily converted. Always^ 



The Wonders of Lourdes . 17 

in these Sanctuaries, the divine grace flows more 
abundantly than elsewhere, like the smoke of a vol 
cano which never ceases; and often, whether for 
the consolation of the good, for the conversion or 
confusion of sinners, the almighty mercy of GOD 
there manifests itself by prodigies, by sudden cures, 
and other miracles of this kind. 

To each of these blessed places whence the divine 
mercy seems to gush forth as from a fountain of 
life, the beautiful invitation of the apostle Saint 
Paul to the Hebrews may be applied, "Let us go, 
therefore, with confidence to the throne of grace, 
that we may obtain mercy ! " Yes, let us go with 
a simple faith, an humble confidence to these Sanc 
tuaries of grace, where we are sure of receiving 
much. Since it is there that the good GOD awaits 
us, calls us to do us good, why not respond to so 
sweet an invitation ? 

When one makes a pilgrimage piously, or enters 
with full sail into the current of the divine will, one 
is assured of being in the spirit of the Church, and 
following the footsteps of the Saints, who have all 
had devotion to pilgrimages. 

Now, why does GOD choose such a place rathei 
than any other to there display His glory, or that of 
His Mother, or that of His Saints? This is the 
gecret of His providence, and it is the simplest way 
for us to say that we know nothing of it. In every 



1 8 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

thing, we very quickly find a why without an an 
swer. GOD is the master of His works and of His 
gifts. When He deigns to confer benefits on us,j 
let us content ourselves with humbly adoring and 
thanking Him. 

Speaking here only of the Sanctuaries of the 
Blessed Virgin, let us remark how much our Cath 
olic France has been privileged in this respect. 
There is scarcely a diocese which does not possess 
some one of these pilgrimages where the merciful 
heart of MARY is pleased to console and sanctify 
her children, and that sometimes for ages. The 
history of each of these pilgrimages has been col 
lected with pious respect, and forms, under the title 
of Our Lady of France, a work full of information 
and of touching reminiscences. 

Who has not heard of Our Lady of Victory, of 
Our Lady of Chartres, Our Lady of Fourvieres, Our 
Lady of La Salette, Our Lady of La Garde (Our 
Lady of Guard), of Good Help (de Bonsecours), of 
Boulogne, of the Vine (de la Treille), of Liesse, of 
Se*ez, of Deliverance (la Deliverande) ? 

The Sanctuary of Lourdes is the last that came. 
Without wishing to take from the others, it must 
be confessed that it already shines with a won 
derful lustre, and that the Blessed Virgin seoms 
there to multiply more and more the prodigies of 
her power. In order to enlighten and at the same 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 19 

time excite the piety of pilgrims, I venture to pre- 
sont to them this pamphlet, in which I collect in a 
fc\v pages the incomparable recollections of the 
Sanctuary of the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. 



II. 

THE FAVORED GROTTO OF LOURDES. 

LOURDES is a pretty little Pyrenean town, in the 
diocese of Tarbes. Prior to the marvels which wa 
are about to relate, Lourdes was little known except 
for its excellent chocolate. It is situated at tho 
entrance to several mountain gorges Which lead to 
the most frequented mineral springs of the Pyrenees, 
amongst others Cauterets, Saint Sauveur Bareges, 
Bagneres de Bigorres, Bagneres de Luchon. 

At some distance from the town, towards the 
west arises an almost perpendicular wall of rocks, 
known in the neighborhood as the Rocks of Massa- 
bielle, which means old rocks. Nearly at the foot 
of the rock flows the stream or torrent, formed by 
the waters which descend from the neighboring 
mountains, and at that period, a little stream was 
detached from the stream and ran along by the 
Uocks of Massabielle, for the use of a mill and \ 
Baw-milL 



2O The Wonders of Lourders. 

In this wall of gray stones, nature has holloaed 
a grotto about twelve feet in height and of equal 
depth. The roof, smooth and even, forms a curve 
and at the end on the left side it meets the ground 
at a sharp angle. The right side is nearly perpen 
dicular. 

Inside, on the right, facing the spectator, and 
about six or seven feet from the ground, may be 
remarked a hollow in the form of a niche about 
six feet high, and very much like an elongated O. 
This excavation is natural, like the grotto itself. 
Never had the hand of man touched these wild 
rocks. The niche is not deep; and by its very con 
formation, the grotto was neither dark nor damp. 
Wild shrub* gracefully frame the grotto in an arch 
of foliage. The earth becomes deeper as you go up. 

This grotto was the place designated by Provi 
dence for the manifestation of the glory and good 
ness of the Blessed Virgin. 

In the month of February of the year 1858, a 
sweet-brier or wild rose bush was the only orna 
ment of the grotto of Massabielle. It grew caprici 
ously at the foot of the niche, and its long branches 
fell outside of it. 

No one ever came to this lonely spot, unless it 
were some shepherds, who, surprised by bad weather, 
sought a shelter in the grotto. The earth in the 
cavern was, in fact, very dry. 



Tkt Wonders of Lourdes. 31 



IIL 

LITTLE BERNADETTE. 

MARiE-Bernarde Soubirous, of Lourdes, to whom 
we will give her familiar name of BERNADETTE, was, 
in 1858, a little girl of fourteen, humble amongst 
the humble of this world. Her family lived by 
work and saving, in a poverty which was little short 
of misery. 

Bernadette was born delicate; at fourteen, she 
was still thin, small, and sickly; she was subject to 
asthma from her cradle. She had been brought up 
in the neighboring parish of Bartres; and a good 
part of her childhood was passed, on the peaceful 
hills of that village, minding a little flock of sheep. 

Nothing distinguished her from ordinary child 
ren. The habitual oppression of her breath de* 
stroyed in her the vivacity of childhood. 

This frail child hid a treasure which GOD guarded ; 
this was her heart, her innocence. Simple, childish, 
extremely docile, very affectionate, all was candor 
in her looks, speech and face. Her features were 
commonplace; but her countenance was sweet, 
agreeable, and very sympathetic. She had fine black 
hair, and her brown eyes were full of sweetness. 

At fourteen, Bernadette had not yet made her 



22 The Wonders of Lourders. 

First Communion. Yet her baptismal innocence re 
uuiined intact in her soul. 

She had a horror of evil, and faults committed in 
her presence pained her. Her sister, three yeara 
younger, relates with tenderness and respect, that 
Bernadette often scolded her for not caring to pray, 
for her abruptness and her rough ways. 

During the prayer which was said every evening 
in common and aloud, little Bernadette s posture 
was alway very respectful; she never leaned against 
anything ; she was inclined to recollection. 

Notwithstanding her ignorance, the simple child 
prayed much. She loved prayer, although as yet 
she only knew the Rosary. With her poor beads, 
she often spoke, during the day, to the Blessed 
Virgin MARY, whom she scarcely knew. The 
Virgin-Mother of Nazareth loved Bernadette, let 
her grow up humble and pious, and waited for her. 

The priest who had charge of the parish of Bar- 
tres, at the time when Bernadette was to leave the 
village to prepare herself at home for her First Com 
munion, met her one day, leading her flock. The 
child s air of innocence and candor went to his 
heart. He saluted her with a sort of respect; and 
going back to look at her again, he said to himself: 
" The children to whom the Blessed Virgin appeared 
on the mountain of La Salette, must have been like 
this little one." 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 2$ 

The good priest never suspected that in these 
words was a gleam of prophecy. 



IV. 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY llTfl, 1858. 

THURSDAY, February llth, 1858, the woman Sou- 
birous allowed her daughter to accompany her 
little sister Marie and a little neighbor, who were 
going to look for dead wood on the banks of the 
Gave, besideathe rocks of Massabielle. Bernadetto 
wore a poor dress of coarse black wool, all patched, 
and her head was covered with the pretty head dress 
of the Pyrenean peasants, called capulet. Her 
capulet of white wool covered her shoulders. 

The three children set out gaily about half-past 
eleven. Half an hour after, they were at work, on 
the common ground beside the stream, facing the 
grotto of which we have spoken. It was cold; the 
weather was cloudy, but calm. 

Bernadette was a little behind; less fortunate 
than her two companions, she had not yet found any 
dead wood. They had just crossed the bed of the 
stream, then almost dry; they had waded over 
with bare feet, and when putting on their little 



24 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

sabots,* they called to Bernadette that the watef 
was very cold. 

Weakened by her asthma, poor Bernadette hesi 
tated to wet her feet. " I dare not go into the 
water," said she to them, " with such a cold as I 
have." She, however, decided to do so, and sitting 
on a large stone, she began to take off her shoes. 
A sudden noise, like an impetuous wind, caused her 
to raise her head and look round. It was strange! 
the poplars which grew on the bank were perfectly 
motionless. " I was mistaken," said the astonished 
child; and she again bent down to remove her stock 
ings. But the mysterious voice immediately began 
again, and seemed to be in the grotto.* Bernadette 
raised her head, and looked before her. . . . She 
would have cried out; but emotion choked her voice; 
stupefied by what she saw, she grew weak and fell 
on her knees. 

A wonderful apparition appeared before her at 
the end of the grotto, in the niche or excavation 
which we have described. 

Just then the Angelus bell resounded from all 
sides. 

* Wooden shoes. 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 2$ 

V. 

THE FIRST APPARITION. 

IN the midst of a dazzling light, brilliant as that of 
the sun, but sweet and peaceful like everything 
heavenly, a Lady admirably beautiful appeared tc 
the eyes of the child. 

She seemed to be of ordinary size, in all the glory 
of youth. She was clad in a long white robe, all 
resplendent and of a material unknown to earth. 
This robe was fastened at the waist by a flowing 
azure girdle. 

A large plain white veil, like the dress, covered 
her head and shoulders and the whole body, reach 
ing to the ground. The feet, of virginal whiteness, 
were bare, and seemed to rest on the wild rose-bush. 
Two bright roses of a gold color adorned the upper 
part of the Virgin s feet. Her hands were clasped 
on her breast as if in fervent prayer; she held a 
long rosary, as white as snow, whose beads seemed 
joined by a chain of glittering gold; a beautiful 
golden cross as bright as the gold of the roses, hung 
from the rosary. 

The countenance of the Apparition was of ineffa 
ble beauty. It breathed at once majesty, innocence, 
goodness, peace and tenderness. The forehead was 
smooth and wonderfully fair, the eyes, of celestial 



26 The Wonders of Lour$e$. 

blue, shed a charm, a sweetness which made littlo 
Bernadette s heart melt with love. The lips breath 
ed a divine goodness, and gentleness. 

Moreover there was nothing vague nor indistinct 
in this heavenly apparition. It was not a phantom, 
it was a living reality which the happy child beheld; 
and all glorious as it was, it was a real body, living 
and acting. 

Entranced with admiration, the humble child 
could not believe her eyes. From the midst of the 
light, the beautiful Lady smiled most sweetly on 
her. She seemed to salute her with her hands, and 
kindly bent her head. 

Bernadette rubbed her eyes, instinctively soughi 
in her pocket, took out her rosary; and, to protect 
herself, attempted to make the sign of the cross 
But her hand fell powerless. A vague uneasiness 
took possession of her. But at that moment, the 
Lady took, with her right hand, the cross of tli 
rosary which hung from her left wrist, made the 
sign of the cross, and by a smile of ineffable benignity 
seemed to say to the child: Do as I do. The child 
imitated her, and her arm freely obeyed. The Lady 
clasped her hands and passed the beads of her rosary 
between her fingers. Bernadette recited her 
chaplet. 

Her sister had been watching her for a moment 
saw her pale, with eyes fixed; she remarked the 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. 27 

double movement of her arm, the motionless and at 
tentive attitude of prayer. " Stop," said she to her 
companion ;"look at Bernadette praying." 

"What an idea to come hereto pray!" answered 
the other. "It is quite enough to pray in church! 
Bah! let her do it. She can do nothing else." 

They paid no farther attention to Bernadette, and, 
to keep from being cold, they began to run and jump, 
picking up little branches. They passed there several 
times while Bernadette was reciting her rosary. 

Bernadette was all the time motionless, on her 
knees, looking at the mysterious Lady, so sweet and 
BO beautiful. 

The Lady, with ravishing grace and goodness, 
beckoned for her to approach, without other call 
than this gesture and her smile. Bernadette dared 
not stir. At last, the Lady held out her arms, gently 
bent her head, smiled as if saying farewell 

Bernadette saw once more the cold rock, the bare 
rose-bush, heard and saw her companions playing. 
The heavenly vision had disappeared. 

The Immaculate Virgin MARY (for it was she ) 
had withdrawn into the impenetrable secresy of that 
heavenly world which except by a miracle our senses 
cannot perceive here below. 

Bernadette arose, bared her feet quickly, crossed 
the stream, and approaching her two companions 
aid to them in a voice still much agitated: "Have 



28 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

you seen nothing ? " And as the children quietly 
answered that they had not, she was silent; and all 
three together set out on the road to Lourdes. 

However, questioned by her little sister, she finally 
related to her all the details of what she had seen, 
but making her promise to keep the secret. Her 
mother having heard of the occurrence, would not 
believe it, and told Bernadette that it was all imagi 
nation, and forbade her to return to the grotto. 
She feared that it might be some snare of the devil for 
her child. Bernadette kept silent; but her little 
heart was oppressed. At the evening prayers, she 
burst out sobbing, when she came to her favorite 
invocation: O MAKY! conceived without sin, pray 
for us who have recourse to thee. The dear child 
did not however suspect that the apparition in the 
grotto was the Blessed Virgin; but since she had 
seen the " beautiful Lady," she felt an irresistible 
desire to return to the grotto, in the hope of seeing 
her again. 



VL 

THE SECOND APPARITION. 

THE Sunday following, the fourteenth of Febru 
ary, Bernadette s sister, the little neighbor Jeanne, 
and some other children, begged Mother Soubiroua 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 29 

BO hard that she allowed Bernadettt to return to the 
grotto. The weather was very fine. 

A thought had, however, come into these little 
heads : might not this extraordinary apparition be 
a trick of the devil? 

" Perhaps it is something wicked," said the chil 
dren to Bernadette. " In any case, you must throw 
some holy water on it. If it is the devil, it will go 
away. You will say to it : If you come from GOD, 
approach ; if you corne from the devil, go away. r 
In the depth of her heart, Bernadette was sure that 
the apparition did not come from the devil. She, 
however, promised to do as her little companions 
advised. They started ; on passing by the church, 
they took some holy water in a little bottle ; and 
reached the grotto. 

Nothing was to be seen. " Let us kneel down," 
said Bernadette, " and say our beads." The holy 
prayer had no sooner commenced than the face of 
the Blessed Virgin s little friend brightened sudden 
ly, illumined with joy ; her eyes were fixed on the 
hollow in the grotto with an indescribable expres 
sion of happiness ; the radiant Lady "was there 
before her, as the first time, surrounded with splen 
dor, with smiling face, and the beautiful white and 
gold rosary passing silently through her fingers. 

" Look ! " then said Bernadette, much agitated ; 
" look ! there she is " But the children saw notb- 



3O The Wonders of Lourdes. 

ing. Yet Bernadette s face was so transfigured 
that they could not for an instant doubt the reality 
of the supernatural apparition. " O, see ! " added 
she, " see ; she smiles, and she salutes me." 

Then, one of the children placed the little bottle 
of holy water in the hands of the kneeling Bern a- 
dette. The latter rose, shaking the holy water 
several times, quickly, towards the mysterious Lady. 
" If you come from GOD," said she, in a loud voice, 
" approach." Strange to say, her companions heard 
nothing, and did not even perceive that she spoke. 

The holy water reached first the rose bush, then 
the feet of the Virgin, who, smiling still more 
sweetly, advanced to the edge of the niche, bending 
towards the child with an expression of ravishing 
sweetness. Bernadette said a second time : " If 
you come from GOD, approach ;" but she dared not 
add the rest, so evident was it to her that what she 
eaw could not come from hell. 

" See, now," said Bernadette, " when I throw the 
holy water, she raises her eyes to heaven and bends 
towards me." And, a moment after : " You do not 
see her ? she is there ; she is looking at us . . . 
she smiles . . . now she turns her head . . . 
see her feet . . . her flowing girdle . . . 
see, see, she has the beads rolled round her arm 
. . . Oh ! she is so beautiful ! . . . Now, 
nhe takes her beads ; she crosses herself." 



The Wonders of Loiirdes. 31 

Bernadette knelt down again, made the sign of 
the cross, remained motionless, and artlessly began 
her rosary. Kneeling, with clasped hands, her 
rosary between her fingers, her body extended as il 
drawn by a power from on high, pale, with colorless 
lips, her eyes raised and fixed, she remained there 
like a statue of a saint in an ecstasy. Her sweet 
face seemed as if of fine wax. She smiled, and 
bright tears rolled down amidst her smiles. 

The Blessed Virgin received the child s simple 
prayer, and showed herself to her, continuing to pass 
through her sacred hands the beads of her rosary. 

She smiled on her a last time, and disappeared. 

That evening, nearly all the town had heard of 
the wonders which the gcotto of Massabielle had 
already witnessed twice. 



VII. 

THE THIRD APPARITION, AND THE FIRST WORDS OF 
THE BLESSED VIRGIN. 

GOOD little Bernadette went home, her heart 
overflowing with joy ; she was wholly engrossed by 
what she had seen. She did not yet know who her 
heavoiily visitor was. The other children .felt 



32 The Wonders of Louties. 

afraid ; this supernatural and unknown being, 
whom they did not see, made them feel a sort of 
religious awe. " We are afraid, Bernadette," said 
they to her. " Do not let us go there any more. 
What you saw might do us harm." 

Her father and mother did not doubt the sincerity 
of their pious child ; but they could not believe in 
the reality of the apparition. " She is a child," said 
they. " She thought she saw it, but she saw noth 
ing. It is a child s fancy." 

Still the child s statements were so firm and so 
simple, the details which she gave so precise, she so 
evidently told the truth, that they knew not what 
to think. They no longer ventured to forbid her 
going to the grotto. 

Several persons came to the house to question 
Bernadette, and the little one s recital was so full of 
simplicity, that they all went away convinced of tha 
reality of her vision in the grotto. 

On Thursday, the eighteenth, two of them, 
Madame Millet, and a young girl belonging to the 
Sodality of the Blessed Virgin, Antoinette Peyret, 
came very early to take Bernadette with them to 
the grotto. They all three assisted at the half -past, 
five o clock Mass, and set out from there to the 
Rocks of Massabielle. " It is, undoubtedly, some 
soul from Purgatory asking for Masses," thought 
they. In this thought, they provided themselves 



The Wonders of LourJes. 33 

with a taper ; and, lest Bernadette should not un 
derstand what was said to her, they took with them 
}>uper and ink. 

However, a supernatural strength seemed to ani 
mate Bernadette ; her companions could not keep 
up with her ; hence she arrived some minutes before 
them, in front of the sacred grotto. She knelt down 
in her usual place, a little way from the rock, and 
began her rosary, watching the cavern, which was 
etill empty. All at once she uttered a cry of joy ; 
a heavenly radiance illumined the cavern ; a voice 
was heard calling her ; and immediately th^re ap 
peared, standing a few paces above her, the admir 
able Virgin. As usual, she was smiling and charm 
ing. She bent towards Bernadette with a motherly 
air, and, by a movement of her hand, signed for her 
to approach. 

Antoinette and Madame Millet then arrived and 
saw the face of the child entirely transfigured. 
They stopped, through a feeling of respect. Ber 
nadette saw them. " She is there," said she to 
them, softly. "She signs for me to advance." 
"Ask her," said the two women, " ask her if she is 
angry that we are with you. If so, we shall iv- 
tire." After having consulted for a moment tin? 
invisible Lady, Bernadette said to them: "You 
may remain." An4 both knelt piously beside the 
child, lighting their blessed tapers. 



34 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

Bernadette heeded nothing more but the sacred 
apparition. " Advance towards her, since she calls 
you, and makes signs to you," again said the two 
women. " Approach her. Ask her who she is; 
n hy she comes here ? Is she a soul from Purgatory 
asking for prayers and Masses ? Tell her to write 
what she desires, on this papei . We are disposed to 
do all that she wishes, all that may be necessary foi 
her repose." 

Bernadette was no longer afraid. The smile 
which had responded to her little exorcism on Sun 
day had dispelled all her uneasiness. With im 
plicit confidence she gave up her heart to the myste 
rious Lady, to-day again so radiant and so sweet. 
Little Bernadette, therefore, took the paper, ink 
and pen, arose and advanced towards the Appari 
tion, holding out these objects. The two womcf 
arose to follow her, and hear what would be said ; 
but Bernadette, without turning back, made them 
a sign not to advance, and they immediately retired, 
much confused. 

" My Lady," said the little girl, with simplicity, 
" if you have anything to tell me, would you have 
the goodness to write here who you are and what 
you desire ? " The two women did not hear the 
child speak ; nor did they remark any movement of 
her lips. 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. 35 

A moment after, Bernadutte let her arms fall 
slowly, waited for a little, and came back with the 
l>:mer. "Well; what did she answer?" "Oh! 
she smiled, and then said to me : What I have to 
tell you, I need not write. Only do me the favor to 
come here every day for fifteen days: I promised, 
and she said: * And I promise to make you happy 
not in this world, but in the other: " 

While Bernadctte returned to her companions, 
the Blessed Virgin followed her with her eyes, then, 
for a moment, looked tenderly at Antoinette, who 
was a member of the Sodality of the . Children of 
MARY. " She is looking at you, now," said Berna- 
dette to the young girl, who remained awe-stricken. 
" Ask her," said the two women again, " if it would 
displease her if we came with you every day during 
the fifteen days." Bernadette put the question ; and 
the Blessed Virgin, true Mother of Mercy, answered : 
" They may return with you; they, and othert 
besides. I wish to see many persons here" And 
she disappeared ; and, after her, the celestial light 
which had surrounded her also gradually vanished. 



36 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

VIII. 

THE FIES1 THREE DAYS OF THE TWO MIRACULOUi 
WEEKS. 

BERNADETTE S two companions related to her 
parents all that they had seen and heard. Much 
affected, they began to believe, and resolved that 
one or the other of them should accompany their 
daughter to see everything for themselves. Berna- 
dette repeated, with her usual candor, all that the 
Lady of the grotto had said, and how she had made 
her promise to return there every day for fifteen 
days. 

That day was a market-day at Lourdes. The 
news of the apparitions in the grotto of Massabielle 
spread amongst the crowd, and, by the next day, 
/he wonderful details agitated, not only the whole 
town of Lourdes, but the mountains and valleys, 
all the country round. 

" If the apparition is real," was generally said, " it 
is certainly the Blessed Virgin who is appearing to 
Bernadette." 

On Friday, the 19th, when at dawn, little Berna- 
dette accompanied by her father and mother, arrived 
in front of the grotto, she found about a hundred 
persons already there. 

From that time, the crowd of spectators increased 
every morning; on the 20th, there were four or five 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 37 

hundred at the grotto; on Sunday, the 21st, several 
thousands. They were everywhere around the 
grotto, and even on the common beyond the stream. 

The child s mother had the happiness of seeing 
with her own eyes her daughter as if entranced, in 
ecstasy, by the presence of the apparition; like all 
the spectators, she saw that little face, so humble 
and so plain in its natural state, all at once illumin 
ed and transfigured. Her brow was radiant. Her 
features assumed an indescribably lofty and superna 
tural expression; her lips, slightly parted, expressed 
admiration, and beatitude, and seemed to breathe of 
heaven; her eyes, fixed and brilliant with happiness 
contemplated, reflected an invisible beauty, which 
no other saw, tiut which all felt to be present and 
saw by a sort of reverberation on the ecstatic face of 
the child. 

All who saw Bernadette in ecstasy declared thnt 
they never beheld anything like it on earth, and 
that long years after, their impression of it was as 
vivid as on the first day. 

As to the little seer (voya?ite), as she was hence 
forth called, she preserved her simplicity, her sercn- 
ity, and her humility in the midst of these crowds. 
Always clad in her poor black dress, her head cov 
ered with her little white woolen capulet, she 
quietly advanced, taper in hand, knelt down before 
the grotto, took her rosary and prayed as if she were 
4 



38 The Wonders of Lourde*. 

alone. Everything about her breathed innocence, 
truth, and candor The heavenly apparition dis 
appeared almost always at the instant when the 
favored little one had finished her rosary. 

The people were always silent and respectful.^ 
They gently made way for Bernadette to pass, and 
the breath of grace passed over that extraordinary 
assemblage. 

On Sunday, the 21st, the Blessed Virgin appeared 
as usual to her little friend: she always wore her 
beautiful garments white and luminous, her blue 
girdle and her shining rosary. She smiled at Ber 
nadette, and graciously saluted her with her head 
and by a gesture of the hand. 

At one moment the apparition seemed to draw 
back, and as if to glide into the interior of the rock. 
So as not to lose sight of her, the child approached 
the edge of the cavern, dragging herself along on 
her knees; and remarking that the face of the beau 
tiful Lady had all at once become sad and sorrow 
ful; "What is the matter?" she ventured to say; 
"what must be done?" " Pray for sinners" an 
swered the Mother of Mercy. And the spectators 
saw two large tears roll down Bernadette s cheeks, 
whilst her eyes, fixed on MARY, remained wide open. 
Joy soon appeared again on the child s face, beeauso 
that of the Virgin had recovered its grace and 
serenity. After which, she disappeared. 



The Wonders of Lcurdes. 39 

IX. 

CONTRADICTIONS AND PERSECUTIONS ENDURED BT 
POOR LITTLE BERNADETTE. 

THE works of the good GOD are always crossed 
by the rage of the devil and by the ignorance or the 
passions of men. The great things which were i 
ing and being prepared at the grotto of Loir 
for the glory of GOD and the salvation of souls, 
were therefore promptly attacked aud misrepre 
sented. 

Some cried out " Superstition, illusion, folly." 
"This little girl is insane," said they; "she must 
be shut up." Others spoke of impostures, fraudulent 
tricks. "It is a cheat; ail will end with money. 
This child is playing a disgraceful farce. Jr. 
should interfere." Finally, others a little more 
moderate and better posted, admitted that they 
could not doubt either of the child s candor or pro 
bity. " It is simply," added they, " a natural phe 
nomenon, which comes within the range of medicine. 
Science knows perfectly the surprising effects of 
Acatalepsy, hysteria, and hallucination. Let a phy 
sician examine the thing closely, and certahily tl 
BO-ealled visions will melt away like snow in the 



The town of Lourdes was literally turned upside 
down. The commissary of police, who, as a goou 



4O The Wonders of Lourdes. 

magistrate, was not obliged to believe in miracle s, 
thought he had seized upon a magnificent opportunity 
to distinguish himself and show his zeal. Therefore ? 
in the afternoon of that same Sunday, as the people 
were coming out from Vespers, one of his agents, ma 
king his way through the crowd which surrounded 
and was questioning poor Bernadette, had the 
courage to arrest her " in the name of the law," and 
to the just indignation of all, " Follow me to the 
commissary of police," said he to the child. 

But it was the fox caught by the dove. The 
crafty commissary used every means: feigned kind 
ness, paternal caresses, sarcasms, intimidation, 
threats, promises: he employed all these to embar 
rass the poor child. As she told the truth, she could 
only answer according to the truth; and it was this 
truth which disconcerted and enraged the commis 
sary. He did not want the truth ; and on whatever 
side he turned, it arose before him bright and in- 
vulnerable; the Blessed Virgin was evidently assist 
ing her privileged child. "What unshaken firm 
ness in her statements," said a witness of the exam 
ination, to the commissary. " What truthful ac 
cents ! It is evident that she believes that she saw 
this ! She is sincere." 

The examination had lasted a full hour. The 
commissary was furious. Outside the crowd were 
indignant and were becoming threatening. Fathei 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 41 

Boubirous appeared to claim his child; but ho was 
so intimidated by the threats of the commissary, 
that he promised him to forbid Bernadette s return 
ing to the grotto. "For this time, I pardon her," 
said the commissary; "but in case of a second 
offence, she shall be put in prison. You know that 
the Pi-ocureur Imperial does not jest." And, dis 
missed by a brutal gesture, the father and child 
returned home, to the great satisfaction of the 
crowd. 

As to the honesty of Bernadette and her parents, 
it was several times and was always unsuccess 
fully triod They were offered money; most tempt 
ing promises were made to them; they refused them 
all; and yet GOD knows they were poor. 

Physicians and those who modestly called them 
selves " men of science," succeeded no better. On 
Sunday, the 21st, one of the best physicians of 
Lourdes, Doctor Dozous, wished to observe himself 
the " cataleptic or hysterical symptoms,"- which, ac 
cording to him, must explain all. He therefore 
went early to the grotto, and placed himself near 
Bernadette, so as to better examine them. 

He was bewildered: not one of the symptoms of 
these strange diseases, perfectly known to medicine, 
were here manifested. All absorbed as she was in 
the contemplation of the Blessed Virgin, the child 
had however perfect consciousness of all that wag 



42 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

passing around her: her taper going out, she imme 
diately held out her hand to have it relighted, and 
some one attempting to touch the rose-bush in thv3 
cavern with a stick, she quickly made a sign to stop, 
and her face expressed fear. " This," said the doc 
tor, " is not the stiffness of catalepsy, nor hal 
lucination with its unconsciousness; this is an ex 
traordinary case of an ordei altogether unknown to 
medicine." 

He took hold of Bernadette s aim; it was flexible 
and perfectly supple. He felt her pulse: the puls 
ation was tranquil, regular, entirely normal. No 
symptom whatever of disease. Decidedly " science" 
was at fault. 

In spite of this, the opposition continued and be 
came real persecution. The commissary of police 
was indignant, . although he brought the affair to 
the office of .the Procureur Imperial, to the prefec 
ture of Tarbes. A warrant was issued against the 
innocent % child, by "an administrative measure" 
(that is to say, by the right of the strong which ad 
mits of no dispute). Bernadette, declared insane, 
by the prefect, was on the point of being taken from 
her parents to be shut up in a lunatic asylum^ 
But for the truly sacerdotal energy of the venera 
ble pastor of Lourdes, the crime would have been 
perpetrated. " This child is innocent," cried the 
priest, indignantly, when the Procurenr Imperial 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. 43 

and the mayor of Lourdes came to announce the 
.prefect s decision; " this child is innocent. You could 
iiml no pretext upon which to prosecute her. Such 
a measure will be the most odious persecution, tho 
more odious that it strikes a poor defenceless crea 
ture. The prefect cannot, by any law, have Berna- 
dette arrested. 

" As a priest, as pastor of this parish, I owe a 
duty to all, and especially to the weakest. 

u I know my duty as a pastor. Gro, then, and tell 
the Prefect that his officers will find me at the 
threshold of this poor family, and that they shall 
have to pass over my body, before they touch a hair 
of this poor little girl s head. Make inquiries, you 
are free to do so ; but if you wish to strike the in 
nocent, know, that before reaching the least and 
humblest of my flock, it is by me you must com 
mence." They dared not go farther, and the inno 
cent child was saved by the Blessed Virgin in the 
first place, then, by the courage and faith of the 
Abbe Peyramale. 

That excellent priest had more right than an w 
other to take Bernadctte s cause in hand, for, since 
the commencement of the apparitions, he had main 
tained the most prudent, the most perfect reserve, 
relative to the occurrences in the grotto. He had 
exacted this same reticence from his assistants, leav 
ing to time in the first place, and then to his Bishop, 



44 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

the care of determining in a definite manner the reaj 
character of the mysterious apparitions. 

As for Bernadette, she had much to suffer before 
the evidence of the truth and power of the Immacu 
late Virgin should have triumphed over all obsta 
cles, 

One day, during the apparition, the commissary of 
police and the general of militia carried their insolence 
BO far as to attempt to put themselves, so to say, be 
tween Bernadette and the Mother of GOD. They 
placed themselves before the child in her ecstasy, 
and tried to disturb her. But her indignant god 
mother energetically defended the freedom of the 
little one, who was doing no harm and whom none 
had the right to annoy. 

Several times Bernadette s parents were threa 
tened, as well as herself. But nothing could subdue 
the quiet firmness of the poor child. This was what 
reassured her frightened relatives. She repeated to 
them: " They will not do all that they say, and GOD 
is stronger than they are. Do not fear. Do as I 
do; I am not afraid. If they put me in prison, they 
will have the trouble of taking me out again." 

This annoyance and persecution lasted for several 
months. But let us return to the story of the mar 
velous apparitions 



The Wonders oj Loutdes. 45 



THE FIFTH DAY OF THE FORTNIGHT. 

ON returning home, after the stormy scene with 
Jie commissary of police, Bernadette s father had for 
bidden her to return to the grotto. With a swell 
ing heart, the child submitted. She knew no more 
how to disobey than she did how to lie. 

On Monday, February 22nd, she was sent early 
to school, where other trials awaited her. Besides 
the privation which had been imposed upon her and 
which her loving little heart felt very deeply, she 
was grieved at seeing herself turned into ridicule 
by borne of the school children, and what was worse 
by some of tlie Nuns. These latter, GOD permitting 
it so in order to try the child, did not believe in the 
reality of the apparitions. They had not as yet 
had time to know Bernadette well; they also 
thought it their duty to forbid her going to the 
grotto. 

The poor child knew not what to do; she did not 
wish to disobey her father nor the Sisters; and yet she 
thought she was doing wrong in not keeping the prom 
ise which she had made to the mysterious Lady, so 
beautiful, so kind, so beloved. The good GOD him 
self took care to remove the difHcuty. When Ber 
nadette came out of school to go home, a strange, 



46 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

irresistible force took possession of her, and urged 
her like a leaf carried by the wind, towards the 
grotto. She readied there without well knowing 
how. 

A considerable crowd had been there all the morn 
ing, vainly awaiting the little seer. When she 
came about half -past twelve, a good many people 
were still there. 

But alas! days follow each other but are not all 
alike. Bernadette might pray, watch, say the rosary 
over and over again; nothing appeared. A long 
time passed thus. Much grieved, the child went 
away in tears. Assailed by a thousand questions, 
she gently answered, her eyes red with crying: " To 
day the Lady did not appear to me. I saw noth 
ing." Many people mocked her. " Other days," 
said Bernadette, " I saw her as I see you; and we 
spoke together, she and I; but to-day, she is not 
there, I do not know why! " 

She returned to the house, praying and weeping. 
" Did I commit any fault ?" she asked herself. But 
her conscience reproached her with nothing. In 
spite of her grief, she was full of hope. 

" Where were you ? " asked her father, the 
moment she entered. She related all that had 
passed. " And you say that some force carried you 
there against your will ?" " Yes," answered Berna 
dette. " That must be tru<>" thought he, " for this 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 47 

child has never lied." And after a moment s reflec 
tion, he made up his mind. " Well! " said he to his 
daughter, "since that is the case, I do not forbid 
you to go to the grotto. I give you leave to do so." 

This unhoped for permission tilled our dear 
nadette with joy. 



XI. 

BEBXADRTTE AT TUB BLKSSED VIRGIN S FEET. 

IN the first part of the miraculous fortnight Ber- 
nadette received no order from the Blessed Virgin. 
She usually remained kneeling on the stone, at the 
entrance to the grotto, during the period of the 
ecstacy. The time of the apparition was passed in 
the peaceful contemplation of the glorious and im 
maculate Virgin, the Queen of the Rosary, she, who 
is the sweetness of heaven and earth. 

Bernadette was there, calm and unmoved, with 
her eyes attentively fixed on the opening in the rock. 
She was saying Hail Marys on the beads of her 
rosary. 

Suddenly, a slight shiver announced the; august 
\i>it, her hands were raised a little with a gentle 
und rapid motion; her whole being seemed to ascend 
towards what she saw on the heights. 



4$ The Wonders of Lourdes. 

The crowd felt all this. "Now! . . . she sees 
her! she sees her! " The word passed through the 
entire multitude and caused some emotion. With 
fresh curiosity they crowded round, and it was 
necessary to protect the child from the pressure of 
the multitude. The silence became more profound; 
a religious recollection prevailed over the assembly; 
one would have thought himself in a sanctuary. 
Every eye was fixed on Bernadette. 

The child entranced, was seen to make graceful 
aud respectful gestures as if of salutation. A timid 
out happy and serene smile slowly overspread her 
face. She bent again, seeming to return mysterious 
and delightful greetings; then, with eyes still fixed, 
she made, with the crucifix of her rosary, a solemn 
sign of the cross, full of faith and of grace, a sign of 
the cross so beautiful, so noble, that those around 
her said: " Only the Saints in Heaven can do that, 
before the glory of the Saviour." 

In Bernadette s hands, the beads of the rosary 
moved sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, often 
ceasing; and, wonderful thing! whilst she said her 
Hail Marys, the eager spectators, who followed the 
slightest movements of her face, saw her lips almost 
always motionless. The nearest of them heard far 
down in her throat, silvery and scarcely audible 
Bounds. 

At certain moments, she seemed more deeply ab- 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 49 

orbed in t6o vision, as if listening to h&r. Several 
times she AMI it have spoken to the gracious Lady. 
No ear he-ivd her. One day, she said to a person, 
with iniii h surprise: "How! did you not hear me ? 
I spoke 6 t loud! " Yet there was neither sound nor 
motion tf. her lips. At intervals she renewed her 
beaut o\ and touching sign of the cross. 

For several days, her left hand held a lighted 
tape; ; whilst the right moved the beads of the 
rosary. When she had no taper, her hands were 
jo^ied, and .with her little thumb she moved the 
Wris of the rosaiy on her clasped fingers. 

One morning, a cold, brisk north wind made the 
far me of her taper flicker and threatened to extin 
guish it. The child instinctively held out her hand 
to protect it. Suddenly, the wind, striking the 
rock, blew directly on herself, and sent the flame 
/gainst her open hand. It licked her fingers, and 
n r as seen passing between them. "She is burning! 
^\id the people anxiously; "oh! poor little one! She 
h burning!" There was not the slightest contrac 
tion of her face, nor the least movement of her hand, 
*nd the fire left no trace. 

Motionless and as if held by a sweet attraction, 
B J iC was then actually beautiful. The crowd watched 
per in amazement. She was lovely not with the 
rosy and glowing freshness which makes us smile at 
the face of a child, but a strange and superior 
reauty. & 



50 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

Her cheeks were extremely pale, but vvitb. an in* 
describable shade of sweetness, as if the light shone 
through them; a slight flush faintly tinged the lips 
and cheeks, relieving the alabaster whiteness. 
The eyes were fixed with an eager, enraptured look; 
not a movement disturbed the eyelids. Her lips 
were sometimes seen to move, but faintly; almost 
always they remained closed without any effort! 
Over her whole face, a joyous reflection spread a 
dawning smile of ineffable sweetness, in which might 
be read an immense respect and admiration, mingled 
with an immense love, and which showed the pres 
ence of a being very great and very good. 

From time to time tears fell from her motionless 
eyelids,, rolling down like drops of dew, without 
spreading or moistening the face, and remaining 
for a long time shining on the whiteness of her 
cheeks. 

Whilst still kneeling, Bernadette seemed as if 
drawn upwards by some invisible and mysterious 
attraction. 

What every one felt, was that she was happy 
with an unknown happiness; that in that moment, 
earth was nothing to her soul. She seemed no more 
of this world. Every one spoke in a low voice so 
as not to disturb her. " She sees," they said; " oh I 
yes, she sees ! " 

The child was absorbed; all the powers of lie? 



The Winders of Lourdts. 5* 

being belonged to the Vision; nothing that passed 
around her could for an instant detach her attention 
from it. In this superhuman state, which drew her 
from herself, she remained at least an hour. 

The crowd, struck by the wonderful spectacle of 
which they saw but half, felt that she was in com 
munication Avith the other world, and that heaven 
was near her. They forced themselves to keep 
silent and respectful. Bernadette seemed to hear 
nothing. Her mother and her aunts protected her 
from the pressure of the crowd. 

As for the spectators, they tried to discover the 
invisible on the face of little Bernadette; they kept 
their eyes on it as on a mirror, to seek there the 
image of what made her so ravishing. Then, know 
ing well that they would see nothing, they looked 
longingly towards the hollow of the rock. To 
them, it was empty, cold, obscure. 

At length, after this long ecstasy of smiles and 
happy tears, of mysterious commune escaping all 
ear?, under the unwearying gaze of a multitude 
trembling at the manifest vicinity of a supernatural, 
invisible and ravishing Being, Bernadette, still kneel 
ing, bent her head several times with the easiest 
and most noble air, respectfully saluted, showing, in 
the expression of her transfigured countenance, 
regret at parting, saluted again, and then drew a 
long sigh, . . . and seemed to fall back agaiu 



52 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

on herself; the heavenly reflection died away; her 
em. le vanished; no more light in her eyes; a vague 
melancholy and an appearance of weariness on her 
face, her wonderful paleness gave place to the color 
of her ordinary complexion. 

The radiant Lady had vanished, drawing back 
into the interior of the cavern. Her magnificent 
light shone for a moment after her, grew dim, and 
died gradually away; and when its last rays had 
disappeared, Bernadette saw once more the rock, 
her mother, her aunt, the crowd; she had returned 
to ordinary life. 

The noise increased; the people were slowly dis 
persing; they crowded round Bernadette, but her 
mother and her aunt, who accompanied her, drew 
her away, defending her, as far as possible, against 
their importunate curiosity. The child climbed the 
bank, supported by them; an immense crowd fol 
lowed her to her home. 

Surprised at seeing the little shepherdess bowing 
with so much grace and dignity, at the end of the 
ecstasy, a lady said to her one day, " But, Berna 
dette, who taught you to make such pretty bows ? " 
"No one," answered she, astonished; "I do not 
know how I saluted; but I understand that I am to 
do everything like the Virgin, and she salutes me 
!<ke that when she is about to go." 

This is the exact account that has been given, 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 53 

of Bernadette in her ecstasy, without borrowing 
anything from imagination, and to which imagination 
has not added. 

What did the happy child see ? She repeated a 
thousand times that she was unable to tell. 

This is what the most ardent, the most ingenious, 
and, let us add, the most legitimate curiosity could 
obtain from the little seer by long and careful 
examination. 



XII. 

THE CELESTIAL BEAUTIES OP THE VISION. 

AMID an ever increasing brightness, a soft light 
which gilded the cavern and the rock, appeared the 
mysterious Lady, whose feet rested on the wild 
rose bush. 

And the Lady was admirably fair: the sweet and 
very youthful face as of one with an infinite grace, 
ravishing looks, smiles of unparalleled benignity, a 
motherly tenderness; and in this ineffable benevo 
lence, this freshness of divine youth, a grandeur, a 
majesty of which the child could give no image. 

When Bernadette had answered thus to a thou- 
eand questions which made her detail what she had 
not, dreamt of telling, she added with a thrilling 
accent: " She was beautiful, . . . beautiful . . . 
beyoni every thing." 



^1 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

Or.e day, in presence of some distinguished and 
brilliant women of the world, she was asked : " Was 
she as pretty as these ladies ? " 

" Oh ! " said the child, casting a disdainful glance 
at them, " a great deal more so. The Virgin wore 
a robe of dazzling whiteness ; it seemed to be drawn 
in at the back in graceful folds, the sleeves were 
narrow. Her head was covered only by a veil 
reaching to the line of the forehead : and following 
the outline of the face, it flowed over the shoulders, 
as white as two streams of milk, and, scarcely en 
veloping the arms in its waving folds, it fell over 
her sides to her feet. A blue girdle encircled her 
waist ; the two ends passed one into the other, into 
a single knot, hung down in front, broad and with 
out ornament, far below her knees. Her bare 
feet she covered under her trailing robe, and on 
each one bore a full blown rose of a golden color. 
From one of her arms hung a long rosary, the beads 
of which were white and sparkling, and the chain 
and crucifix shone like gold." 

All these beauties were seen in a light of intense 
brilliancy, and wonderfully soft. This splendor from 
another world wrapped the Virgin as in a garment 
of glory, and shone with a steady light. 

Bernadette, enraptured, fixed her eyes on the re 
splendent halo, and saw the Lady within it, clearly 
and distinctly. She gazed upon the features of the 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 55 

celestial cointcnamv, the folds of the garments; 
ghe admired the white and delicate hands. The 
Virgin s Iriir was always hidden from her sight. 

But when she was asked to give by comparison 
some, idea of those things, she could not do it. 

Ifo.v was the light? like that of the stars, like 
the mild light of the moon ? like the splendor of the 
dazzling midday sun ? "No; the halo resembled 
no earthly light; it was more beautiful, much more 
beautiful !" 

And the virginal robe ? Bernadette was shown 
vhe most dazzling white stuffs, the most delicate 
tissues ! She never recognized eitli3r the color or 
the kind of the marvellous stuff ; all whiteness was 
pale; all tissues, coarse. It was something else, and 
more beautiful, always more beautiful. 

Every possible shade of blue was placed before 
her eyes. She did not find the tint of the won 
derful Lady s girdle, and she said that the azure of 
heaven was not so blue. She saw mother-of-pearl, 
crystal, precious stones: the beads of the rosary were 
richer and more transparent. And the gold in the 
chain, the crucifix, did not look like the gold which 
men admire; it was entirely different and far more 
beautiful. 

The child could never become acci.-tomcd to tiii* 
celestial splendor. At the eighteenth otntei-i lation, 
sho was as powerfully affected by it as 01* tiu- iust day. 



56 The Wonders of Lourdts. 

The Virgin appeared standing, her feet resting OH 
the rose-bush. She saluted the child witl a gesture 
of the head, smiled graciously, bent again; then, 
with the- crucifix of her rosary, she made the sign 
of the cross majestically, and with ineffable piety, 
and, clasping her fingers, she moved one after the 
other the white beads, her lips were moving. 

The Virgin almost always kept her eyes fixed on 
those of Bernadette, now and then she cast them 
over the crowd with a happy smile. The little girl 
said that she seemed to take great pleasure in seeing 
these pious people brought thither by a suspicion of 
her presence. 

So appeared the Immaculate Virgin to the de 
lighted eyes of Bernadette, the eighteen times that 
ehe deigned to appear in the favored grotto of 
Lourdes. 



XIII. 

APPARITION OF TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2 3D FIRST 

SECRET, AND DEMAND FOR A SHRINE. 

IN appearing thus continually to little Bernadette, 
the Blessed Virgin daily took more powerful pos 
session of the blessed child, prepared her for her 
mi won, and rUsposed the people, by the oft repeated 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 57 

miracle of this quiet ecstacy to receive, as the mes 
senger of her will, the poor and obscure daughter 
of the Soubirous. 

* The Mother of GOD was about to reveal, through 
the ministry of this child, the merciful designs 
which caused her to descend to the grotto; and the 
exterior acts, required of Bernadette for the accom 
plishment of her mission, began on Tuesday, Feb 
ruary 23d, the sixth day of the miraculous fortnight. 

The Blessed Virgin, whom Bernadette had not yet 
recognized, had already spoken to her, it is true, in 
the preceding apparitions, and the child had also 
spoken to her; but in these mysterious conversa 
tions, the Queen of Heaven had not yet uttered any 
precise command. She began to do so on Tuesday } 
the 23d. 

In the midst of a dense crowd of .from eight to 
ten thousand persons, Bernadette arrived as usual at 
the grotto, about daybreak. She had knelt down in 
her usual place, outside the cavern; in her left hand 
was a blessed taper, in the other her rosary. 

Suddenly she heard the blessed voice of the Queen 
of Heaven^ calling her. " Bernadette / " Here 1 
am," immediately answered the child. " I have a 
secret to tell you, for yourself only, which concerns 
you atorce,"then said the Mother of GOD. "Do 
you promise me never to reveal it to any one? " " I 
promise you." 



58 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

The dialogue continued. Although the Blessed 
Virgin and the child spoke aloud, no one heard 
them. "What! you did not hear?" said she on 
coming out of her ecstacy. "Yet the Lady spoke 
aloud. She has such a sweet voice! " 

The Blessed Virgin then taught her a prayer, 
making her repeat it, word for word, with maternal 
condescension. This prayer the child recited at 
every apparition; but she would never make it 
known to any one. 

" A.nd now, my daughter" added the Blessed 
Virgin, " go and tell the priests that a shrine must 
be erected here, and that they. must come here in proces 
sion. " These words ended the apparition for that 
day. 

On leaving the Rocks of Massabielle, Bernadette 
immediately repaired to the pastor s house. The 
latter had as yet never spoken to her. " Are you 
not Bernadette ? " said he to her, gravely and almost 
sternly, as soon as he saw her coming towards him. 
* Yes, it is I, sir," quietly answered the humble mes 
senger of the Blessed Virgin. "Well, Bernadette, 
what do you want of me ? What brought you 
here ?" "I came, Father, on the part of the Lady, 
who appears to me in the grotto of Massabielle!" 
The priest seemed to treat the matter very ligntly 
and not to believe it. The child repeated with an 
air of candor, and with great confidence, the words 



The Wonfass of Lourdes. 59 

of the apparition. "And you do not know this 
Lady s name?" said the worthy pastor. "No," 
answered Bernadette. " She did not tell me who 
she was." " Those who believe you, imagine that it 
is the Blessed Virgin Mary. But take care; you 
alone say you see her; if you falsely pretend to see 
her in the grotto, you are taking the way never to 
see her in Heaven." " I do not know if it is the 
Blessed Virgin, Father," answered the child; 
" but I see the vision as I see you, and she speaks 
to me as truly as you speak to me. And I come to 
tell you, from her, that she wants a shrine to be 
raised to her at the Rocks of Massabielle, where she 
appears to me." 

Much agitated, the good Father Peyramale made 
her repeat the very words used by the Lady at the 
grotto. "After having confided to me the secret 
which concerns me and which I can not reveal to 
anyone," said .the child, " the Lady added: And 
now, go and tell tfie priest that a shrine must be 
. erected here, and that people come in jwocession to 

u: " 

After a moment s reflection, the pastor replied: 
"I can not take your word for this, you understand 
Tell this Lady that she must make horsi-lf known. 
If she is the Blessed Virgin, let her show it by Borne 
miracle. She appears to you, you tell me, on a wild 
ruse-bush? It is now February; tell her, from me, 



60 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

that if she wishes a shrine built, she must make the 
rose-bush bloom." And he dismissed her. 

What had passed between the child and the priest 
was soon known in the town. Curiosity and ex 
citement were general; and several free-thinkers of 
the neighborhood resolved to go henceforth to the 
grotto, in order to assist at the exposure of the 
" superstition." 



XIV. 

APPARITION OP WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24TH 
SECOND SECRET, A.ND EXHORTATION TO PENANCE. 

A PROMINENT inhabitant of Lourdes, of upright, but 
somewhat sceptical mind, related to Mr. Henri 
Lasserrehow, on that day, he was convinced by the 
evidence of the supernatural. He did not see the 
rose-bush bloom, but he saw Bernadette in ecstasy ; 
he saw the heavenly reflection on the face of the 
humble child; and his good faith returned. How 
.can we help believing in the sun, when, without yet 
seeing itself, we perceive the summit of the moun 
tains gilded by its rays ? 

" I reached the grotto," said he, " very much dis 
posed to investigate, and, to tell the truth, to have a 
good laugh, expecting a farce or something ridicu* 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 61 

lous. I placed myself in the first row. Tlu crowd 
was immense. About sunrise, Bernadette arrived. 
I was near her. She knelt down, without heeding the 
crowd which surrounded her, as if she had been 
alone. Very soon her look seemed to receive and 
reflect an unknown light. Before this transfigura 
tion of the child, all my preconceived denials fell to 
the ground at once, and gave place to an extraordi 
nary feeling which took possession of me, in spite of 
myself. I felt certain that a mysterious being was 
there. Suddenly and entirely transfigured, Ber 
nadette was no longer Bernadette. Her attitude, 
her slightest gesture had a superhuman majesty. She 
smiled at the invisible being. 

" I was no less moved than the other spectators. 
Like them, I held my breath to try and hear the 
conversation which was taking place between the 
vision and the child. 

" At a certain moment, Bernadette advanced on 
her knees, from the spot where she was praying, 
that is to say, from the banks of the Gave, to the 
end of the grotto. This was about fifteen feet. 
Whilst she thus ascended the somewhat steep sido 
of the rock, those who were in her way very dis 
tinctly heard her pronounce these words: * Penance! 
. . penance! ! . . penance! ! ! ?> 

The more than impartial witness who relates this 
touching scene, saw Bernadette come out of her 



62 The Wonders oj Lourdes. 

ecstasy and immediately become again a poor little 
girl, almost in rags, in no way distinguished from 
other peasant children. He was the receiver of 
taxes at Lourdes, and it was he, who on the Sunday 
previous, had assisted at Bernadette s examination 
by the commissary of police. 

What had passed during this sixth apparition ? 
Had the child delivered the pastor s message ? The 
rose-bush had not blossomed. 

When, on leaving the grotto, Bernadette presented 
herself at the pastoral residence, Father Peyramale } 
with his usual calmness, said to her, " Well, did yon 
see the vision to-day ? and what did she say ? " "I 
saw the vision," answered the child, " and I said to 
her: * Our pastor asks you for some proofs, for in 
stance to make the rose-bush under your feet 
blossom; because my word does not suffice for the 
priests, and they will not trust me. Then she smiled 
but without speaking. Then, she told me to pray 
for sinners, and commanded me to come up to the 
end of the grotto. And she said three times: * Pen 
ance! . . . penance! ! . . . penance! ! ! I repeated 
these words dragging myself to the end of the grotto 
on my knees. There she revealed to me a second 
secret which concerns only myself. Then, she dis 
appeared. 1 " And what did you find at the end ot 
the grotto ? " "I looked after she had disappeared 
(for while she is ther^ I notice nothing but herself, 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. rtj 

she absorbs me,) and I saw nothing but the i x;k, 
and in the ground a few blades of grass growing up 
in the sand." " Let us wait," said the pastor. 
But in this recital Bernadette omitted some inter- 
t sl mg particulars, of which we cannot deprive the 
pious reader. 

Whilst the child was absorbed in the ecstasy, she 
was seen to kiss the ground, several times, ascend 
ing on her knees the rugged rock which arose before 
her, as far as the end of the grotto, on the left. The 
Blessed Virgin had said to her: " You will pray to 
GOD for sinners. . . You will kiss the ground for 
the conversion of sinners." And she signed to her 
to .advance on her knees. 

Bernadette, raising her head, after having kissed 
the ground, looked for the Apparition; she saw her 
slowly drawing back and followed her, renewing 
her humiliating kisses of penance. She went in 
under the arch and remained some time motionless. 
At this moment, she saw the Virgin so near her, 
she said, that by raising and extending her arm, 
she could have touched her feet. 

She turned toward the spectators, made a gesture 
which seemed to ask the crowd to bow down. It 
was not understood. Then her finger rested for a 
moment on her lips, then was pointed, quickly and 
imperiously towards the ground with an astonishing 



64 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

energy and authority. The look and gesture said 
to all: Yon also, kiss the ground ! 

Many persons instantly bowed down, awed by 
the supernatural grandeur of that lowly child; 
and thinking they obeyed an order from the Vision, 
they kissed the ground. 

Bernadette again knelt down, still kissing the 
ground, and returned to her contemplation before 
the niche. 

From this spectacle so trying to human pride, the 
spectators retired with various feelings. But all 
were awed and amazed. Many went away with the 
religious impression left by mysterious events be 
hind which one feels that GOD is hidden, thinking 
that a great future was being prepared in the grotto. 
The Blessed Virgin made them feel a presentment 
of her mercies. 

Subsequently, penance for sinners was again asked 
of Bernadette. She went up and came dowii once, 
during each apparition, and always in silence-; that 
first time only she was heard as she went pronounc 
ing the words: Penance ! penance ! penar./;e ! 

One day, she made several of these laborious as 
cents. Her face was continually lit up with a happj - 
smile, a shade of melancholy veiled it at times, and 
even then the smile remained sad but happy. The 
Virgin also smiled to the eyes of Bernadette, and 



The Wonder* of Lourdes. 6$ 

Browned her penance by that entrancing token of 
divine joy. 

It is often remembered with astonishment what 
lightness the child displayed in that difficult ascent 
on her knees, " I often thought," writes an eye 
witness, " that invisible beings were aiding her to 
ascend and descend so rapidly." 

She was asked the first day : " But why did you 
walk on your knees and kiss the ground ? " 

"The Vision commanded me to do it; and it wa 
as a penance for myself and others." 

" Why did you make us a sign to kiss the ground ? n 

" The Vision seemed to say that you all should 
do penance for sinners." 

More than a year after, some priests who ques 
tioned her very closely, said to her in relation to 
this penance; " But it is very strange that the 
Blessed Virgin should have asked all that of you ! 
These are extraordinary things, which appear to us 
unreasonable." She answered with downcast eyes 
;ind in a thrilling tone: " Ah ! for the 

conversion of sinners ! . . . 

The heart of MAKY was revealed. It was si in UTS 
whom she called by Bernadette s prayer and humili 
ation. It was sinners she also sought by the mir 
acles which weie to be performed, in hundreds, ia 
that favored grotto. 



66 The Wonders of Lourdes. 



XV. 

APPARITION OF THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25TH THB 
\ THIRD SECRET AND THE MIRACULOUS FOUNTAIN. 

IT was the eighth day of the fortnight. Every 
spot in the vicinity was crowded with ardent eager 
people. When little Bernadette appeared, every 
one, the sceptics, as well as the believers, in 
stinctively uncovered their heads. The kind, merci 
ful, and most admirable Virgin MARY vouchsafed, 
that day like the others, to keep her appointment 
in the grotto. In no other sanctuary, perhaps, did 
the Mother of GOD so often repeat her celestial 
visits. 

She began the conversation on this occasion, by 
confiding to her dear Bernadette her third secret 
u My daughter," said she to her, "I wish to confide 
to you, for yourself alone, a last secret; like the 
other, you are not to reveal it to any one in the 
world." 

Bernadette heard, with joyful heart, the ineffable 
melody of that voice so sweet, so motherly, so 
tender, which of old, at Nazareth, charmed the ears 
and heart of the child JESUS. 

" And now, * said the Blessed Virgin to her, afte* 
& moment s silence, " To drink and wash yourself at 
the spring, and eat of the grass which is there." 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 67 

Bernadette looked round her in astonishment. 
There was no spring in the grotto; there had never 
been one. A sandy and arid pile, strewn with frag 
ments of rock, which then obstructed the interior 
of the cavern, and readied to the roof, a height of 
about seventy-five cubic feet. Without losing 
sight of the Apparition, Bernadette was moving to 
ward the Gave, when, by a glance and a gesture of 
the hand, the Virgin pointed out the place where 
she was to go. 

" Do not go there," said she to her; "I did not 
tell you to drink at the Gave; go to the fountain, 
it is here." And extending her hand, she pointed 
out to the child that same dry corner, to which, the 
evening before, she had made her ascend on her 
knees. It was at the end of the grotto, on the left 
of the spectator. 

Bernadette went up, and when she was near the 
rock, she looked for the fountain. Not finding it, 
and wishing to obey, she told her embarrassment to 
the heavenly Lady by a glance. In obedience to 
another sign, the child bent down and, scraping the 
earth with her little hands, began to make a hollow^ 
in the ground. 

All at once the bottom of the little cavity became 
damp: coming from unknown depths, across the 
rocks and through the thick of the earth, a mysteri 
ous water appeared beuealh the hand of the child 



68 The Wonders of Lourdes, 

of MARY, and soon filled the little hollow, which 
might contain about a glass full. Mingling with 
the earth, it was quite muddy, and poor Ber- 
nadette raised it to her lips three times, without 
having courage to taste it. The radiant Apparition 
presided over this strange scene, and followed the 
child with an attentive glance. The latter at 
length overcame her repugnance; she drank the 
muddy water and bathed her face with it. 

The spectators understood nothing of all this; 
"Oh! see!" cried some of them; "see how she 
daubs her face, poor child!" Others said: "She 
is losing her mind; there is no sense in that ! " At 
this moment, with her wet fingers, Bernadette 
plucked and ate some blades of grass which grew 
there. 

Immediately the water of the rising spring over 
flowed the banks of the little pond hollowed by the 
child, and began to flow like a fine thread, which, 
during the first day, only moistened the sand. The 
wet mark which it traced on the soil slowly, insensi 
ble lengthened, in the direction of the Gave. 

With her feeble hand, Bernadette had unconsci 
ously opened the source of cures and of miracles. 

The Blessed Virgin Rewarding her little workwo 
man with a smile, disappeared, all radiant, and the 
faithful, obedient Bernadette went home as usual. 

The astonished spectators wished to see the mi- 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. 69 

raoulous fountain, and to soak tlieir handkerchiefs 
in it. Next day, the Blessed Virgin s fountain, 
visibly increasing, flowed already a finger s breadth. 
At the end of a few days, it gushed out of the earth, 
pure and limpid, about as broad as a child s arm. 
It then ceased to expand. 

It was subsequently measured with mathematical 
precision: the first week, it gave 85 quarts a minute; 
five thousand one hundred quarts an hour; that is 
to say, a hundred and twenty-two thousand four 
hundred quarts a day. And before that time, we 
say again, that that rock, those sands were dry and 
arid, as all the inhabitants of the country knew. 
The strong minds of the neighborhood said and 
wrote that it was something quite natural, that there 
was no spring; that the crazed and deluded Berna- 
dette had simply struck a collection of water, 
which had undoubtedly oozed out of the rock ! 

The miraculous water of Lourdes has been analy 
sed by skillful chemists; it is a pure, virgin water; 
a natural water devoid of all mineral properties. 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 



XVI. 

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26TH THE FIRST MIRACULOUS 

CURE. 

THAT day the Immaculate Virgin did not appear 
to her dear child. Every one regarded Bernadette 
with a respect and reverence which amounted to 
veneration; when she passed, people said, in her 
hearing : " There is the Saint ! " 

MARY, the mother of humility and meekness, 
undoubtedly wished to fortify her child against the 
danger of vain-glory: she left her to pine in wishes, 
in tears, in prayers; she would not appear. Hum 
bled and grieved, Bernadette was obliged to go 
home; she cried all the way. 

In place of the usual Apparition, the crowd could 
see the spring, a living testimony of the omnipo 
tence of the mysterious Lady. The good pastor of 
Lourdes had asked for a sign ; instead of the trifling 
one which he had felt bound to ask, the Blessed 
Virgin had given him a much greater one, and not 
only to him, but to all, to the wicked as well as the 
good. The rose-bush blooming would have been 
only a simple miracle, a miracle of compliance, frail 
and transient; the supernatural spring was not only 
a miracle, and a great miracle, but a permanent 
miracle, an inexhaustible source of miracles. Oh I 



The Wonders of Lourdes. /I 

how much better the good Virgin knows than we 
do! 

On that Friday, the 26th, the miraculous water 
performed its first miracle: a miracle of the first 
order, proved, proclaimed in the first place by 
science, then by ecclesiastical authority. 

There was at Lourdes a poor quarry-man, named 
Bourriette, who, twenty years before this, had had his 
eye terribly injured by the explosion of a mine. lie 
came near dying, and in spite of the enlightened 
and assiduous care of Doctor Dozous, the same who 
examined Bernadette in her ecstasy, the poor 
miner s sight had grown worse from year to year, 
so much so that, at the period of which we speak, his 
right eye could not distinguish a man from a tree. 
Known and beloved in the whole town, Bourrietto 
was a man of faith, a true Christian. He was mar 
ried and the father of a family. 

lie had heard of the marvelous things which were 
occurring at the grotto, and in particular of the 
spring which had gushed forth. 

" Go and get me some of that water," said he to 
his daughter. " The Blessed Virgin, if it be her, 
has only to wish it, and I shall be cured." Half an 
hour after, the child brought a little of the still 
muddy water. " Father," said she, " this is only 
muddy water." " Never mind," said the good 
Bourriette, beginning to pray. 



?2 The Wonders of Lourdes 

He rubs his lost eye with the water. . . , H 
gives a loud cry, a cry of joy and gladness. He 
begins to tremble with emotion. The darkness 
which, for twenty years, had deprived him of sight,, 
was dispelled; there only remained a sort of slight 
dimness, like the mists of the morning. 

He continued praying, and bathing his eye; the 
mist gradually disappeared, and he could clearly 
distinguish objects. He was cured ! 

"I am cured!" cried he, running up to Doctor 
Dozous, next day, on the street. 

" Impossible," said the doctor. " You have an 
organic affection which makes your disease absolutely 
incurable. The treatment which I made you fol 
low was only to ease your pain; it could not re 
store your sight." 

" It is not you who has cured me," answered the 
quarry-man, still much agitated; "it is the Blessed 
Virgin of the grotto." 

" That Bernadette has ecstasies which cannot be 
explained, is certain," said the doctor, shrugging his 
shoulders; "I have verified that myself. But that 
the water which gushed forth from the grotto from 
some unknown cause, suddenly cures incurable d"\s- 
eases, is not possible." So saying, he took out his 
memorandum book, and wrote some words in it 
with a lead pencil. 

" Stay," said he to Bonrriette, putting his hand 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 73 

over his left eye; "if you can read this, I will be 
lieve you." The passers by had gathered round 
them. Bourriette immediately read, without the 
slightest hesitation: "Bourriette has an incurable 
amaurosis, and he will never be cured." 

The doctor stood astonished, bewildered. "I 
cannot deny it," cried he; "it is a miracle, a real 
miracle, without disparagement to myself and to my 
brothers of the Faculty. I am amazed; but the 
fact is evident; it is beyond all that poor human 
science can do." 

Louis Bourriette s cure was all the more remark 
able that the miracle had left all the scars of the 
wound. The quarry-man, almost crazed with joy, 
related the details to all who would listen. 

From that time, enthusiasm, lively faith, thanks 
giving, took more and more possession of the multi 
tude. More and more evidence of the miracle ap 
peared. Towards evening, the quarry-men of the 
guild to which the fortunate Bourriette belonged, 
went in great numbers to the Rocks of Massabielle, 
and cut through the rocks a more convenient path 
for pilgrims. Before the opening of the miraculous 
fountain, they placed a wooden trench, and hollowed 
out, below this trench, a sort of little basin, having 
very nearly the form and dimensions of a child s 
cradle. 

The Blessed Virgin s name was on every lip. No 



74 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

one knew, and yet all were certain that it was she 
and no other. After sunset, without any previous 
arrangement, or the interference of any priest, hun 
dreds of tapers suddenly lit up the improvised 
Sanctuary; and thousands of voices began to chant 
with indescribable power and emotion, the Litany 
of the Blessed Virgin. 

The grotto remained thus illuminated all during 
the night. 



XVII. 

APPARITIONS OF THE LAST DAYS OF THE FORTNIGHT. 

IT was near the end of the sacred fortnight. The 
Blessed Virgin continued to appear every morning 
to her dear little Bernadette ; and crowds came from 
twenty and thirty miles round, having always 
before their eyes the same marvellous sight which 
became more and more impressive, more and more 
fruitful in grace and in instruction; the transfigura 
tion of an humble child, the awe of an immense 
multitude. 

Everything went on in the most orderly manner. 
People drank at the fountain; sang hymns, and 
prayed. 

Meanwhile, nothing new signalized these last ap- 



Wonders of Lourdes. 75 

pavilions; only, the miraculous fountain visibly in 
creased, as we have said, and sudden, supernatural 
cures were so evidently multiplied, that the free 
thinkers were at their wits end. 

In each of these apparitions, Bernadette renewed 
the acts of penance and of obedience which we have 
related. At the Blessed Virgin s command, she 
drank at the fountain; and sometimes she was seen 
to drink several times. 

In a movement of the crowd in their efforts to seo 
better, the wild rose-bush was f of an instant shaken. 
Bernadette extended her hand, in alarm, and moved 
quickly in that direction. Her eyes were full of 
tears. 

"Who stirred the rose-bush?" cried she. "Ob 
do not touch it 1 " And she looked anxiously into 
the cavern. The shrub becoming motionless again, 
Bernadette s face became once more serene, and the 
happy smile again returned to it. Every one was 
astonished to hear her cry out so in the midst of 
AU ecstasy so profoundly silent. 

During the day, the person who had touched the 
oush came to Bernadette to apologize for the grief 
which she had caused her. " Oh ! you pained mo 
very much," said the child; " when I saw the rose- 
tree shake, I was afraid that the Lady might fall. 
She was on it, and she made me a sign that th 
bash must be let alone." 



76 The Wonders of Loiirdes. 

This person was much struck by the expression ol 
Bernadette s face. She had not as yet believed; on 
the instant she gave full faith to the celestial Vision. 
The thought of having failed, even unconsciously, 
in respect for the Blessed Virgin, by disturbing the 
branches on which her feet rested, filled her with 
sorrow and regret; she loved Bernadette and fol 
lowed with profound piety all the apparitions. 

Since the fourth apparition, Bernadette, on arriv 
ing every morning, lit a blessed taper and held it in 
her left hand, whilst the Blessed Virgin appeared. 
It was a lady of the town who first lent her one; 
Boon her aunts gave her each in turn their Sodality 
taper. 

One day, near the end of the ecstasy, Bernadette 
arose, still pale and radiant, bent towards her 
youngest aunt who accompanied her that day, and 
said: "Will you give me your candle and let me 
leave it in the grotto ? ** 

" Yes, yes, I give it to yon; go and place it there 
if you wish." The child went towards the end of 
the grotto. She placed the end of the taper in the 
ground, leaning it against the rock and lit it, then 
returned to her usual place. 

After the apparition, her aunt asked her, on their 
way home: "But why did you ask me for my can 
dle, and why did you leave it there?" 

" I wished to leav it burning in the grotto, whea 



T/tc Wonders of Lourdes. 77 

I went away; and as it was yours, I could not do it 
without your permission. *. 

Already, as we have seen, some persons had placed 
tapers there: touching homage, the lirst of those 
thousands of tapers which now unceasingly light up 
the rock of the apparition, to glorify and thank the 
Mother of Goix 

The devotion of candles is as old as the Church. 
The lighted taper is a beautiful symbol: the white 
and virgin wax of which it is formed, signifies 
the most pure humanity which the Saviour took in 
MARY S womb, and which, united to the divinity, is 
the light of the world; like the wax of the tapper, 
this sacred humanity is consumed before GOD in 
adoration, in supplications, in thanksgiving, in pen 
ance and in sacrifices of all kinds. The light of the 
taper, bright and burning, signifies the divinity of 
the Son of MARY. 

The lighted taper also represents the Christian, 
who, enlightened, inflamed with, the ardor of true 
faith and the love of JESUS CHRIST, should also be 
consumed before the good GOD as a victim of pen 
ance and of love. 

On Tuesday, March 2d, Bernadette went onoe 
more to the pastor of Lourdes and renewed the re 
quest made by the Lady. 

" She wants," said the child) " a shrine to be built 
at the grotto and people to come there in procession." 



?8 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

Events had transpired; the miraculous spring had 
. gushed forth; miracles certain and authentic had 
proved Bernadette s veracity, and the reality of 
the apparitions; notwithstanding his prudence the 
worthy pastor was fully convinced. He, like every 
one else, felt that it was the Blessed Virgin who was 
performing all these wonders. 

" I believe you," said he to Bernadette. " But 
what you ask in the name of the Apparition does 
not depend on me. That depends on His Lordship, 
the Bishop, whom I have already informed of what 
is taking place. I will go and apprise him of 
what you ask. It is for him alone to act." 

M. Peyramale, in fact, went to Tarbes; he laid 
the facts before the venerable Bishop Laurence, who 
resolved to exceed him, if possible, in prudence, to 
let the fruit ripen and to content himself, for the 
time, by establishing a judicial investigation, at 
which all the facts, past, present, and future, would 
be examined with the most scrupulous impartiality, 
whilst awaiting an official decision. 

The next day, Wednesday, March 3d, there was 
an immense crowd at the grotto, notwithstanding 
that the place was surrounded by troops and pla 
toons of gendarmerie which the civil authority had 
foolishly stationed along the road to the Rocks of 
Massabielle, as if these meetings threatened to be 
come riotous. The fears, it might well be said, the 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 79 

hopes of these shortsighted men were defeated; the 
most perfect order reigned among the multitude 
during the whole day. 



XVIII. 

MARVELLOUS CLOSE OF THE FORTNIGHT RESUSCITA 
TION OF LITTLE JUSTIN. 

THE last of the fifteen days during which Berna- 
dette did the Queen of Heaven the favor of coming 
to the grotto, the day which was to close this 
long series of wonders, was the subject of universal 
conjecture. Those who had not witnessed the super 
natural spectacle of Massabielle and those who had 
already seen it, wished to be present at this final 
scene. 

It was Thursday, a market-day at Lourdes. All 
the morning, long before dawn, the road to the 
grotto was crowded; by sunrise, more than twenty/ 
thousand persons were already waiting, and others 
were continually arriving. 

Never before, never since, perhaps, even at those 
grand solemnities so far famed, was such a crowd 
Been at Lourdes. Policemen, gendarmerie, soldiers 
of the garrison, were all there " to prevent disorder. n 

A common feeling held that innumerable multi- 



So The Wonders of Lourdes. 

tude breathless; the vague expectation of some 
great spectacle. It seemed to all that the fortnight 
of apparitions must end by an extraordinary event. 
Some thought of a miracle operated on Bernadette 
or accomplished by her. 

According to custom, Bernadette heard Mass be 
fore starting. On the summit of the rock, a gen 
darme awaited her; he walked before her, with 
eword drawn, to clear the way for her through the 
crowd. Planks had been placed near the grotto to 
facilitate her passage. Without these precautions, 
it seemed impossible for her to pass through the 
dense mass of spectators. 

When the child prostrated herself, all the people 
by a UT unimous impulse, fell on their knees. An 
unusual silence reigned amongst the multitude. 

Soon the ecstacy commenced, serene, radiant, as 
usual. The child went to drink at the fountain, and 
kneeling and touching the ground with her lips, she 
performed the usual penance for sinners. But 
nothing new had yet signalized this apparition of 
March 4th. Bernadette was commanded as on the 
preceding days, to go and ask the priest to erect the 
shrine and to hav-e processions. She begged the Ap 
parition to tell her her name: the radiant Lady did 
not answer this question. 

Then, by her salutes to the Vision, Bernadette 
announced that the Blessed Virgin was about to 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 8 1 

disappear; she received her last farewell, her last 
smile; saw for the last time the brightness of her 

aureola fade and become lost, sighed It 

was finished. 

She took her mother s arm and retired; but hei 
heart full of sorrow, the sorrow of separation : should 
she ever again behold the heavenly, the sweet 
Virgin ? 

The crowd slowly dispersed. All that day the 
grotto was the scene of a very animated pilgrimage. 
In the evening, towards four o clock, there were still 
five or six hundred persons, examining, praying, 
drinking at the fountain and carrying away soino 
little memento of the sacred place. 

But the Immaculate Virgin did not wish that that 
memorable day should terminate without a brilliant 
manifestation of her goodness. A great miracle, a 
maternal miracle worthily marked the close of that 
fortnight of miracles. 

A little child of two years old was dying in a 
poor cottage at Lourdes. His name was Justin. 
His father, Jean Bouhohorts, was a day-laborer. 
Subject from his birth to a slow fever, the poor child 
had never been able to walk; he was dying of con 
sumption, notwithstanding all the efforts of the 
doctor. lie was in his agony; his despairing father 
and mother were beside his cradle to see him die. 
A charitable neighbor had already prepared the 



82 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

little shroud, and was trying to sustain the courage 
of the unhappy mother. 

The child s eyes had become glassy; his limbs 
stiff and motionless; his breathing was no longer 
perceptible. 

" He is dead," said the father. 

" If he is not dead," said the neighbor, " he is 
going to die, my poor friend. Go and cry some 
where else; I will wrap him up presently in this 
shroud." 

But the mother wept no more. A wild hope had 
taken possession of her. "He is not dead," she 
cries, " and the Holy Virgin of the grotto will cure 
him for me." 

" She is mad with grief," said the father, sorrow 
fully. 

As for her, she seizes the already stiffening body 
of her child; she wraps it in her apron, and in spite 
of the efforts of her husband and her friend, she 
rushes out, running like a mad woman, praying 
aloud. " I am going to the Virgin," she cried, as 
she went out. 

It was near five o clock, and, as we have said, some 
hundreds of persons were still around the grotto 
and the fountain. The poor mother throws herself 
on her knees before the grotto, and prays with all 
her heart, then, dragging herself on her knees to 
the little basin, she takes the naked body of her 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 83 

or dying child, and plunges it entirely into the 
miraculous water. It was very cold, and the water 
was frozen. 

A cry of fright, and murmurs of indignation burst 
from those around her. " The woman is mad," was 
said on all sides; "she will kill her child." They 
seek to prevent her. She remains motionless, hold 
ing her child under the water. 

" Let me alone I Let me alone I " she answered in 
an eager and supplicating voice, " I want to do 
what I can, and the good GOD and the Holy Virgin 
will do the rest." Little Justin was quite livid; he 
neither stirred nor gave any sign of life. 

" The child is already dead," *said the people. 
"Let her do it; it is a poor mother whom sorrow 
has crazed." 

For a quarter of an hour, the supposed mad wo 
man held the body of her son in the icy water which 
would have killed him in less than five minutes, even 
had he been in perfect health. Nothing could move 
her, neither cries, nor supplications, nor even threats. 
The body of the child was frozen, motionless. Full 
of faith, however, the mother drew him out of the 
water, wrapped him in her apron, and brought him 
home, praying all the time to the Blessed Virgin. 

You see he is dead," said the father. 

"No," answered she; "he is not dead. The 
Blessed Virgin will restore him to us;" and she putt 



84 The Wonders of Lourdes* 

the child back into his cradle. A moment after, 
she bends over him: "He breathes!" cries she. 
The father rushes forward; his child was indeed 
breathing, His eyes were closed; but it was no 
longer death, it was no longer the agony; it was a 
Bleep, peaceful sleep. The Blessed Virgin then said 
from the height of heaven to that Christian mother, 
what JESUS said of old to the humble and faithful 
woman of Canaan: "Go in peace; thy faith hath 
saved thee." 

During the night, the breathing continued, strong 
and regular, under the tender gaze of the mother, 
who did not sleep. The next day little Justin 
awoke; his color was fresh and healthful, although 
he was still emaciated. His little eyes were full of 
life as he smiled on his happy mother. He asked 
for the breast, and drank freely. He who had never 
walked wanted to get out of his cradle; but the 
frightened mother, who could not believe in a re 
surrection so complete, so sudden, dared not put 
him on the ground. The day passed thus: the child 
drank from the breast eagerly and often; he waa 
making up for lost time. He passed an excellent 
night. 

Next morning, the Oth of March, the father and 
mother went out early to their work. The child 
was sleeping quietly in his cradle. When, after 
some hours the mother came in, she almost fainted, 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 85 

At seeing her little boy, until then paralytic, dying, 
not to say dead, the evening before, had got up all 
alone, and was walking, trotting here and there, 
around the room, going from one piece of furniture 
to another, delighted, and full of vigor. She waa 
obliged to lean against the door to keep from fall 
ing. Oh, what a cry of love and gratitude must 
then have gone up from her maternal heart to the 
heart of the Virgin Mother I 

Little Justin ran joyously to throw himself into 
the arms of his mother, who embraced him, sobbing. 
" He was cured yesterday," thought she, " since he 
wanted to get up and walk, and I, unbeliever that I 
was, wanted faith and prevented him." And when 
her husband came in, she said to him: " You see he 
was not dead; the Blessed Virgin saved him." 

The good neighbor, who, the evening before, had 
made little Justin s shroud, could not believe her 
eyes. She looked, looked again, and thought she 
was dreaming. "It is he," she cried. "It is 
really himself 1 Poor little Justin ! " They all fell 
on their knees. The mother joined her child s little 
hands, that he might also return thanks to the Mother 
of GOD. 

Justin is now a large, strong boy of thirteen; 
gince his cure, he has never had a relapse. " lie is 
good child," said the venerable pastor of Lourdes 
to me in tlu month of April, 1870- "he is a good 



86 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

child, a little giddy, but he has a good heart, and he 
iovea the Blessed Virgin very much." 

This miracle produced, in the town of Lourdes, 
and in all the surrounding country, a prodigious 
effect. Three skillful physicians confirmed the truth 
of it, In their eyes, three circumstances made the 
cure an actual miracle, a miracle of the first order: 
in the first place, the duration of the immersion of 
a dying child in ice-cold water; then, its immediate 
effect, which had no connection with the reaction 
caused by the ordinary application of cold water; 
finally, the faculty of walking, manifested as soon as 
the child had got out of the cradle. 

" The mother," said the report of one of the doc 
tors, " held her child, for more than a quarter of an 
hour, in the water of the fountain. She thus sought 
the cure of her child by proceedings absolutely con 
demned by experience and by medical reason, and 
she yet obtained it immediately. . . . The cure of 
the child took place without convalescence, in an 
entirely supernatural manner." 

It was thus that the Blessed Virgin wished to 
( rown " her fortnight." Henceforth the pilgrimage 
was founded, and the fountain of grace, coming 
from the heart of MARY, much more than from the 
side of the rock, flowed fruitful and consoling, nr ?er 
to be exhausted. 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 



XIX. 

RIDICULOUS EFFORTS OF THE POLICE TO " SUPPRESS 
FANATICISM AND SUPERSTITION." 

THE police and the government vied with each 
other in zeal against the work of God, the Blessed 
Virgin, and the new pilgrimage which had just been 
inaugurated by so many prodigies. 

To the miraculous cure of Louis Bourriette, to the 
yet more touching one of little Justin, many other 
sudden and evidently supernatural cures were, so to 
say, added every day. In the very town of Lourdes, 
the eating-house keeper, Blaise Maumus, had been 
cured by the water of the spring, of an enormous 
wen which he had on his wrist. The widow Crozat, 
who had been for twenty years as deaf as a post, 
had suddenly recovered her hearing by making use 
of the miraculous water. Auguste Bordes, who had 
been for a long time lame from the effects of an acci 
dent, had had his leg instantly straightened and re 
stored to its natural vigor. These people and many 
others belonged to the town; every one knew them, 
and every one could point to the evidence of a 
miracle. 

The devil, the police, and the government, could 
not tolerate such a state of things. They had first, 
naturally enough, attacked the innocent child whom 



88 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

the Blessed Virgin had chosen as the means of estab 
lishing the pilgrimage. Thanks to the divine 
protection, and thanks also to the good pastor, 
Father Peyramale, Bernadette had escaped the 
storm. They could not reach the invisible power 
which was at work in the grotto and causing the 
" scandal." They therefore resolved to seize on the 
grotto itself, the fountain, and the Rocks of Massa- 
bielle; and, being unable to catch the bird, they 
would at least break the cage. The devil .chose, for 
that fine exploit, the prefect, with his officers, 

The prefect of Tarbes was then a man of honest 
intentions, a practical Christian, somewhat luke 
warm, like many others in government circles. 
These men, without actually going so far as to deny 
the miracle in theory, absolutely rejected it in prac 
tice. To them, all that resembles the supernatural 
is chimerical, or fraudulent, their poor little reli 
gious level is the perfect rule above which there can 
be nothing but fanaticism and superstition; to them, 
a miracle, in the nineteenth century, is a scandal. 

Fortified in these pious sentiments, by the reports 
of the intelligent police whom we have before men 
tioned, the intelligent prefect wished at all costs, to 
put a stop to popular assemblies, which he regarded 
as " dangerous to order," as likely to " disturb con 
sciences," and to injure "the true interests of re 
ligion." 



Tke Wonders of Lourdes. 89 

He confirmed his wisdom by the eminent wisdom 
of the then reigning Minister of Worship, the devout 
and illustrious Mr. Rouland; and, enlightened by 
this light from on high, acted with the air of 
\one who was infallible. He decided that the mira 
cles of Lourdes had no reality; and he acted accord 
ingly. Poor minds are these. Proud, full of them 
selves, they fight against GOD with an exceeding good 
faith, and commit real crimes with those good in 
tentions wherewith hell is paved. They are all of 
the race of Pilate. 

The prefect wished to use a radical remedy, by 
which to prevent crowds from flocking to the grotto. 
Some weeks after the miraculous fortnight, he as 
sembled all the mayors of the country, and, in an 
administrative lecture, full of force and unction, he 
made them understand that all that was passing at 
the grotto was ridiculous, that this superstition was 
disgracing the country, that white was black, and 
that by fair means or foul, all this must cease. In 
consequence of, and from the height of his infallible 
authority, he excommunicated the grotto, and 
ordered the police magistrate to remove all 
the objects of piety that "superstition" had placed 
there, and to arrest as lunatics or as propagators of 
false news all who would speak of miracles, of 
apparitions, etc. 

This decree had no effect. It grieved and an- 



go The Wonders of Lourdes. 

noyed the crowd of pilgrims who continued to 
gather piously round the Rocks of Massabielle. 
The commissary of police whom we have already 
seer, at work, made it his business to strip the grotto; 
but, on account of the many objects to be removed, 
he required a cart and horse. Followed by some 
policemen, he first addressed himself to the post 
master. " I do not lend my horses for such pur 
poses," said the latter, with emphasis; "I do not 
wish to be concerned in what you are going to do. 
Serve a writ on me, if you please. I refuse my 
horses." 

The commissary went successively to all the hotels 
and wherever vehicles were to be hired, but every 
where he met with the same refusal, the same open 
indignation. He was seen going and coming through 
the streets, followed by his agents, vexed, although 
repressing his anger. Vainly did he offer. up to 
thirty francs for a distance of not more than a 
quarter of a mile. An avaricious woman at last lent 
him a horse and wagon, to the great indignation of 
all the inhabitants. 

This was not all: once at the grotto, he was 
obliged to commence the stripping of it. Now, the 
sacrilegious work was retarded by the roughness of 
the soil, and still more by the threatening attitude 
of the entire population who had repaired to the 
Bocks of Massabielle. 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 91 

The executor of the prefect s noble design began 
with the money and jewelry, offered to the Blessed 
Virgin, which not even the boldest robber had hither 
to dared to touch. Then he collected the bouquets, 
and made a movement as if to throw them into 
the Gave; but a significant murmur from the crowd 
made him stop short. His movements had something 
convulsive about them. So as to hasten the work, 
he called to his aid a little boy who was standing 
by. " Here," said he, offering him a picture, " carry 
that to the cart." The child mechanically held out 
his hand. But a companion immediately cried out: 
" Wretch ! what are you going to do ? The good 
GOD will punish you." The little one drew back, 
and no command from the commissary could make 
him stir. The poor policemen performed the task 
with unconcealed repugnance. 

When the grotto was stripped, the commissary 
wished to remove a wooden balustrade which had 
been placed at the entrance through a feeling of 
pious respect. He needed an axe; he went to ask for 
one at the saw-mill. All the workmen, one after 
another, refused him. A little further on, a work 
man, who was alone, dared not resist, and let him 
take his hatchet. The commissary was himself 
obliged to perform the task: no one would aid him. 
When the first strokes of the axe were heard the 
popular indignation threatened to break forth. The 



92 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

Gave was near by, and at any moment something 
bad might happen. The guilty man felt it. He 
stopped then; and pale, and humiliated, he turned 
.towards the crowd, and in a voice trembling with 
fear, perhaps also with remorse, he said that ho 
was only obeying orders, and, so to say, asked par 
don for the shameful act in which he was en 
gaged. Then, all being finished, he returned 
to Lourdes with the spoils from the Blessed 
Virgin. 

This very evening, to protest against this impiety, 
the crowd went, more numerous than ever, to the 
holy place, and soon the grotto was filled with 
flowers and lit up with a thousand tapers. 

The next day, by a coincidence which escaped no 
one, which consoled the good, and made the wicked 
reflect, the woman who was not ashamed to lend 
her horse and cart to the commissary, fell from a 
loft and broke a rib; and the workman who had not 
dared to refuse his axe, had his two feet smashed 
by the falling of a beam. 

These absurd and unjust measures of the policy 
increased the ardor of the multitude who came every 
day to pray at the grotto. During the whole month 
of May, numbers of pious people came there to cel 
ebrate the month of MARY. But to the great dis 
appointment of the police, there was no disorder, 
uot the slightest disturbance. 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 93 

The prefcctoral government then took a violent, 
end as they thought, a decisive step. 

On the 8th of June, in virtue of a warrant which 
" issued in the interests of religion and of the public 
health, which was threatened by the free AIR! im 
prudent use of the fountain" which they affected 
to think was strongly impregnated with minerals, the 
police, amid the general indignation, again removed 
all the objects placed in the grotto, and closed it 
up with planks. The approach to it was forbid 
den, and there was a formal prohibition against 
drawing the water. On the summit of the rock 
where the chapel now stands, a stake was fixed 
bearing these words: "All person* are forbidden 
to trespass on this property" 

The policemen and gendarmere kept guard. The 
injunction was defied; persons went in by stealth, 
at the risk of being discovered. Sometimes several 
persons united, and one of them remained as senti 
nel on the rock, watching for the arrival of the 
officers, whilst the others prayed at the grotto. 
There was a number of arrests made. Poor wo 
men and working-men appeared before the judge 
for disobedience to the order. 

This vexatious measure exasperated the people; 
threatening murmurs were heard. Yet the most 
angry suppressed the slightest attempt at violence. 
The calmness with which the working population of 



94 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

Lourdes passed through this phase of absurd perse 
cution, should be counted amongst the astonishing 
things of that time. 

This was due, after the Blessed Virgin, to a few 
influential men amongst the working classes, who 
were able to restrain them to patience and order; 
but it was especially to the honor of the worthy 
pastor of the town, whose energetic words exercised 
the most salutary influence over the people. 

Pilgrims, when they wished to pray freely before 
the blessed grotto, all the dearer because an arbitrary 
and unjust opposition disputed it with their faith, 
went to the opposite bank, and knelt down on the 
grass or on the sand which remained dry in the very 
bed of the Gave. The cavern of the apparition 
could be seen above the boards of the enclosure. 
They looked far into the hollow sanctified by the 
Blessed Virgin, and retired consoled at having been 
able to send their prayers thither. 

Soon the number of persons discovered there waa 
considerable, and, on the police lists, were the names 
of strangers which were very embarrassing. The 
authors of these arrests felt that they were ridicu 
lous and odious, with all their impotent severity; 
they therefore relaxed their rigor, and let thinga 
go on. 

The prefectorate was also deceived as to the 
water of the grotto. Whust the struggle was going 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 95 

on amongst men, the Blessed Virgin continued none 
the less to cure. The fountain still more loudly 
proclaimed the miraculous, favored the " supersti 
tion." Such a belief must be overthrown. 

Being unable to contest the reality of the sudden 
.md impossible cures by the known resources of 
medicine, they would have it that the fountain 
should have a mineral quality, superior to that of 
the other Pyrenean springs. Through cowardice, 
a chemist of the country found in it some very 
powerful healing properties; and it was published 
that Lourdes possessed an unequalled mineral spring. 
It was not generally nor for very long believed ; and 
recourse was afterwards had to other analysers, 
to discover the truth. These latter decided on the 
absence of all mineral substance from the liquid 
which was presented to them. Mr. Filhol, profes 
sor of chemistry to the Faculty of Toulouse, after 
having tried the water of Massabielle by all known 
means, declared, on the 7th of August, in a learned 
report, that it was simply ordinary water, drinkable, 
without the least mineral property. 

Against hell and against men, the cause of the 
apparitions was only defended by itself and by the 
peaceful belief of the people. The clergy did 
nothing against it; but did not sustain it. They 
were all at first incredulous. The most learned 
priests, seeing the saintly character of the appar* 



96 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

itiona, changed to respectful doubt; a little later, 
they joyfully adhered to it with their whole soul. 
A great number continued 1 jr quite a long time to 
hesitate. 

But, by a prudence now inexplicable by the wit 
nesses of the popular enthusiasm which carried away 
even the impious themselves, and thanks to a disposi 
tion of Providence which would not have even an 
appearance of human action in the work of the Im 
maculate Virgin, not a priest was among the crowd, 
during the whole time of the apparitions. 

The pilgrimage of Lourdes was thus the exclusive 
work of the Blessed Virgin; she herself did all. 
The police were defeated; the government and the 
prefect were defeated. A formal order, coming 
from the supreme authority, permitted to the piety 
of the pilgrims, free access to the blessed grotto; 
and since then, no attempt of human power has 
disturbed its peace and sweetness. 

As it had become impossible for the unlucky pre 
fect to remain in the country, he was appointed to 
the first vacant prefecture; and by a charming 
stroke of Providence, he was only expelled by Our 
Lady of Lourdes to fall upon Our Lady of La^ 
Salette; from Tarbes, he went to Grenoble. Incor 
rigible, like all those liberal, governmental and semi- 
rationalist Christians, he pleasantly remarked that 
if he had been prefect of Grenoble in 1846, he would 



The Wonders of Lourfys. 97 

have settled with the apparitions and " superstition " 
of La Salette. He died there some years after of 
an attack of apoplexy. May God have mercy on 
his soul ! 

The crown solicitor of Lourdes was also changed, ^ 
as well as the illustrious commissary, who has be 
come, it is said, one of tUe most distinguished blood 
hounds of the higher police force. 



XX. 

IHE APPARITION OP MARCH 25TII "l AM THE IMMA 
CULATE CONCEPTION." 

AFTER the close of the fortnight, littte Berrca- 
dctte went every day to the grotto. She said her 
rosary there, like the other pilgrims; long did her 
eyes remain fixed on the hollow of the rock; but the 
sweet Vision appeared no more, and her transfigur 
ations had ceased. The promised time had expired. 
Still the people were always hoping to see onee more 
the wonderful ecstasy, and every time that the -child 
passed towards Massabielle, they closely followed 
her footsteps. With her, they believed they were 
going to meet the Blessed Virgin. Bcrnadette 
could not expect to find her. The voice which, 
during the fortnight, had warned her soul, when 

8 



gS The Wonders of Lotcrdes. 

MARY was about to come, had been silent ince 
then. 

On the 25th of March, the feast of the Annunci* 
ation, Bernadette felt herself powerfully drawn 
towards the grotto, by a well-known attraction. 
She joyfully obeyed the interior call, and repaired 
to Massabielle. The solemnity of the day, the gen 
eral, though uncertain hope that the Vision would 
return, had attracted from all parts a considerable 
crowd, Bernadette was surprised to find it so. 
She began to pray, with her beads in her hand, and 
soon a sudden thrill and the transfiguration of her 
face announced that the Virgin had appeared. 

That was a great day in th history of the ap 
paritions. 

Bernadette had several times before asked the 
mysterious Lady to tell her her name. She had 
only been answered by smiles. In this new ecstasy, 
remembering that the priest had earnestly requested 
her, if she saw her again, to ask her name, she 
said: "O Lady, will you have the goodness to 
tell me who you are, and what is your name ?" 

The Vision seemed to become still more radiant; 
always smiling, she smiled still more benignantly, 
that was her answer. 

"My Lady," continued the child, "will you tell 
me who you are ? " Again a long and more divine 
smile on the mute lips- of the royal Apparition. 



The Wonders of Loitrdcs. 99 

" O Lady, I entreat you to tell me your name ; 
you must tell me who you are ? " 

From amidst the aureola, the virginal face smiled 
again on the child the last, and doubtless the most 
ravishing smile. Then the Lady withdrew her gaze 
from Bernadette, unclasped her hands, slipped on 
her arm the rosary which had kept her fingers 
joined at her girdle, raised her hands and her 
radiant head; whilst her hands were joined on her 
breast, her head thrown back, and, more radiant 
than ever, her eyes piercing the glory of heaven, 
*he said: "I A.H THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION." 

Without another glance at the child and without 
another smile, without the accustomed farewell, she 
disappeared in the same attitude, leaving to Berna- 
dette s soul that image and that name, 

Bernadette hastily, and with great joy, went to 
tell the pastor the name of the LADY, at length 
known. But she did not at all understand these 
words: Immaculate Conception; it wae there, and in 
the splendor of the apparition, that she had heard it for 
the first time in her life. And this unknown word 
tlid not make known to her who the lady was. Sho 
was afraid of forgetting it, and she repeated it all 
the way home: " I am the Immaculate Conception, 
... I am the Immaculate Conception." 

The priest understood it; the Christian poopto 



IOO The Wanders of Lourdes, 

understood it; they had not been mistaken. It wa 
SHE, the Virgin MARY, the Mother of GOD. 

But they did not expect that name from her 
mouth. It could not have been supposed that she 
would give to the grotto, to the town of Lourdes, 
to the Pyrenees, to Pius IX., to the whole universe 
the joy of naming herself by the glorious privilege 
that, for four years, the Catholic world with its 
Father and Pontiff, had celebrated in an unceasing 
outburst of admiration and of love. 

This apparition, radiant with a new and sweet 
splendor, when wholly unhoped for, and when the 
heavenly communications had seemed ended, it ap 
peared to be the heart of the work of MA RY at the 
grotto. She made clear the mystery so long un 
solved, of her first fifteen visits. The Lady had 
made h er name felt before; and the people, hearing 
the child s story, said: MARY ! but they wished to 
hear it from her lips. She vouchsafed to descend 
again and tell it: "lam the Immaculate Concep 
tion!" 

In no other part of the world and in none of her 
innumerable apparitions, did she call herself by that 
name. MARY, by her unexpected words, gives to 
the grotto of Lourdes a special glory, that of being 
the Sanctuary, alone recognized by Heaven, of 
the Immaculate Conception. She reveals the whole 
Divine thought on the new pilgrimage. The Im- 



The Wonders of Lourdes. lOi 

maculate Conception is the reason for it, and shall 
be its treasure. 

Pilgrims have all their whole prayer in that word; 
it contains the secret of their hopes. In the won 
ders of Lourdes, GOD prepares a new glory for the 
Immaculate Conception. It is in honcr of the Im 
maculate Conception, it is by the favor of the Im 
maculate Conception that cures shall gush from the 
fountain; and it is again from the grace of the Im 
maculate Conception that sinners shall derive the 
joys of mercy. The tapers lit under the rock shall 
honor with their flame the spotless purity of MARY; 
it is the Immaculate Conception that nations shall 
come to celebrate in innumerable and magnificent 
processions, and the stones of the chapel which she 
asked for shall all praise the Immaculate Con 
ception. 

Bernadette kept alive within her the image of the 
Virgin glorying before her in her Immaculate Con 
ception. It is perhaps the recollection which is the 
freshest in her memory. She has often been asked 
to describe that august scene. 

The child would think for a moment, and then 
\say : " She did like this " and her hands, her head, 
and her glances would indicate the movements of 
the Virgin. In this simple gesture of raising hei 
hands, clasping them lengthwise on her breast, there 
so much majesty, so much dignity and gracej 



IO2 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

her face was so grave arid so sweet; and her glance, 
while raised to heaven, assumed such an expression, 
that on seeing her, people were impressed with in 
voluntary admiration and religious respect. Often 
tears were shed, so well did she depict that ravish 
ing moment of the Apparition. One day, a man of 
the world was so struck by it that he said : " For 
me, that suffices. I believe. That child has seen: 
of herself she could never do what she does now. 
What she has seen is not of th\s world." 



XXI. 

THE APPARITION OF EASTER MONDAY, APRIL 5TH 
THE MIRACLE OF THE LIGHTED TAPER. 

TEN days after, on the 5th of April, Easter Mon 
day, Bernadette, surrounded by a multitude of per 
sons praying, was again favored by an apparition of 
the Immaculate Virgin. This time, there was a 
spectacle which excited more astonishment than all 
the former wonders, and which showed the divine 
character of the visions. 

The child, kneeling, held in one hand a lighted 
taper, which was resting on the ground. Absorbed 
in the contemplation of the Queen of Heaven, her 
little hands came together, and without heeding 



The Wonders of Loitrdcs. 103 

what she was doing, she raised them a little and let 
them rest gently on the top of the lighted taper. 
And then the flame passed through her fingers 
which were slightly parted, and reached above them, 
swayed to and fro by a slight breeze. 

The people beside her were alarmed, and cried 
out: " She is burning! ... She is burning! " The 
child was smiling, motionless, serene. 

" Let her alone," said some to those who would 
have removed the taper; " evidently she does not 
feel the fire. Let us see what will happen." 

A physician was observing the child. Amazed, 
he took out his watch. The flame continued to 
burn; the hands rested on it without the slightest 
quiver, for more than a quarter of an hour. All 
that were near enough to see Bernadette saw the 
flame rising above her fingers. They said softly: 
" A miracle ! a miracle ! " Never yet had there been 
such excitement at the grotto. At last her hands 
parted; the doctor took and examined them; they 
were white and unhurt. 

After the ecstasy, when Bernadette had returned 
to ordinary life, one of the spectators brought the 
flame of the still lighted candle near the child s 
hand. " Oh! you are burning me," cried she, draw 
ing back quickly. 

So manifest and so touching a miracle left a deep 
impression. It was the seventeenth apparition, and 



IO4 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

the fifteenth of those to which the Virgin had called 
the multitude as witnesses of those interviews whose 
mystery was so profound a secret and yet so ad 
mirably revealed. On that day, there were more 
than nine thousand persons around Bernadette. 

The divine spectacle ended for the crowds on the 
5th of April. For the last time before them, the 
Queen of Glory made the reflection of her splendor 
shine on the angelic face of the transfigured child, 
showed the power of her beauty in the ecstasy of 
that soul carried away by an irresistible entrance- 
ment. She wished, on that day, to give a triumph 
ant testimonial of herself. 

She came to place the Divine Seal on her work 
and to confirm faith and the glory of her name by 
the inimitable signature of a miracle. 

Graceful and astounding spectacle! The little 
child contemplates the Lady, prays, smiles. She 
presents her tender hands to the flame. The flame 
touches, caresses, and does not burn them. That 
blessed candle, consuming like a prayer, respects 
the child, whilst she is with the Immaculate Con 
ception. For more than a quarter of an hour, the 
flames were seen to lick her little hands and the child 
smiles. 

It was thus that the multitude saw Bernadette in 
the last public apparition; and such is the last, the 
divine remembrance left of her presence by the 



The Wonders of Lotirdes. 105 

white Lady of the rose-bush, the Virgin of tl grotto, 
of the fountain of miracles, of the rosary, of light, 
of roses, of smiles, the Immaculate Conception. 

Bernadette was to see her once more, but almost 
alone, and long after that day, to be strengthened 
and consoled. 



XXII. 

MIRACULOUS CURE OF YOUNG HENRI BUSQUET. 

MIRACLES were manifested by the operation of 
the water of the grotto, like flowers by the action of 
the Spring dew. They were already, so to say, 
innumerable. Here is one, chosen from amongst a 
hundred others, and the authenticity of which has 
been proclaimed by physicians and at the same time 
by the ecclesiastical authority. 

There was then at Nay, in the Basses-Pyrenees, 
a young lad of fifteen, named Henri Busquet, whose 
health had been destroyed and his blood vitiated, in 
consequence of typhoid fever, which, two years 
before, had almost carried him off. An enormoua 
abscess, of a scrofulous nature, had formed on his 
neck, at the right side, and had insensibly reached 
the top of the chest and the lower part of the cheek 



io6 The Wonders of Lourdes, 

At the end of four months, as the result of an opera 
tion which was judged necessary, a hideous gaping 
ore extended over all the part diseased. Besides, 
swelling of the glands had come near the ulcer. 

All treatment had been useless. The waters of 
Cauterets had done more harm than good. The 
poor child s condition grew worse every day. 

Henry was very pious. He heard of the wonders 
of Lourdes and the miraculous spring. Being unable 
to go there, he begged a good neighbor who waa 
going to make the pilgrimage to bring him a little 
of the water. He was convinced that the Blessed 
Virgin would cure him; the usual presentiment 
with those on whom the grace of a miracle is be 
stowed. 

On the evening of the 28th of April, the so much 
desired water was brought him. He knelt down 
with his father, his mother, his brothers and sisters, 
all faithful, simple, trusting Christians. Henri lay 
down, that the lotions might be more conveniently 
applied. The doctor had recommended that no 
cold water should be allowed to touch the ulcer. 
The consequence, he said, would be very serious. 
But to the pious child, the Blessed Virgin came be* 
fore the doctor, and the water from the grotto was 
not " cold water." 

He therefore takes off the bandages and the lint 
which covered the ulcer and the tumors, and with a 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 107 

f.loth dipped in the miraculous water he bathes his 
iVurf ul sores. " It is impossible," thought he, " that 
the Blessed Virgin will not cure me;" and with this 
thought he went peacefully to sleep. 

Next morning, on awaking, lie was cured, com 
pletely cured. No more ulcer, no more sore, no 
more tumors, no more suffering; as a remembrance, 
the Good Virgin had however left him the scar of 
his ulcer; but this scar was firm and white, as solid 
as if the hand of time had slowly healed it. The 
cure had been radical, sudden, and without any 
convalescence. 

Yet more, the young Henry s very constitution, 
until then scrofulous and much impaired, was at the 
same moment restored to its normal condition. 
Since that time, in fact, Henri Busquet has always 
been well; he has grown up, full of health and 
gtrength. 

" To-day," says an eye witness, " he is a fine tall 

young man of twenty-eight, working with his father, 

a plasterer by trade, singing all day long, not coarse 

*nor obscene, but gay and cheerful songs, or hymns 

in honor of his immaculate benefactress." 

The report of the physicians has fully established 
the perfectly supernatural character of this cure. 
"We class this fact," they say, " amongst those 
which fully and in an evident manner possess a 
supernatural character." 



1O8 . The Wonders of Lourdes. 

The doctor who had attended the favored child of 
MARY, declared with no less frankness that "the 
sudden cure was miraculous and divine." 



XXIII. 

EIGHTEENTH AND LAST APPARITION OF THE BLESSED 
VIRGIN TO BEBNADETTE. 

WE have said that Bernadette was to see the 
Immaculate Virgin once more, and to receive a 
supreme consolation from her who had given her to 
suffer for the new work of her love. The poor child 
had, in fact, undergone many persecutions, as we 
have before said. She had endured them with great 
constancy, sweetness, and simple humility. 

It was the evening of the 16th of July, the Feast 
of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Bernadette felt the 
mysterious attraction which had formerly called her 
to the meeting at the grotto. She spoke of it to her 
family. Her youngest aunt offered to accompany 
her. Two persons from Lourdes, who had one day 
testified a lively desire to follow Bernadette in the 
hope of seeing the ecstasy, were informed, and all 
four set out together. 

The grotto was then closed by order of the pre 
fect ; and Bernadette, of all people, could not en- 



The Wcndcrs of Lourdcs. IO9 

,oh on the forW.1,1,.,. ground. They went down 
, o ,"h the meadow, * V,c on the oppose 

,k of the Gam They knelt down, facing the 
gol at .,,- dittanee from a group of persons 
who were pr.vying, without heeding the new comers, 
I>d ITail Mary s on the beads of their rosary. 

11 2et hands suddenly unclasp and Ml by 
her side as if in surprise. Her comp suspect 
the ecstacy is coming. By the last hght of day th y 
, e her face grow pale, her eyes sparkle. At tlus 
Tn nt, a wfman approaches ^f^ 
B nd kneels down, not far from Bernadette, without 
thinking of the miracle. The light was reflected < 
the transfigured face of the child. Once more and 
for the last time Bernadette s aunt beheld her niece 
. her radiant pallor, the beatitude of her glance 
lost amid the beauties and the glory of the Virgin 
MART Rapt in admiration, the two companions 
looked on in silence; and the happy child, forgetful 
of earth, was entranced with the delights winch 
MARY brought her from Paradise for the eighteenth 

time. j 

In about a quarter of an hour, the ecstasy ceased. 

Bernadetto had received a last farewell 

She spoke of the Vision with a deep impression of 

happiness. From the first rays which announced it, 

he had lost sight of evei y thing, of the Gave, of the 



HO The Wonders of Lour des. 

barriers. It was as at the grotto; the Virgin, noth 
ing but the Virgin and her white robe, and her veil, 
and her blue girdle, and her aureola, and he* 
sweet looks, and her smiles. . . . Only the Mother 
of GOD had never appeared so glorious. Her 
countenance seemed to the child still more beautiful 
and more radiant; the light, more dazzling than 
ever. 

This almost solitary apparition was entirely for 
the child. It was little known, and it had no in 
fluence on the belief of the people. 

Poor little Bernadette had fulfilled her mission 
with a simplicity full of courage, and a devotion 
stronger than any trials. For the Lady of the rock, 
she had fought, she had suffered; she was to suffer 
and to fight again. The unhoped for return of the 
Blessed Virgin showed that she was pleased with 
her child, and in the ineffable joys of those heavenly 
moments, she brought her the reward of the past 
with strength for the future. 



XXIV. 

BERNADETTE, AFTER THE APPARITIONS. 

THE humble and favored child whom the Blessed 
Virgin had chosen to perform through her such 



The Wonders of Lourdes. Ill 

great things, remained, after the celestial visits, 
what she was before; the Blessed Virgin preserved 
her simple, modest, innocent. There never seemed 
lo be anything extraordinary about her, unless it 
were the calm, gentle humility, with which she 
braved, so to say, vainglory, and continual ques 
tioning. 

At school, she played, ran, amused herself, and 
joined in the ring, like other little girls. Her intel 
lect remained quite ordinary. She was a long time 
in learning to read and write. She was pious, ex* 
emplary; but there was nothing to distinguish her 
from other pious children. She spoke but little; her 
language was somewhat rude; all her merit seemed 
to lie in that which had charmed the Queen of 
Angels; the innocence of a poor and obscure life, 
candor of mind, and conscientiousness. 

Bernadette made her first communion in that 
same year, 1858, on the 3d of June, the Feast of 
Corpus Christi. Something extraordinary was ex 
pected; nothing however occurred; nothing but a 
good little girl, piously making a good first Com 
munion. 

For two years after this, Bernadette attended 
school. Some months after her first communion, 
she was admitted into the Sodality of the Blessed 
Virgin, where she continued to edify all about her, 
without surprising any one. In 1860, the Sisters of 



112 The Wonders of Ljurdts. 

Charity at Nevers, who sensed the hospital of 
Lourdes, and at the same time directed the school, 
offered, her a shelter with them, and thenceforth, she 
remained nndcr their roof. She was always the 
game; her health was still feeble; she was troubled 
with asthma, and it may well be added, with the 
continual visits of pilgrims and other persons. 

This crowd continued every day. Faithful to the 
grace of publicity which had characterized the mir 
acles of the sacred grotto, Bernadette did not hide 
herself from the looks or qnestions of any one, even 
when they were indiscreet. Of herself, she never 
spoke of the supernatural power of which she had 
been the object. When questioned, she answered 
briefly, with much clearness, and what was most as 
tonishing, without showing the least emotion. She 
was merely a witness, simple and sincere, who told 
what she had seen, who repeated what she had heard, 
nothing more, nothing less. 

When she saw that the persons who questioned 
her had determined not to believe her, she avoided 
all dispute. " That is what I saw, and what I 
know," she said, without bitterness and almost with 
indifference ; " if you will not believe me, what am I 
to do ? " And she was silent. 

In the beginning, when she was threatened, or 
when they tried to make her say that she had spoken 
falsely, she answered with a firmness beyond her 



The Wonder* of Loitrdes. 113 

age: "Do as you will; as for me, rather than say 

my words are untrue, I will go to prison." 

The good Goo, however, caused the pure truth of 
Bernadette s words to shine forth in an inexplicable 
manner; he gave her an irresistible power, and this 
child who naturally had nothing with which to 
touch and convince, nearly always touched and con 
vinced. A Protestant magistrate, who was a learned 
lawyer, went one day to visit Bernadette with a 
clergyman of his acquaintance. They both ques 
tioned her. The Protestant listened with deep in 
terest; gradually emotion overcame him, and he 
began to weep. " Reverend Father," said he, as 
they came out, " people may dispute, they may seek 
to explain the marvels of the grotto: as for me, the 
force of conviction is here; that child surprises and 
touches me. There is something in it." 

To sincere objections, Bernadette always found 
the required answer with strange facility. She never 
was witty, but at those times, when there was ques 
tion of defending the honor of truth, and conse 
quently the honor of the Blessed Virgin. An excel 
lent Christian, pretending not to believe that the 
Blessed Virgin expressed herself in Bernese patois, 
said to Rernadette: "You are mistaken, my child. 
The good GOD and the Blessed Virgin do not under 
stand your dialect; they do not know that miserable 
tongue." 



c 14 The Wonders of Lourdes* 

" If they did not know it, sir," gently answered 
the little girl> "how could we know it ourselves? 
And if they did not understand it, who would make 
us able to understand it ? . . . ." 

" How could the Blessed Virgin order you to eat 
grass?" asked another strong-minded individual; 
" did she take you for a beast ? " 

" Do they think you are a beast when you eat 
salad?" immediately answered the child, with a 
Blight smile. 

We have said that neither Bernadette nor her 
poor parents would ever accept anything from the 
innumerable visitors who, either through kindness 
of heart, or to try them, made them a thousand 
times over the most tempting offers. The child s 
refusal was always so firm, so emphatic, that many 
thought that this was one of the three secret com 
mands which the Blessed Virgin had given to her 
little favorite. 

A lady knowing her extreme delicacy and at the 
same time the poverty in which her parents lived, 
secretly slipped two pieces of gold into her pocket 
one day. Bernadette felt it. She quickly drew out 
the two pieces, and with a feeling of wounded dig 
nity she said: " Madame, I thank you; but I will 
not keep your gold." 

" But, my child, your parents are so poor," an 
swered the lady, kindly ; " I give you that with my 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. \ 1 5 

whole heart. Poor child, perhaps you do not always 
have bread." 

"Not always, Madame; but I need so little 1 " 

The generous lady was obliged to take back her 
gold. 

Another day, a good priest, deeply affected, offered 
her a piece of silver. She refused it; he insisted; 
she refused again. " Please take it," said the priest, 
" it will not be for you : it will be for the poor. You 
will have the pleasure of giving alms." 

" Give it yourself for my intention, Father," an* 
swered Bernadette; "that will be better than if I 
gave it myself." 

Meanwhile Bernadette became a young woman. 
As she advanced in life, she felt herself more and 
more disgusted with the world and its tumult, and 
she resolved to consecrate herself to GOD in a reli 
gious life. After having been the messenger and 
apostle of the Immaculate Virgin during the first 
years of the pilgrimage of I ourdes, after having 
thus done immense and incalculable good, she 
entered, in July, 1860, the novitiate of the Sisters of 
Charity, at Nevers, and made her vows there, on 
the 30th of October, 1867, under the name of Sister 
Mary Bernard. She was then a little more than 
twenty-three years of age. 

She was always the same little Bernadette, simple, 
humble, gentle, always sufferipg ; always wortl?^ r of 



Ii6 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

the Immaculate Virgin. " Her countenance,* sayfl 
a person who had the happiness of seeing her lately, 
"her countenance has preserved the character and 
the grace of childhood. She possesses an incom 
parable charm, a charm which is not of earth; the 
very sight of her elevates the soul; and one leaves 
her embalmed with the odor of innocence. Other 
wise, there is nothing extraordinary, nothing which 
distinguishes her to the eye and which could make 
one guess the sublime favors of which she was the 
object. GOD visits her still, no longer by radiant 
apparitions, but by the sacred trial of suffering. 
She is often sick and has the happiness of suffering 
much. She endures pain with a gentle and almost 
joyful patience. Several times they thought her at 
the point of death: I shall not die yet, said she, 
smiling." 

As formerly, at Lourdes, unless she is questioned, 
she never speaks of the prodigies of which she was 
the instrument. She only seeks retirement, silence 
and recollection. 

" She is always a very charming child," wrote a 
Religious of the Community; "she is as pioua 
as an angel,, as gentle as a lamb, as simple as a little 
dove. May the good GOD deign to preserve her to 
f ia ! It does one so much good to see her." 



The Wonders of Lour de 5. 117 

XXV. 

EPISCOPAL DECISION AND THE CANONICAL ESTAB 
LISHMENT OF THE PILGRIMAGE. 

PROM the first month, the venerable Monseigneur 
Laurence, the Bishop of Tarbes, informed by tho 
pastor of Lourdes, had taken a lively interest in the 
extraordinary events of which the grotto of Massa- 
bielle had been and still continued to be the witness. 
On the 28th of July, 1858, he had named a com 
mittee composed of learned and prudent ecclesias 
tics, physicians, and others, respected for their 
knowledge as for their high character. 

For a long time, too long, it seemed, Bishop 
Laurence reserved his decision. Providence willed 
it so; it wished that the pilgrimage of Lourclea 
would establish itself, supernaturally, and without 
the aid of any earthly power, even the most divine 
of all, that of the Church. Only the Immaculate 
Virgin was to be the soul of that incomparable pro 
digy, first by her mysterious apparitions to little 
Bernadette, then by the continual and miraculous 
manifestations of mercy, the fame of which had 
already extended throughout all France. 

The judgment of the prudent and pious Bishop 
had then no part in the establishment and the glory 
of the pilgrimage of Our Lady of Lourdes. When 



Ii3 The Wonders of Lour de 3. 

the Bishop spoke, the pilgrimage was founded; it 
shone with all its splendor; and the decree of ecc 1 ?,- 
siastical authority only certified, confirmed what 
already was. Before giving it, Bishop Laurence 
wished himself to see and question little Bernadette. 
In a solemn sitting of the committee of investigation, 
he made her appear before him, and once again 
she repeated her story, answering all the ques 
tions wnich were suggested to these men by the 
consciousness of the great act which they were pre 
paring. When, relating the apparition of the 25th of 
March, Bernadette imitated the attitude and gesture 
of the " Lady " at the moment when she said, " I 
am the Immaculate Conception" two large tears 
were seen to roll down the face of the old 
Bishop. After the council, he said, still much af 
fected: "Did you observe that child ? " and he did 
not seek to conceal the deep impression which she 
had made upon him. 

At length, light was fully obtained, all possible 
objections had been conscientiously discussed and 
fully answered, faith, sound reason and grave science 
had said their last word, the Bishop published, on 
the 18th of January, 1862, nearly four years after 
the apparition, a decree giving judgment on the ap 
paritions of the grotto of Lourdes. 

The statement of this solemn decree was as fol 
lows; 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 

"After having conferred with our venerable 
brethren, the Dignitaries, Canons and Chapter of 
our Cathedral Church; having invoked the holy 
name of GOD; 

" Following the rules wisely laid down by Bene 
dict XIV. for the discernment of true or false ap 
paritions; 

"In view of the favorable report presented to us 
by the committee appointed to investigate the ap 
parition at the grotto of Lourdes and the facts con 
nected therewith ; 

" In view of the written testimony of physicians 
whom we have consulted on the subject of the nu 
merous cures obtained immediately on the use of 
the water of the Grotto; 

" Considering in the first place that the fact of the 
upparition, regarded either as to the young girl who 
Tclates it, or still more as to the extraordinary effects 
which it has produced, can be explained only by the 
intervention of a supernatural cause; 

" Considering in the second place that this cause 
can only be divine, since the effects produced were, 
some, sensible signs of grace, (like the conversion of 
sinners) others, departures from the laws of nature, 
(as miraculous cures) which can only proceed from the 
Authorof grace and the Master of nature; 

"Considering, finally, that our conviction ia 
strengthened by the immense and spontaneous con- 



I2O The Wonders of Lourdes. 

course of pilgrims to the grotto, which has never 
ceased since the first apparitions, and the object of 
which is to ask favors or to return thanks for those 
already obtained; 

" To respond to the legitimate impatience of oui 
venerable Chapter, of the clergy and laity of our 
diocese, and of so many pious souls who have long 
Bince demanded from the ecclesiastical authority a 
decision which motives of prudence have made ua 
delay. 

" Wishing also to satisfy the desire of several of 
our colleagues in the episcopacy, and a great num 
ber of distinguished persons, outside the diocese; 

"After having invoked the light of the Holy 
Ghost and the assistance of the Blessed Virgin, 

"We have declared and do declare what follows: 

" We judge that the IMMACULATE MARY, MOTHEB 
OF GOD, did really appear to Bernadette Soubirous, 
on the llth of February, 1858, and on days follow 
ing, to the number of eighteen times, in the grotto 
of Massabielle, near the town of Lourdes; that this 
apparition has all the marks of truth, and that the 
faithful are authorized to believe it certain. " 

Bishop Laurence added that he submitted this 
decision to the supreme judgment of the Roman 
Pontiff; he authorized in his diocese the devotion of 
Our Lady of Lourdes ; and, continued he, " in con- 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 121 

formity to the will of the Blessed Virgin, several 
times expressed in the apparitions, we propose 
to build a sanctuary at the grotto, which is now the 
property of the Bishop of Tarbes." And, for this 
purpose, the pious Bishop made an appeal to the 
charity of all the faithful eager for the glory of the 
Immaculate Conception. 

Some years after, without directly giving judg 
ment on the sacred apparitions of the grotto, the 
Sovereign Pontiff indirectly confirmed the decision 
)f the Bishop of Tarbes. In a beautiful Brief ho 
iddressed to the celebrated historian of Our Lady 
of Lourdes, dated the 4th of September, 1869, the 
Pope congratulated him on having "proved and 
established the recent apparition of the most merci 
ful Mother of GOD, and that in such a manner, that 
the very struggle of the malice of men against the 
divine mercy serves precisely to show forth with 
more force and lustre the luminous evidence of the 
fact" It may then be engraved on the rock of 
Massabielle, with the august signature of Pius IX., 
these words which the spirit of GOD dictated to his 
heart: "The apparition of the Immaculate Con 
ception in the grotto of Lourdes is a fact of glorious 
truths." 

Th? appeal of the venerable Bishop was heard. 
A magnificent plan of a gothic church was adopted; 
H was to cost millions; it presented enormous diffi 
11 



122 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

culties; Bishop Laurence only consulted his faith; 
he thought only of the glory of the Immaculate 
Virgin. The work was commenced in the month of 
October, 1862, and four years after, on the 21st of 
May, 1866, the Holy Mass was celebrated for the 
first time, in the crypt over which the new Sanctuary 
was to rise. 

But p revious to this, a first solemnity had already 
celebrated the glory of Our Lady of Lourdes, and 
realized the desire of which little Bernadette had 
formerly been the messenger : " I wish the people 
to come here in procession." 

The statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was to be 
blessed and placed in the grotto, in the oval hollow, 
in the very place where the Immaculate Virgin had 
deigned to appear so many times. On the 4th of 
April, 1864, six years after the miraculous appari 
tions, Bishop Laurence, surrounded by an immense 
number of the clergy and laity, solemnly blessed 
the marble statue which the talent and faith of a 
Lyonnese artist had endeavored to reproduce of the 
Vision. 

This statue represents the Blessed Virgin at the 
moment when she said to Bernadette on the 25th of 
March: "/ am the Immaculate Conception" It 
was made according to the exact description of 
Bernadette, faithfully represented in all its details. 
But, alas ! what can the hand of man do, when it 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 123 

would reproduce, with material elements, things 
heavenly and divine ? When Bernadette saw thie 
beautiful statue, she said: " Ah, it is very beauti 
ful ! but .... it is not HER ! Tiie difference is 
like that between earth and heaven." 

The day of the inauguration of the shrine, Ber- 
nadftte had the happiness of seeing with her own 
eyes the triumph of her Immaculate Benefactress. 
It was a festival for the town- of Lourdes and the 
whole diocese; and the memory of that day still 
lives in the hearts of the people. 

The surrounding land, bought by the bishopric, 
was appropriated to the wants of the pilgrimage. 
The soil of the grotto was leveled, and the miracu 
lous water which gushes out at the end, on the left, 
\s now received in a basin of white marble, whence 
(t flows into the Gave. The grotto remains as it 
was during the apparitions. The crypt and the 
church are placed on the Massabielle rocks, like a 
splendid crown offered to the Immaculate Concep 
tion. The spire rises three hundred feet above the 
grotto- 

The wants of the pilgrimage have necessitated 
the foundation of a special house of missionaries, 
who receive processions, welcome pilgrims, hear 
confessions and distribute to the faithful the Holy 
Eucharist and the Wcrd of GOD. 



124 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

XXVI. 

MIRACLES OF OUR LADY OF LOURDES. 

\ 

As for the miracles of all kinds which weie, so to 
say, unceasingly performed either at the grotto 
itself, or at a distance, by the use of the water, or 
even by the invocation of Our Lady of Lourdes, 
"There are so many that we no longer count 
them," said the excellent Superior of the missionaries 
lately to me. 

When Bishop Laurence gave his decision, there 
was published with it the account of seven cures, 
all in the one year, 1858, and which had been recog 
nized as absolutely miraculous by the physicians 
of the commission. We have already related three 
of them; the sudden cure of Louis Bourriette s eye; 
the all but resuscitation of little Justin; the instan 
taneous cure of the sores and incurable infirmities 
of young Henri Busquet. These are the four 
others : 

Blaisette Soupenne, of Lourdes, had an inveter 
,,ate disease of the eyes, which had for three years 
resisted medicines and the use of mineral waters. 
A surgical operation was pronounced indispensable. 
Blaisette washed her eyes for two days at the grotto, 
and immediately they became perfectly sound, 

Catherine Latapie-Chouat, of Loubajao in the 



The Wonders of Loxrdes. 125 

Ilautcs-Pyrenees, had as the result of a dislocation 
a weakness in the right arm, and two fingers stiff 
and cramped. Obeying an urgent inspiration, she 
went and dipped her hand into the water of the 
fountain. The fingers at once opened and remained 
supple; the arm recovered all its strength. 

Madame Madeleine llizan of Nay, a widow, in 
consequence of a violent attack of cholera, in 1837, 
was quite crippled : she was lame, her left hand 
pained her; her limbs were always icy cold; she 
scarcely ate anything, could not digest, vomited 
continually, and was subject to fainting fits. In 
1858 it was thought she was dying. She began to 
spit blood; her swollen limbs became contracted; it 
was impossible for her to move in the bed. 

She drinks of the water of the grotto; instantly 
she feels her hand cured; the water is applied to the 
diseased parts of her body: the disease everywhere 
disappears, successively and immediately cured by 
the miraculous water. The sick woman rises, eats 
with a better appetite, and begins to live, like a 
person in perfect health. 

Miss Marie Moreau, of Tart as (Landes), had been 
for ten months suffering from :v disease of the eyes, 
and the most skillful treatment, as well us sea 
bathing, were tried in vain. The young girl must 
oon and inevitably become blind. Her family, 



126 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

hearing of the wonderful cure of Madame Rizan, 
commenced a novena to Our Lady of Lourdes. 

The first night, the young invalid went to bed 
with bandages soaked in the water of Lourdes on 
her eyes. Next morning, on awakening, she found 
her sight entirely restored. 

During the first four years, a hundred and forty- 
four miracles of the first order were witnessed and 
recorded, without counting hundreds, thousands of 
others, all as rare, though less striking. 

For the glory of the Immaculate Virgin, for the 
consolation of the faith and piety of the faithful, 
for the encouragement of the sick, infirm, and all 
those who suffer, for the confusion of strong minds, 
and of impious or indifferent physicians, we shall 
relate yet more of these splendid prodigies which 
have been performed since then.* 

They manifest with irresistible evidence the truth 

* I have borrowed all the details from the Annals of Our Lady 
of Lourdes. Nothing can be more authentic than these accounts, 
taken from the most part from the persons themselves who have 
hnd the happiness of being cured by the Blessed Virgin, or from 
eye-witnesses, or, in fine, from the venerable missionaries, who 
have them from the most authentic sources 

In Mr. Henri Lasserre s beautiful book the reader will find the 
conscientious account of many other miracles, which the author, 
I repeat, has verified himself even to the slightest details, devot 
ing entire months to visiting the persons cured, and obtaining 
from their own lips, what he /elates so charmingly and with BO 
much faith It brings tears to the eyes to read of these wonder* 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 127 

of the Catholic faith, and in a special manner, the 
legitimacy, the divine fruitiulness of devotion to the 
Blessed Virgin and the mystery of the Immaculate 
Conception. 

Let us yet observe : however numerous, how 
ever incessant may be the miracles of Lourdes, it 
must not be forgotten that there as in all the other 
sanctuaries of MARY, a miracle is and can only be 
the exception. When we say miracles we mean an 
extraordinary intervention of the divine powers in 
human things. It would then be absurd to imagine 
that it suffices to drink the water of Lourdes, or to 
make a novena, or even to go on a pilgrimage to 
the miraculous grotto, to be infallibly delivered 
from an infirmity, or from a disease. 

Confidence in the Immaculate Conception cannot 
indeed be too great, too entire; but this confidence 
must always be controlled by a profound love for 
the will of GOD and by the most absolute submis 
sion to the secret ways by which Providence con 
ducts us. The Mother of Mercy, mark this well, 
always accepts and hears our prayers; but she hears 
them in ner own way, not in ours; she hears them 
divinely, granting us whatever is the best and most 
sanctifying for us. Suffering is so often the favor 
of favors and the most real of al goods ! If the 
Blessed Virgin does not think it expedient to cure 
the evils of our body, doubt not that she obtaim 



128 The Wonders of Loi^rdes. 

and grants graces of resignation, of lively faith, 
which are a thousand times more useful than any 
cure. 

Let us then go to the Immaculate Virgin of 
Lourdes with these elevated sentiments, which are 
alone worthy of Christian hearts; and even though 
we may not have been, like so manv others, the ob 
ject of a miracle, let us not be foolish enough to 
think the novena, the confident use of the waters 
from the grotto, the long and painful pilgrimage, 
useless, when, it has not been answered by a cure 
fervently asked, impatiently expected. It is be 
yond doubt, that the Mother of GOD is never im 
plored in vain, and that we cannot too often have 
recourse to her maternal heart. 



XXVII. 

SUDDEN CUBE OF A PROTESTANT FREE-THINKER, 

I WILL first relate a charming little miracle, im* 
pressed with a certain originality, and which was 
related to me by one of the pious missionaries of. 
Lourdes, who was an eye-witness of it. It was per 
formed on a Protestant free-thinker, who was so far 
from thinking of asking for it that he was not only 
amazed but vexed at it. 



Wonders of Lour tics. 12$ 

He was au artist, Mr. Max M , who was tol 
erably well known in one of the principal watering 
places of the Pyrenees. He there directed with real 
talent, the orchestra of a grand casino-concert, dur 
ing the summer season. He had been much trou 
bled for some time on account of a tumor which 
grew on his right hand and for which neither medi 
cine nor surgery could do anything. In I860, this 
tumor, vainly compressed by a leaden plate, was 
almost as large as an egg; it already prevented, the 
poor musician from closing his luuid and from freely 
using his bow, 

His wife was a Catholic; what kind of one, I do 
not know; but at all events,* she was neither a Pro 
testant nor a free-thinker. A pious friend having 
induced this lady to -accompany her to the. grotto of 

Lourdes, Mr. Max M consented to be one of the 

party, which he, beyond doubt, considered as a curi 
ous excursion and not a pilgrimage. 

When they reached the grotto, he had not even 
the good taste to uncover his head nor to throw 
away his cigar. Standing, with his hat on, smoking 
among a crowd of pilgrims piously kneeling, he 
coolly and disdainfully observed the grotto. 

His wife s friend approached him ; Mr. Max," 
isaid she to him, " the Blessed Virgin may cure you. 
Come with me and drink the miraculous water." 
At first the musician resisted and shrugged hia 



1 30 The Wonders of Lonrdes. 

shoulders; but the pious lady insisted. "What 
harm will it do you?" said she. " Do it for me. 
Drink some of the water; it is fresh and excellent. * 

" At least," thought the free-thinker, " if it does 
me no good, it can do me no harm;" and he ap 
proached the fountain sneering a little. The lady 
offered him a glass of water which he drank at one 

draught The tumor had disappeared. "Ah, 

my GOD!" cried he, growing pale and quickly ap 
proaching his wife, who- was kneeling in prayer. 
" My dear," said he, much agitated, " I am cured. 5 * 
" Let me alone ! " answered she, a little crossly. 
" It is not right for you always to mock thus at my 
convictions." "But I am not mocking. Wait; 
look: my tumor is no longer there." 

The poor woman could not believe her eyes. Th e 
leaden plate lay on his hand, of which the skin, the 
veins and the flesh had suddenly returned to their 
normal state. With her friend, she threw herself 
on her knees, bathed in tears. 

As for him, as pale as death, he knew not what 
to do. He had instinctively uncovered his head, 
thrown away his cigar and could not help saying, 
and repeating aloud: "I am cured, cured for good. 
The Virgin has cured me." The missionary Father, 
who was there, asked him to leave as ex voto, the 
plate of lead with the bandages which had com 
pressed the tumor, to be hung in the grotto. He 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 131 

consented; and to this day, that modest ex voto if 
to be seen at the grotto. 

Mr. Max M- went away oure<i, but not con 
verted. Let us hope th-it he will some day draw 
the logical consequences from his euro so evidently 
miraculous, and Uiot the Immaculate Virgin of 
Lourdes will sooner or later relieve him of the enor 
mous tumor of heresy which has hitherto prevented 
his eyes from being opened to the heavenly light of 
the Gospel and of the Church. 

Miracles do not always make conversions: wit 
ness those that Our Lord performed before the 
Scribes and Pharisees but when they do not con 
vert, they condemn beyond forgiveness. It may be 
said of miracles what is said of the Eucharist: 
" Vita bonis, mors mails." To the good, it is life; 
to the wicked, death. To believe, even after a mira 
cle, one must be sincere and humble. 



XXVIII. 

LITTLE PIERRE ESTOURNEf s EYES. 

IN 1864 Madame Estournet, of Tarbes, had a little 
boy named Pierre, whom she was nursing and whose 
eyes began to grow sore. Thinking that it wns only 
wie of those temporary ailments to which all young 



132 The Wonders of Lourdts. 

children are subject, she was not at all anxiona. 

One day, when she was carrying the child in he* 
arms, a physician, who was a friend of the family, 
stopped to see little Pierre. " His eyes are a 
little sore/ 1 said she. 

" Oli \ he is a splendid child ! But what is this 
soreness of the eyes ? " said the doctor, in an anx 
ious way, as he examined the pupils of the eye. 
"You unfortunate woman; this child is getting 
blind." 

The poor mother was terrified. " Yon are not 
serious in telling me that ? Is it true ?" For an 
swer, the physician showed her Pierre s eyes. The 
inside was hideous: a ball of red flesh, swimming in 
a sort of matter. Madame Estournet was heart 
broken. A feeling of strong faith came to sustain 
her. She thought of the water of the grotto. 

She however took her son to another doctor. 
"The case is serious, very serious," said the latter; 
" you have much reason to fear that the child may 
become blind; it may be te*> late. Why did you 
wait so long ? " 

"O my GOD! I did not suspect this!" said the 
poor weeping mother. 

A prescription was written. Every day there 
was to be put on the eye a drop of very powerful 
Hquid, which would consume the diseased flesh. 

Madame Estournet was endowed with a rare de 



The Wonders oj Lourdes. 133 

cision of character and a very lively faith. She at 
once resolved what to do. She turned towards the 
Blessed Virgin and said to her: " No remedies! 
You, O MARY, will cure my child by the water from 
the grotto." And she threw the doctor s prescrip 
tion into the fire. 

She again examined the poor child s eyes; they 
seemed worse than she had yet seen them. Beside 
herself, she fell on her knees before a statue of the 
Virgin, and said, many times aloud: " Cure him for 
me! Oh! cure him for me! " 

Then trembling, she pours on little Pierre s eyes 
some drops of the miraculous water. The eye-lid 
scarcely moves. A sort of despair seizes upon the 
mother. "Oh! it is not possible, said she ; "no, no, 
he will not be cured; I do not deserve a miracle." 

A little while after, unable to restrain her im 
patience, she takes her child from the cradle, and 
washes his eyes again with the water from the grotto; 
then takes him in her arms to see if he will look. 
Her father-in-law and a woman of the house were 
there. She calls Pierre and caresses him to make 
^him look at her. The child feebly uncloses, and, 
with his eyes scarcely opened, he turns his head 
towards where she was calling him. " Oh! he will 
be blind," said the mother, in a tone of distress. 

"No! no, see, Madam," said the neighbor, "he is 
looking at you." The agitated mother could not 



134 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

perceive it. But her confidence in MARY overcame 
her fears; she began to hope again. 

Three days passed in anguish and in prayer. " O 
Our Lady of Lourdes! O Virgin of the grotto, cure 
my child!" These words were unceasingly on her 
lips and in her heart; she repeats them thousands of 
times. 

Every day she pours some drops of the water 
from the grotto on the child s eyes, without using 
any remedy. On the third day, she has just wiped 
the little one s eyelids and was looking anxiously at 
them, when the child opened his eyes, fixed them 
gently on his mother, smiled, looked again, his 
eyes were clear and bright. 

" I became crazed with joy," said she to the 
missionary to whom she related the fact. "I fell 
on my knees before the Virgin. Then, what did I 
do? I do not very well know. What I do know 
is, that I threw myself on the Virgin s neck, and 
covered her with kisses. Ah! she restored my child 
to me!" 

The doctor came. Madame Estournet showed 
him her little Pierre, saying: "I am content; I 
think he is cured. But examine them well, and see 
how they seem to you?" 

" He is cured," said the doctor, after a moment of 
attentive observation; "the remedy was happily 
applied, was it not? " 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 135 

" But toll me, is he really cured? do you assure 
Jio of it?" 

" Yes." 

" Well then, doctor, it was not your prescription 
t 1 1 cured him. I must confess that I put it in the 
hre." 

" Miserable woman! " 

" When you were writing it, I already thought: I 
will not use it; I have a better remedy. Do you 
know, doctor, what has cured my little Pierre ? the 
water from the grotto, and it alone." 

The doctor s answer was not related to me. 

To-day, in 1871, little Pierre Estournet is seven 
or eight years old, is full of life, and has magnificent 
eyes. 



XXIX. 

A DYING GIRL INSTANTLY RESTORED. 

IN 1858, Melle. Broca, living at Borderes, near 
Tarbes, had been sick for twenty months, in conse 
quence of great troubles in the family. Nothing 
was to be hoped for from medicine. Her confessor 
advised a novena to the Virgin of the grotto. Melle. 
Broca exclaimed: " What do you ask of me, Father? 
Do you believe in that ? " She still remembers thesa 



136 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

words. It was certainly not impiety which dictated 
them; all her life she had been very pious, and she 
tenderly loved the Blessed Virgin. But the appari 
tions of Lourdes were then much contested, and in 
her neighborhood they were but little believed in. 

It required a command to decide her. Her ser 
vant then went for water to the fountain of Massa- 
bielle. The sick lady drank it for nine days. At 
the end of the novena, the Holy Viaticum was 
brought to her; and during the Mass offered for her 
intention she suddenly found herself relieved; in the 
evening, she felt that her disease had ceased; next 
day, she left her bed. Her faitli in Our Lady of 
Lourdes became deep and loving. This was, how 
ever, but a slight sample of the graces which she 
was to receive later. Her convalescence lasted three 
months, and then left to the young girl 
a continual languor. She was not yet radically 
cured. 

She had promised the Virgin to go and thank her 
at Lourdes. From that time amid, the painful anx 
ieties which afflicted her, the remembrance of her 
promise and the desire to see the grotto became her 
predominant thought. But her continued weakness 
and other reasons hindered her from carrying out 
her plan. In October, 1862, a serious illness ren 
dered its execution absolutely impossible. 

On the 1st of January, 1863, Melle. Broca was con 



The Wonders of Lourdes. \ 37 

fined to her bed. The doctor spoke of consumption. 
The invalid suffered from a dull pain, often becom 
ing acute, in her chest and back. Fever preyed 
upon her at the same time, and for a whole year she 
was frequently delirious. She was extremely wenk. 
She had taken neither meat nor broth since 1858. 
It was almost impossible for her to eat, and she was 
slowly dying. She lost her faculties one by one; 
and what completed her sufferings was that she 
never could get a moment s sleep. In the month of 
August she received Extreme Unction. 

"She was not dead; neither was she living," was 
written in the report made to the Bishop of Tarbes. 
She was allowed to sit up for about an hour every 
day; but it may be said that death had begun in all 
her organs. She could scarcely hear; she could see 
but a little; her throat could give no sound; a few 
very slow steps put her out of breath; her bent 
body seemed as it were distorted ; her nour 
ishment for two whole days was a glass of milk. 
Her head was also weakened, and her memory so 
bewildered, that Melle. Broca almost entirely forgot 
her verbal prayers. Of all the afflictions which had 
come upon her this was the most grievous to her 
truly Christian soul. Piety was the only sweetness 
of her life, or rather, her life itself. 

In this accumulation of physical and mental suf 
fering, a recollection often came to her mind which 



138 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

pained it deeply. This was remorse for not having 
accomplished her pilgrimage to Lourdes, whilst it 
was still possible, and fear that her sickness was a 
punishment from heaven. She suffered much from 
this thought, and gradually the design of fulfilling 
her promise at any cost, took possession of her mind 
ttnd became a necessity. But to go to Lourdes was 
something impossible; to think of it folly. 

She trembled to ask it; conscience made her dare 
it in the month of November, 1864. Her confessor 
put off the pilgrimage to the Spring. But the 
moment came in 1865, as the invalid s condition be 
came so serious, that he dared not take on himself 
the responsibility of such a decision, and he asked 
advice of the Vicar-General of the diocese. Melle. 
Broca s faith and heroic confidence in Our Lady of 
Lourdes prevailed over prudence. He received for 
answer: " The confidence of the sick girl will supply 
the strength which she no longer has." 

The day is fixed; a novena commenced nd has 
continued, notwithstanding the fever, the pains in 
the chest and head, and the most alarming weakness 
For seventeen days, the unfortunate young girl had 
swallowed nothing but a small quantity of water, 
and that with much difficulty. It was feared that 
she would not return alive from her pilgrimage; 
ehe herself was persuaded that she was going to 
Lourdes to die there. 



The . Wonders of Lourdes. 139 

Before the day of departure, she made her final 
arrangements. She dictated her will, settled her 
place of burial, made her confession as if for the 
last time, recommended an old and faithful servant 
to the charity of her confessor, and waited for th 
next day, saying: "I shall die; but it will be in ac 
complishing my promise to the Blessed Virgin; I 
shall die happy. 1 

On the 22d of April, a carriage entered the court 
yard of the house. Two persons who were to ac 
company Melle. Broea supported her coming down, 
At the foot of the stairs, she fainted: they made hex 
sit down, and at length she was placed as if dying 
on cushions, inside the carriage. The driver waa 
frightened and repented of having come; he thought 
he would have to bring back a corpse. The in 
valid s servant and her friend were in continual 
alarm on the way: the poor sick girl remained as if 
in agony. They made her inhale ether; they did all 
in their power to save her the jolting. The carriage 
walked exceedingly slow; the driver was obliged if 
6top three times: the invalid, fatigued by the shall- 
ing, had fainted. 

They at length arrived. The horses went as near 
as possible to the rock. At that time, the road 
by which the grotto is now reached was not there, 
and from where the road turns and follows the Gave 
there was only a narrow and rugged footpath. 



140 The Wonder $ of Lourdes. 

The sick girl was lifted from the carriage and 
placed on a chair. A workman offered to carry her 
in his arms; but, in her modesty, she had asked not 
to be touched by men, whatever happened. Her two 
companions raised her in the chair, and, one of them 
walking backwards, they advanced trembling and 
with difficulty towards the grotto. At the first 
motion Melle. Broca had lost consciousness. 

The chair was placed in front of the grotto: the 
fainting fit still continued. The servant ran to the 
carriage to bring cushions, whilst her dying mistress 
slowly recovered her senses. The friend stayed with 
her and drew some of the water, praying as she 
did so. 

Melle. Broca, still dizzy, had scarcely recov 
ered consciousness, when her friend said to her: 
"Drink." She swallowed a mouthful without 
knowing how; then a second. At the third, sud 
denly, an inconceivable pain, a supernatural shock, 
eeemed to pass through all her limbs. It was rapid 
and terrible, as if a thunderbolt had struck her 
body. 

She raised her eyes, and saw the white statue. 
All pain had passed away; an intense happiness 
penetrated her soul and body. The first words from 
her entranced heart were: "O MARY! .... I do 
not deserve it! .... Cured! cured! .... Yes, 
I am cured," cried she in her heart, whilst her emo 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. 141 

hon stirred the very depths of her soul. "Oh! 
MARY! why? .... why? . . . ." She became 
lost in the deep sentiment of her unworthiness, and 
in an unknown sweetness. At the same time a 
dazzling light illuminated her soul, and perhaps her 
eyes (she could not tell it). Heavenly moment ; it 
lasted but a few seconds : but her life has never 
known any such. However, she had not yet spoken. 
Suddenly, still sitting, in a sonorous and thrilling 
voice, her eyes fixed on the Madonna, she said: 
"Regina coeti loetare." "Rejoice and be glad, O 
Queen of Heaven." .... This prayer suddenly re 
turned to her memory. When she had finished it, 
she rose. Her friend hardly breathed. She beheld 
a resurrection. Melle. Broca fell on her knees: for 
a year she had not been able to kneel. 

She remained a long time motionless. Her whole 
being rested in a sweet, profound calm; her soul 
was serene, and possessing the fullness of peace. 
Soon her tears fell; her friend, silent and overjoyed, 
wept beside her. Together they recited the Rosary 
of the Seven Dolors. Melle. Broca, who, for a yi-ar 
had not ventured to fix her eyes on a book, read the 
Mysteries, 

She rose; her friend saw her draw to its full 
height that figure which for so long and at so 
short a time before she had seen bent almost double. 
The invalid walked without any difficulty, with per- 



142 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

feet freedom of motion. All three went and sat 
down. Melle. Broca ate a hard-boiled egg and some 
bread. It was an accumulation of wonders. 

Just then, the pastor of Lourdes arrived at the 
grotto. The event was related to him, and he took 
a paper from his pocket, to try Melle. Broca s eyes, 
She read quickly and without the slightest hesitation. 

Meanwhile, the moment of departure had come. 
The fervor of the three travelers prostrated to ask a 
last blessing may be imagined, and the tenderness 
of the last glance which Melle. Broca cast on the 
statue of her who had just restored her to life. 

She passed with a firm step and without any kind 
of support along that path, where an hour before she 
had been carried half-dead. The driver of the car 
riage did not recognize her and could not believe 
his eyes. She got into the carriage herself. The 
cushions were no longer needed, and the driver went 
with as much speed as he wished. There was not 
the slightest inconvenience, during the whole jour 
ney. When she got home, to Borderes, Melle. 
Broca crossed the court-yard and went up stairs 
without any difficulty. There, she met a friend; 
" Good-day!" said she to her. On hearing the 
voice, the friend looked at her in amazement. 

" What! " cried she ! ..." is it you? " 

"Yes, it is indeed myself." And the two friends 
joyously embraced each other. When the young 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 143 

girl was assured that Meile. Broca was cured, she 
exclaimed: "I did not believe it .... I believe. 1 * 
I believe !" 

The next day, Low Sunday, Melle. Broca, before 
half the parish, received Holy Communion at the 
first Mass. The report of her cure had been 
rumored the evening before. From that moment, it 
was the subject of conversation for the whole town, 
and the sick girl who yesterday was sinking from 
pain and weakness, had to exhibit herself every day. 
Her room was never empty. She spoke unceasingly, 
all day long relating what the Immaculate Virgin 
had done at the grotto. Of her terrible illness only 
her paleness remained. 

The next day, she resumed her occupations which 
had been interrupted for three years; her color soon 
came back, and some days later, she was able to 
make long excursions on foot. 

After two weeks, however, the good GOD wished 
to try her fidelity, by suddenly withdrawing from 
her the faculty of reading. But her cure remained 
complete, and her health was habitually good. 

The astonishment in the neighborhood was great. 
Faith in Our Lady of Lourdes gained over the most 
indifferent, and conquered hostile minds; confidence 
increased, and prayer turned with more hope than 
ever towards the miraculous grotto. A man of the 
world was touched so far as to be entirely converted, 



144 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

He did not frequent the Sacraments. The core of 
Melle. Broea made him a faithful Catholic, and 
prepared him for a most edifying death. 

Several physicians had seen the sick girl during 
her long sufferings. The doctor of Borderes, dis 
couraged, had long ceased to visit her, giving as his 
reason that his art could do nothing for a person 
who was unable to take any remedy whatever. 
After the prodigy of the grotto, one of them, a 
grave and distinguished man, said: " Nothing is 
impossible to GOD; He can save where human science 
is at fault." Another spitefully exclaimed: "That 
devotee must have had an understanding with the 
priest." 

Since her cure, Melle. Broea comes every year to 
the grotto, on the 22d of April, to celebrate piously 
her beautiful anniversary. She comes there with 
the friend who, in 1865, shared the sorrows and joys 
of the first pilgrimage. 

Through a feeling which is easily understood she 
at first refused to give publicity to the precious 
details which we have just read; she only decided 
to do so with a view to the greater glory of the 
most Blessed and Immaculate Virgin MARY., who 
had deigned to work such great things in her and 
for her. 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 14$ 

XXX. 

SUDDEN CURE OF AN OLD GEXD ARME. 

JEAN MARIE FOSSES, originally of Trebons(IIautei 
Pyrenees), a retired gendarme and now an innkeeper 
at Arzacq (Basses Pyrenees), was suddenly cured of 
an incurable disease, on the] 1th of November, 1867, 
at the grotto of Lourdes. On the first day of the 
month of August, 1807, Fosses, recovering from a 
long illness, was sitting before the door of his house, 
inhaling the fresh evening air. He suddenly, felt 
his face grow very hot; this was succeeded by a 
cold sweat; and his back became stiff. Soon an 
excruciating pain went through his head. From 
that time the poor man had no rest. The nights 
were particularly distressing to him, for several 
hours ; always about the same time the torture be 
came intolerable. The inside of his head seemed to 
be crossed in all directions, whilst outside it was as 
though gnawed and harrowed. 

The physician strove to master this fearful disease; 
but without success. To crown all, the poor invalid 
was filled with gloomy and wearisome fancies; he 
became uneasy and impatient, and extremely irri 
table, whereas before he was kind, loving, and 
good-tempered. Fosses was grieved to find that, in 
13 



146 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

spite of himself, he was almost always rough and 
cross. It made him still more unhappy to be inca 
pable of controlling himself. 

He tried ail sorts of remedies. Medicines were 
multiplied; the weeks passed; and never, never any 
relie f. 

In the month of October, he could scarcely eat. 
Suffering incessant pain, and deprived of sleep, he 
was visibly declining and became fearfully debilitated, 

Thinking that he was soon to die, he caused his 
EOII and daughter, who were absent, to be brought 
that he might embrace them for the la.st time. 
Some days after the daughter had to return to 
her grand-mother s house. "Farewell, my poor 
child," said the sick man, weeping; "farewell, I 
shall never see you again." 

Discouraged and irritated, Fosses would try no 
more medicines. The doctor vainly insisted. 

" You are kind and attentive," said the invalid, 
with energy; " but, of all your medicines, not one 
has relieved me; they are killing me; it is useless 
for you to prescribe any more." 

Meantime, a peddler stopped at the inn. Fosses 
was sitting in the chimney-corner, silent and de 
pressed. He told him his sad story and his discour- 
agement. 

" Well," said the traveler, " I was like you ; like 
you, very sick, and like you, despondent. For throe 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 147 

wliole years I consulted doctors, and took medicine: 
til in vain. And I am cured. But it is not to men 
that I am indebted for my cure. I had a fearful 
running sore on my neck. I suffered terribly. My 
vondition in life and my small means forced me to 
travel, God knows with how much pain. I went to 
the waters of Cauterets, of Bagneres-de-Bigorre, of 
Bagne.^es-de-Luchon; I spent a great deal of 
money. The money and the journeys were useless. 

" I "had heard of Our Lady of Buglose and of her 
miracles. Hoping nothing from men nor from 
mineral springs, I turned to the Blessed Virgin. At 
Bareges I was making a last trial of the waters, 
when I was told of the shrine of Lourdes: what I 
heard gave me great confidence, and induced me to 
remain two days in that town. When I saw the 
rx.owds who were going to the grotto, my confidence 
was redoubled. The waters of Bareges had left my 
gore just as inflamed. I went to the grotto, I prayed, 
I drank, I washed myself. Instantly I was enabled 
to remove the cloth which covered the sore; tre 
flesh had come together; the discharge ceased; the 
pain was gone. I began again the next day; there 
Only remained a very slight scar. I was cured. 
Imagine my happiness. I however went to Buglose. 
There, the sore entirely disappeared. 

" And see," added he, uncovering his neck, which 
was quite sound, " i there any sore there? Well, 



148 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

there was my old and horrible sore 

confidence in Our Lady of Lourdes. I can say so. 
Gc to the grotto." 

This was a message from Heaven. Fosses was a 
faithful Christian; and all his life he had loved and 
invoked the Blessed Virgin. When the traveler 
had spoken, and shown how evident w r as the mira 
cle, the sick man believed that he would be cured 
by Our Lady of Lourdes, with an immense confi- 
dence which filled him with joy. 

A pilgrimage to the grotto was resolved upon. 
But when to go? and how to get there? He felt so 
weak. His sufferings were so terrible! Could his 
head endure the jolting of the carriages? These 
fears diminished his joy, and made his hope fail a 
little. 

The Blessed Virgin sent him another message. 
A boarding-house keeper from Arzacq, Mr. Dussau, 
told him incidentally of a pilgrimage which he had 
made to Lourdes. " I know, too," said he, " what 
the Blessed Virgin can and does do at the grotto of 
Lourdes. I was in that town taking a few day^ 
rest with some relations. Seeing strangers coming 
to the grotto, I went there also. For some days I 
had felt a slight indisposition, not serious, it is true, 
but very troublesome. Seeing the faith of tr.e pil 
grims who drank and washed themselves at the 
fountain, my heart told me to imitate them. I oon 



Tke Wonders of Lourdes. 145 

fess that I asked for relief without any grejit fervor 
But I drank and washed myself. On the very 
instant my illness left me. It was as sudden as if 
I took offji garment and threw it there. My dear 
Fosses, I am your friend, so you may believe me. 
Doctors will not cure you: have recourse to the 
Blessed Virgin; go to Lourdes." 

This time the pilgrimage was decided upon, and, 
notwithstanding that his sufferings and his prostra 
tion were greater than ever, poor Fosses started 
with his wife, on the 10th of November, 1867. 

The journey was fearful. Listless and dejected, 
the patient sat bent down in the carriage, his poor 
head hanging on his chest, for he was unable to 
hold it up. In body and mind lie was completely 
exhausted; he had not strength to utter a 
word. 

Arrived at Lourdes, he rested for some moments, 
and supported by his wife he journeyed painfully 
towards the grotto. Seeing him start so pale and 
debilitated, every one said: "That unfortunate man 
will not reach the grotto; or if he does, he will 
never come back." 

Fosses advanced with a sort of awe. " So near, 
BO near the place where the Blessed Virgin has ap 
peared," said he to himself, much agitated. 

The grotto is before him; he perceives the status 
of the Virgin. lit- srt-s, he hears the miraculoui 



1 50 The Wonders of LourdeS. 

springs. . He stops; he looks; something solemn is 
passing in his soul. 

Long afterwards, when he told his story, the 
recollection of that moment still made his heart 
throb. 

" I felt," said he, " an indescribable emotion. I 
was agitated; I was joyful, yet trembling. I felt a 
deep respect more than in a palace and more than 
in a church. At the same time^ I felt a sweet fear, 
I was as if bewildered. But," he would add, in an 
altered voice, " I cannot make it understood; if it 
was anything natural, I could explain it; I would 
find words; as it is I cannot express it." 

He knelt before the Virgin. But he could not 
pray; speechless with emotion, his whole being 
prayed, unconsciously to himself. 

Fatigue soon obliged him to rise, and he bathed 
in the fountain his diseased head and neck. Imme 
diately he felt a sensible relief. He again tried to 
pray. The thought of the apparition filled his heart. 
"The Blessed Virgin here 1" thought he; "oh! hap 
py was the child who saw her! I will be cured; I 
feel it. Yet I am so sick! and besides, I am so 
unworthy!" And he humbled himself; and he 
prayed with his whole heart. 

To render himself more worthy of favors from 
MARY, he went to confession. " I seem to have 
mort strength," said he to his wife, as they came 



The Wonders of Lourdes. I $ I 

tack to Lourdes. " Oh! I believe indeed that the 
Blessed Virgin will cure me." 

"Bah!" answered his wife, " it is just that you 
have got that idea in your head." She had very 
little hope. 

Next morning, at half past five, Fosses heard 
Mass and received Communion in the crypt. Then, 
going down to the grotto, he prostrated himself on 
the flags and prayed a good while, not as long as 
his heart would have wished, but in proportion to 
his weakness. He drank at the fountain with entire 
confidence in the goodness of MARY. "Had I been 
void that it was poison," said he, " I should have 
drank without fear, so great was my confidence in 
the Blessed Virgin." 

He went into one of the bath-rooms and prepared 
himself to plunge into the water. His wife was 
there trembling. It was the llth of November; 
the sun had scarcely risen to the top of the hills; 
a severe frost had hardened the banks of the Gave; 
the North wind blew bitingly cold around th 
grotto. 

The old soldier went resolutely into the bath: the 
cold took away his breath; he plunged in neverthe 
less; the water covered his chest; it encircled his 
throat like a band of iron spikes; lie was almost 
frozen; he tried to breathe, to stop the trembling of 
his limbs. Panting, unable to speak, he inwardly 



152 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

said to the Blessed Virgin: "Oh! thou wilt cure 
me !" 

"Wife," said he in a stifled voice, "pray; help 
me to pray." 

Seeing his courage, she also felt herself pene 
trated with confidence. " He will be cured 1 " she 
thought. And yet as the poor man changed color: 
"Oh I get up," said she to him. But Fosses re 
mained in the icy water, still praying. He shivered, 
and taking a towel to dry himself, he looked again 
at the basin. "I must," thought the brave gen 
darme, " testify once more my confidence in the 
Blessed Virgin;" and in spite of his wife, he plunged 
up to his neck again in the fearful bath, praying all 
the while. 

A moment after he came out; he dried himself; 
but in spite of all his energy as a Christian and a 
soldier, he could not repress the shivering of his 
limbs, nor the chattering of his teeth. " I was suf 
fering frightfully," said he afterwards, "yes, fright 
fully, and yet, I have never felt such a moment of 
happiness. Scarcely was I dried, when I felt pass 
ing through my body, something sweet and strength 
ening, which penetrated every limb; I cannot tell 
what it was, something like the water of life. Yes, 
life was coming to me. I was being cured. I 
was cured. My face quivered; I smiled invol 
untarily; everything seemed beautiful to me then* 



The Wonders cf Lourdcs. 153 

I looked at the rock with ecstasy. I smiled at 
my poor wife; I said to her: * Why, .... I am 
cured! ... I am cured! 

A moment before my head had felt so painful 
that I could not touch it, and I said: But, my dear, I 
feel no more pain ! At the nape of the neck for some 
days before, I had had a large pimple, very painful 
and which seemed alarming; it had almost disap 
peared. * See, said I to my wife; there is hardly 
anything there; and no suffering. My wife, agi 
tated and trembling, looked at me, helped me to 
dress, not knowing what to say. As for me, I felt, 
I knew that I was cured; I blessed the Holy Virgin; 
I hastened to go and thank her at the grotto." 

He went, .indeed; he knelt, and prayed: prayed 
for a long time. His wife hurried him; he rose, he 
drank at the fountain, he prayed again; his soul 
was overflowing with joy. " I could not go away," 
paid he in relating his cure; "I went; I returned. 
A voice within said: Stay here, stay here? and I 
would have been willing to remain forever, to be 
the guardian of the grotto. My wife t length 
forced me away; I went back again; I looked back 
as long as I could." 

The" happy Fosses walked firm and erect, for some 
months he could not bend his feet; to rnovf* at all, 
he was obliged to raise them quickly, and to la~ tnera 
down flat. The slightest touch on the heel g-v 



154 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

torture like red hot needles, passing through tii 
spinal marrow and the head. Now his feet were 
perfectly supple; and he walked with the ease of 
his younger years. To verify the completeness of 
his cure, he struck his heel sharply against the 
frozen ground: not a start, not the slightest pain. 

His relieved chest drew in with sound lungs the 
frosty morning air. He purposely drew several 
long breaths, to try the new power of his restored 
organs. He trembled lest he should feel again the 
Bharp pains which, even yesterday, had tortured him 
when lie needed to inhale more air: it was like a 
saw going through his body; and he had often re 
mained for hours bent double, panting with the sup 
pressed breath of agony. Now he breathed freely, 
and with ease. 

On his way back to the town, he repeated to his 
wife: "I am cured! .... oh! entirely cured. . . . 
I have new strength." 

"Do not boast too much, and be careful," an- 
gwered she. They had reached a little hill, quite 
near Lourdes. 

"Well," said the gendarme, "to show you that 
I am cured, do you want to see me run ? " and the 
sick man, a short time before tottering, still fright 
fully pale and thin, started -and ran with the utmost 
agility. His wife, more and more astonished, cried 
out to him- "Oh! you are really cured! But no 



The Wonders oj Lourdcs. 155 

foolishness; stop." He only ran the faster, for about 
thirty paces. 

With an appetite unknown for nine months, lie 
made a hearty breakfast. The astonished people at 
the inn could not believe their eyes. He set out for 
Arzncq, wild with joy. 

Gladness returned with him to his home. lie 
held out his arms to his son. The young man see 
ing his poor father who the evening before had left 
failing and in fearful suffering, DOW walking, full of 
strength, was seized with childish joy, and began t^ 
dance round the room, repeating: "Oh! father! 
father! you are cured I you are cured ! . . . ." 

The wonderful cure of Fosses was soon known 
in the whole town. Friends and curious persons 
filled the house. He related all that had happened. 

" Wait," said he at one time, " I am so entirely 
cured that I feel able to perform some of my youth 
ful feats of agility. I want to try, as you have 
formerly seen rne do, to jump over a stick, holding 
the end of my foot in my hand." And he really 
jumped with astonishing lightness. 

His general health had become good again. No 
convalescence; and since then, not a tinge of neu 
ralgia; his appetite, his sleep and his health were 
all good. No more ill-humor. " I had become un 
bearable," said he; "at home I kept them in a con 
stant turmoil; I had fearful nightmares: I am no 



156 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

longer the same man; everything appears good tc 
me, and I find myself once more loving and joyous 
as before. For more than three months I suffered 
terribly. The doctors declared that it would bfe 
three years before I recovered my health. I was 
tired of remedies, and I had left off taking them 
At Lourdes, by a bath of a few minutes, I was cured 
instantly, radically, and for more than nine months 
my cure has corttinv.ed" 

In the month of June, 1868, Jean-Marie Fosses 
returned to Lourdes: no one knew him. " It is I," 
said he, laughing, "I, who was cured in November, 
of last year, at the fountain in the grotto." A 
strange doctor, after having questioned Fosses, said 
aloud in the grotto, that such a cure, instantaneous, 
without convalescence, and radical, could not bo 
explained except as a miracle. 

Since the miracle, Jean-Marie Fosses has been 
full of GOD and of His holy Mother. The remem 
brance of his cure remains in his soul, living and 
tender. Every instant, he thanks the Blessed Virgin. 

" Before I was somewhat quick-tempered," said he 
,to the missionary Father of Lourdes, to whom he 
related all the details of this story; " only I paid no 
attention to it. Now, one great idea restrains me: 
The Blessed Virgin will not be pleased! . . . That 
is enough; and if I chance to give way ever so little, 
I ask her pardon." 



lj/iitTS <>_/ Lourdes. 157 

Tlie good Fosses has but one dream in the world; 
it is to possess one day a little competence which 
will permit him to settle at Lourdes that he niny 
every day bless and pray to his blessed Mother, in 
that grotto where she cured him, and in which he 
dwells meanwhile, in thought and in heart. 



XXXI. 

INSTANTANEOUS CURE OF A YOUNG WORKING-GIRL IN 
HER AGONY. 

IN that same year 1867, Our Lady of Lourdes 
manifested her merciful power in the little village 
of Maquens, situated at the gates of Carcassonne. 
A young working-girl named Francoise Pail lies, 
twenty-one years of age, was the recipient of this 
favor from the Immaculate Conception. She was 
a good girl, gentle, industrious, and truly pious. At 
fourteen or fifteen years of age, her health had been 
injured by the unhealthy labor of a cloth manufac 
tory. She lingered on for six months, and just after 
Christmas 1866, she was obliged to keep her bed, a 
prey to the most cruel sufferings. The seat of her 
disease was the heart. Very painful convulsions 
Roon reduced her to the most pitiable state. For 
four months, she could only take a little broth. 
14 



158 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

In the month of April, her condition became most 
alarming. Every one thought her death very near. 
Francoise alone hoped. She derived this confidence 
from her devotion to the Blessed Virgin ; her con 
stant prayer, the only one her weakness permitted, 
was the famous invocation: "0 MARY, conceived 
without sin, pray for us who have recourse to theeT* 
She was convinced that the Blessed Virgin would 
restore her. In the beginning of the month of 
Mary, she made one of her brothers arrange a sort 
of little altar to the Blessed Virgin, before her bed, 
with a poor little plaster statue and some flowers. 
Francoise often looked at the holy image; she then 
felt still more hope and courage. 

She was so weak that she could not turn in the 
bed. In her convulsions, which became more and 
more terrible, she was delirious. On one occasion, 
her brother was obliged, for three hours, to use the 
whole strength of his arms to keep her in the bed. 
Death was rapidly approaching. 

On the 6th of May, a Sister of Charity came to 
see her, and related, to console her, the apparitions 
of Lourdes, and the miracles which were wrought 
by the wat^r of the grotto. " To be sure," said the 
good Sister, afterwards, " I believed in Our Lady of 
Lourdes; but, then, I did not even think of a cure, 
for the poor girl s death appeared to me so inevit 
able and so near." "O Sister!" said Francoise, ia 



The Wonders cf Lourdes. \ 59 

in almost inaudible voice, "send me some of thai 
water quick ; it will cure me." The Sister took leave 
of her, thinking it was for the laut time, and asking 
for her a holy death. 

" Oh, if I had some of that water! " was hence 
forth the poor dying girl s only thought. Next day, 
the disease took such a form that the excellent pas 
tor of the village hastened to give Francoise the 
last Sacraments. A slow and painful agony then 
commenced. Several times poor Francoise lost con 
sciousness, and they thought her dead. That whole 
night and the day following passed in a series of 
terrible struggles between life and death, each time 
the recovery becoming less and less possible. 

The whole village, which the good pastor had led 
to piety by devotion to the Blessed Virgin and fre 
quent Communion, were praying for the unfortunate 
young girl. In the rare intervals between the con 
vulsions the latter would make an effort to repeat: 
" Sister did not send the water then ? . . . . It 
will cure me." 

From the beginning of her agony, the poor girl 
could not take even the slightest drink. The doctor, 
yielding to eager entreaties, came on Thursday, May 
8th, merely through kindness, declaring that his 
visit was entirely useless. He tried to make the 
patient swallow a few drops of liquid by opening 
her mouth with a spoon. Her suffering whilst ho 



160 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

did so was so great, that he turned away his head, 
unable to endure the sight of it. All was useless; 
and the doctor left saying: " I knew it well; there 
\a no hope for her." 

Two friends of Fraricoise, going to Carcassonne, 
came to see her on their way. 

" Oh, tell Sister," murmured the dying girl, "tell 
Sister that she did not send me the water from the 
grotto .... Do not come back without it .... 
Oh, how I will wait for it! " 

In the evening, when the little bottle of miracu 
lous water was given her, she collected her strength, 
worn out by the agony, and convulsively seized the 
phial. She opened it, recommended herself to MARY: 
some drops of the miraculous water went into her 
mouth: she made a long and fatiguing effort to 
swallow it: she waits, she tries again .... Her 
throat refuses it. " I cannot .... ," sadly mur 
mured the dying girl. The spectators looked on 
saying in a low voice: "It would require a miracle, 
and there will not be a miracle." 

Francoise, however, persisted in keeping the phial 
in her hand. In the evening, during the exercises 
of the month of Mary, word was sent to the pastor. 
"Come quick; Francoise is dying; you may not even 
be in time to read the prayers for the dying." He 
hastened; the convulsion which seemed to precede 
death soon ceased, increasing the dying girl s agony. 



The Wonders of Lcurdes. 161 

Her brothers, coming in from work, found her so 
wo;ik that they thought they were scarcely in time 
to bid her a last farewell. Choking with grief, they 
could take no supper. 

The poor young girl suffered, excruciating pain^ 
She 8till clung to hope. The whole night and all 
the following day, she held the phial in her hand. 
From time to time, she laid it down to let it cool; 
and, feeling that she could not succeed in drinking, 
she put it closed into her parched mouth, to give her 
temporary relief. Her lips, almost speechless, slowly 
muttered the beloved words: "O MARY, conceived 
without sin .... /" 

One time perceiving, in the midst of her agony, 
that her poor parents were crying, she said to them: 
" Do not cry .... The Blessed Virgin will cure 
me with this water." 

Her father, a man full of faith, heart-broken by 
his daughter s sufferings, yet submissive to the will 
of GOD, did not go to work on Friday, that he might 
hear the last sigh and catch die last look of that dear 
child He passed the day in running from her bod- 
side to the chuiflh. Distressed by the excruciating 
sufferings of Francoise, he prayed fervently to ob 
tain for her relief or deliverance by a speedy death, 
which would, however, break his heart. The whole 
village were expecting every instant the sound 
of the death bell ; everyone was astonished at 



1 62 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

the length of her agony, and all pitied the poof 
child. 

Towards two o clock in the afternoon, she was so 
weak that every one thought her last moments were 
approaching. Francoise murmured: 

" I can do no more .... I am dying. I want 
to see my brother." The young man soon arrived. 
Without speaking a word, he wrung his sister s 
hand, weeping, and fled with his sorrow to his work 
shop. 

The Children of MARY were preparing their white 
dresses for the funeral. Franeoise herself/some days 
before, notwithstanding her persistent hope, had 
asked one of her aunts to go and get her Child of 
MAKY S dress, that it might be put on her when she 
was dead. And the dress had come, and Francoise 
had seen it; she had shown her aunt where to put 
it in the closet that her mother might not see 
it. 

About four o clock in the afternoon, the priest 
came for the third time that day. Francoise, in a 
stifled voice, her eye bright with fever, said to him: 
"Oh, Father, I am burning! I am burning! .... 
Ah, if I could drink a little water! .... Father, 
you ought to cure me!" "Poor child, I cannot; 
none but GOD can do it. Have confidence in MARY; 
offer her your sufferings; pray. I will also go to 
the church and pray for you." 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 163 

Francoise wished to pray. But those who were 
present saw the stupor of death coming on. 

The priest s sister, who had been for a long tune 
at the bedside of the dying girl, went away for a 
moment. She stopped at the door to speak to a 
neighbor, talking of Francoise, wl>en suddenly a 
broken and trembling .voice called her. It was 
Francoise s mother. She thought the last moment 
had come, and hastened to be present at it. 

Tlte trembling mother met her on the threshold 
saying in a clear and piercing tone: " Fran<3oise has 
drank; go up." She had scarcely reached the top 
of the stairs, when a cry of joy came from the bed 
where site had left the dying g ul "Cured, Mar 
guerite! I am cured! " In truth, she saw Francoise 
sitting up in the be<l, radiant, happy, her eye bright 
with joy, and she repeated in a full voice: "Yes, 
cured! really cured! See, Marguerite; see, it is 
this water; it is the Blessed Virgin! Go and tel 
the priest to come." 

When, a moment before, the priest s sister had 
gone out, Francoise, excited by pain, had mustered 
the remains of her energy to say to her Mother: 
" Oh, I cannot stand it! .... I am burning! I 
am burning! .... Mother, some fresh water. I 
must drink!" Her mother urged her to try a few 
drops of tisane. "Ns, I want some of the water 
from the grotto. It must either cure me, or finisb 



164 The Wonders of Lonrdes. 

me ... . Oh, the Blessed Virgin will cure 
me!" 

The mother took a tea-spoonful of water from the 
phial, and raised the dying girl. Francoise refreshed 
her mouth with the drop of water; she raised her 
head to let it go down her throat .... For an 
instant her head fell on her chest. Suddenly, undei 
the touch of the Immaculate Virgin, that dying 
body was reanimated as by an electric shock. She 
raised her head, her face brightened, her eye lit up. 
Her almost lifeless features became animated, her 
voice, almost like the death rattle a moment before, 
sounded ringing and joyous: " I am cured, mother, 
I am cured. Some more water; I want to drink it 
all." And she herself emptied the phial into her 
mouth. "Yes, cured; really cured," she again re 
peated. " I can raise myself." At the first drops, 
she had felt strength and health infused through all 
her limbs. 

It was a few minutes past five o clock, on Friday, 
the 10th of May, 1867. 

Francoise blessed Goi>, and poured out her soul itt 
thanksgiving to the Blessed Virgin who had saved 
her. 

Her father came, looked at his child, fell on his 
knees, and when he could control his feelings a little 
exclaimed: "It is ,\ miracle! a great miracle! let us 
thank the Blessed Virgin." And he prayed until 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 165 

the desire of embracing his restored child made him 
rise. 

The good pastor came to mingle his admiration 
and his prayers in that scene of joy. " I hoped," 
said Francoise to him, "I believed; I prayed; I 
drank some drops of water; I am cured. And if I 
said that the tip of my finger still ached, I would tell 
a lie." 

Meanwhile, her two brothers knew nothing of all 
this. The father ran to the workshop. When they 
saw him coming the poor fellows trembled; their 
sister was surely dead. They could not believe until 
they had seen her. And then, what joy ! what tears! 
what cries of gladness! 

The neighbors came in; soon there was like a pro 
cession to the favored house. Francoise said to 
everyone: "It was the Blessed Virgin that cured 
me, and here is the phial which held the water from 
the grotto of Lourdes." 

When the crowd of visitors was great, she said in 
a voice the strength of which excited general aston 
ishment: "It is not for me alone that this miracle 
.has been performed; it is also for you. As for mo, 
I can never love the Blessed Virgin enough. But 
you must love her too. All of us, all of us, should 
love her." 

Without opposition from her parents, Francoise 
got up; she felt strength to do so. She took a larjje 



1 66 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

cup rf broth without the slightest difficulty. During 
the evening she talked and laughed with her com 
panions ; after a sweet sleep, she ate some oranges 
, iid pastry ; then, the next day, bread and meat, ; 
she who for three months had not been able to swal 
low anything solid. 

Her brother, coming in before noon, found her up, 
beautifying a little that altar of MAUY which had 
helped her so much to pray and to suffer. 

Every Saturday, every Sunday, people came and 
came again to see the child of the miracle. She was 
cheerful, strong, and active. 

The physician was informed of the cure. He 
would not believe it. When he could no longer 
doubt, he said to a person who related the details to 
him: " But what is this water? Indeed, it works 
miracles. But, bah! a convulsion will soon come, 
and the girl and the miracle will go off together." 
"Then if the cure be lasting," answered her mother, 
" you will believe ?" " Well, yes." 

The cure continued, evident, splendid; he saw 
Francoise, who, two or three days after, went on foot 
to Carcassonne to thank him. He saw her, he ex 
amined her, he touched that body which he had de 
clared doomed. " Truly," said he, " you have not 
the slightest illness; you are perfectly cured." 

He saw, he said all that; but, like so many other 
learned men, he declared himself puzzled, (that is 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 167 

their style,) but lie d:ired not admit the miracle. 
They are all alike; before the supernatural, their 
boasted science draws back affrighted, and then, to 
escape the crushing evidence which they cannot set 
aside, they bravely take refuge in absurdity; then, 
two and two no longer make four, white is black, 
certainty is impudently denied. Yes, let us say it 
openly, out of ten doctors confronted with a miracle 
which they cannot deny there will be nine whom 
want of faith or fear .will prevent from giving glory 
to GOD. 

I knew one, a practical Christian, who in presence 
of a fact evidently supernatural, told me this: "As 
a Christian, I say it is a miracle; as a doctor, I say 
it is something unheard of, inexplicable." " And as 
a Christian doctor," I asked , him, " what do you 
say?" He made no reply; he was afraid of the 
Faculty. 

Two months after the miraculous cure of Fran- 
coise Pailhes, the worthy pastor of Maqueris termi 
nated thus his official report : 

" Ever since her admirable cure, Francoise works 
ft* very day, and enjoys very good health. Hence wo 
con certify, and the whole parish might certify with 
us, that this young girl s cure was sudden, radical, 
and persevering/ 

By the savings of her daily toil, the good Fn>,n- 
coise was at length able to make a pilgrimage of 



1 68 The Wonders of Lourdcs. 

thanksgiving to Lourdes. On the 29th of April, 
1868, at dawn of day, she prostrated herself before 
the sacred grotto, entranced with joy, weeping with 
love. 



XXXII. 

MARVELOUS. CURE OF A YOUTH OF FIFTEEN WHO WAS 
DUMB AND PARALYZED. 

ON Saturday, the 18th of July, 1868, about six 
o clock in the evening, a touching spectacle excited 
public sympathy at Lourdes. Two strangers were 
carrying a chair through the streets, each holding it 
with one hand. On the chair a boy of fifteen was 
seated, resting his arms round the neck of the bear 
ers. One of these men was his father. The boy 
could scarcely sit up, his head shook, his paralyzed 
limbs swung helplessly as he was carried along, 
Where were they going? Every one at Lourdes 
guessed. "They are going to the grotto," people 
said. Poor child! poor father. 

They were going to that grotto where despairing 
misery is wont to hasten; whither the Blessed Virgin 
attracts, because she loves to manifest there the 
power of her mercy. 

This boy, Jean Paoheou, was originally from 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 1 69 

Gouze, in Lagor, district of Orthez, (Bassed Pyre 
nees). He had always been of a quiet, gentle, ami 
able disposition. For nearly two years past hifl 
health had been failing. He had felt a strange and 
unconquerable aversion to his ordinary food. Ho 
grew visibly thinner, and his weakness became ex 
treme. 

On Easter Sunday, the 12th of April, 1868, before 
Vespers, Jean, who was standing at the time, fell 
down in a faint. His mother took him in her arms 
and laid him on the bed. From that time the poor 
boy was little more than a corpse. His withered 
limbs refused to carry him; his head shook without 
his having any power to control it; his arms alone 
retained their power; according to his father s ex 
pression, all his limbs were " disjointed." He had 
to be carried as when he was in the cradle. In this 
ead state he became a heavy burden to his parents, 
whose only means of support was their daily toil. 
Either his father or mother had to keep continual 
watch over him. He could not stay in bed all day, 
and he was placed on a little straw chair, but it was 
impossible for him to hold himself up. He was bent 
double, and some one had to sit beside him to sup 
port him. 

One day the sick boy s face assumed a strange ex 
pression. His mouth opened; he seemed as if try 
ing to speak; there came from his throat only a hard 
15 



170 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

nusky breath. His tongue was suddenly gathered 
up in his mouth. Poor child! already paralyzed, he 
became dumb. 

His parents were heart-broken. He was their 
eldest son; lie had always been most kind and affec 
tionate. These worthy people had neither land, nor 
house, nor trade; the father was simply a farm 
laborer; his wife had never learned anything but 
house- work. The younger boy, now of an age to 
support himself and assist the family, was soon to be 
hired out as a servant. The future looked very 
gloomy. However, he had not lost his reason. Jean 
could communicate with his parents by signs and by 
deep breaths, by which he attracted their attention. 
But his dumbness afflicted his parents very much, 
made the care of him still more difficult, and ren 
dered heavier a charge already so burdensome. The 
Bick boy often suffered from acute pains in his 
stomach. When they became very great, he felt 
them go up through his body even to his head. The 
pain in his head made him forget everything else. 
It was then pitiful to see him. His loud and painful 
breathing, the only complaint possible for him to 
make, grieved the hearts of his parents. Not know 
ing what to do to relieve his pain, he struck his 
forehead with his clenched fists. If the attack lasted 
long he would put his hand on hi* breast with signs 
of distress, and point towards his bed. They would 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 171 

immediately take him and lay him on it. He would 
remain motionless, with closed eyes, breathing husk 
ily, his mouth half open, for ten or twelve minutes; 
then, coming to himself, he would point to the arm 
chair, where they would place him once more. This 
happened once or twice every day. 

From the manner of the physician who visited 
him, the parents were persuaded that he knew noth 
ing about this strange and terrible disease, and that 
he had not the slightest hope of saving the boy. 
The mother had prepared the shroud for his burial 
which every one thought was near. This species of 
agony lasted for more than two months. 

Towards the end of June the boy often called 
them by his loud breathing and began to make very 
animated gestures which puzzled his parents. He 
made a sign for something far off, which they could 
not guess then, he made movements with his arma 
as if sprinkling water, showed the action of drink 
ing, joined his hands as if praying fervently, and, 
jwith extraordinary vivacity, he pointed to his legs, 
initating the movement of walking, then moved his 
lips as if in speaking. During this pantomime, he 
showed an inexplicable joy. His parents, who in 
terpreted his wants and his thoughts every day, 
were bewildered by these impotent manifestations 
of ideas unknown to them. When, after having at 
tentively followed his movements, they said to him 



If 2 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

" I do not understand," the boy was grieved and 
geemed completely discouraged. The father and 
mother often asked themselves what it could be that 
the dear child wanted. 

One day, after a renewal of this painful scene, one 
of them suddenly thought of saying to him: "Per 
haps you want to go to Our Lady of Lourdes." An 
intense joy brightened the boy s face. He had at 
last succeeded in making himself understood. He 
nodded his head several times, smiled, and gave vent 
to his joy by breathing loud and hard, " What do 
you want to do at Lourdes?" He answered by 
eigns: " Wash myself, drink and pray." "Why?" 
His gestures replied: "I will be able to walk, and 

to speak If I do not go I shall not be cured. * 

It must be observed that the name of Our Lady of 
Lourdes was well known in these religious countries, 
and that before the child s sickness he had heard of 
the cures performed by the water from the grotto. 

Ever since he had been understood, poor Jean re 
peated his wish to make a pilgrimage, every day and 
several times a day. The thought occurred to them 
to ask him this question: " Who told you to go to 
Lourdes to be cured ?" The boy without hesitation 
pointed to heaven. "Was it the Blessed Virgin 
who told you ?" He made a sign of assent. Since 
his illness no one had spoken to him of Our Lady of 
Lourdes. It was an entirely supernatural inspira- 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 1*3 

lion; the more remarkable that the boy had but 
moderate intelligence. 

They promised to take him to Lourdes, without 
any very fixed intention of doing so. Faith had not 
yet come into the souls of nis parents. But the boy 
insisted more and more every day; his looks of en 
treaty became more touching, and sometimes his 
gestures were eager and even impatient. His father 
then reflected on a hope which he considered child 
ish. Pie said to himself: The child has always been 
good; he has kept himself innocent; the Blessed 
Virgin will hear him. And the journey to Lourdes 
was decided upon in his heart. He mentioned the 
day to his son, who testified the greatest joy, and 
confidence in his cure, and after that very moment 
said by signs: "We will go .... and I shall be 
cured! 

But when the appointed day arrived, the father 
said it was impossible to go. The poor boy, vexed 
and disappointed, fell off his chair. He was thus 
disappointed several times, and the same accident 
always occurred, 

At length the journey was fixed for Saturday 
July 18, and a carriage was hired. Jean could not 
contain himself for joy on learning that his pilgrim 
age was certain. He could not sleep all Friday 
night. Several times he woke his father by his loud 
breathing, and he could hardly be kept in bed till 



174 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

morning. When he was settled on his little ehah 
in tlie carnage, his joy was excessive. 

The carriage Was approaching Lourdes, when, not 
a voice, but an articulate breath said: " Papa! Papa! 
. . . ." The father looked at Jean. " Papa," re 
peated the child, "I am going to be cured! . . . ." 
And he put his tongue out between his lips. The 
father trembled and felt himself filled with hope. 
He thanked GOD for this first favor. The child had 
no more power of motion than the evening before; 
his throat gave no sound, but his breathing was ar 
ticulate; he moved his tongue, and he appeared de 
lighted. From that moment he prayed, pronounc 
ing his Avords, and clasping his hands fervently. 
From time to time he interrupted himself to say, 
always in the same manner: "Papa, I am going to 

be cured The Blessed Virgin is going to 

cure me I shall walk; I shall talk." Each 

word increased the father s confidence. 

At length they arrived at Lourdes. The poor 
little cripple was carried in his chair by his father 
and the driver. Many persons saw the sorrowful 
sight. The chair once placed before the grotto, the 
two men knelt down, and all three prayed fervently, 
The child murmured Our Father and Hail Mary. 
The poor father s heart cried out to the merciful 
Virgin. The boy was carried on his chair into one 
&f the little rooms belonging to the miraculous foun- 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 175 

tain. The two men undressed him, and his father 
took him in his arms, more helpless than a new born 
child, infirm and bending every way. Ho plunged 
him into the water, and held him sitting up. The 
child prayed, the father prayed, full of anxiety and 
of hope. Whilst he prayed, he poured water on 
Jean s head. A few minutes after, a word came 
forth clear and distinct: "Papa! . . . ." At this 
voice, which he had not heard for two months, the 
poor father was overpowered with joy. At first he 
could only utter a stifled cry: "O my GOD!" 
" Papa," said the voice, " you can take me out : I am 
cured." 

The child had felt life returning to his limbs ; they 
became firm ; he tried them on the bottom of the 
basin ; the rest of his body at the same time grew 
strong ; he spoke unconsciously, by instinct. He 
arose, carried up by the water ; he stood on his feet. 
Two great tears fell from the father s eyes into that 
water which had entirely restored his son. Jean sat 
on the edge of the basin. 

"My heart was full," said his father ; "tears pre 
vented me from seeing my son." He took him by 
the hand, and the child for the first time in three 
months was there before him standing by himself, 
speaking and smiling. The boy dressed and put on 
bis oboes himself. The driver, who had gone out a 



176 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

short time before, now came in: "My Gor>!" 
he; "oh, this is a miracle!" 

They all went to kneel before the holy grotto; 
and soon the boy, without any assistance, climbed 
the rock, and reached the house of the Missionaries. 

When the Missionary who collected these touch 
ing details said to the father; "You are veryfortu- 
uate," the latter could only answer by an inarticu 
late sound; his speech and his sight were for a 
moment lost in tears. Emotion choked his voice at 
every instant as he related the illness and cure of 
his son. He could not express his gratitude towards 
her who had saved him from mourning and misery. 

The child seemed as if just awakened from a 
troubled sleep. He returned to the village on foot 
without any help. The motion of his legs, which 
were extremely thin, was slow and unsteady. Next 
day, at half-past five o clock, he again made the jour 
ney from the town to the grotto. He went to Con 
fession and Communion. He was happy and smil 
ing. 

Seeing a workman bring to the Missionary a hand 
some donation for the building of the chapel, Jean s 
father looked with holy envy at the pieces of gold 
which glittered on the table: " Ah," said he, "they, 
are happy who can give! I would also like to give 
Bomething to the Blessed Virgin .... but I, a 
poor laborer, have nothing." 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 177 

As on the evening before, Jean returned to Lour- 
des without any assistance The pilgrims got into 
their carriage, and, at eleven o clock at night, the) 7 
arrived at the door of their house. At the sound of 
the carriage, the mother, who was waiting impatient 
ly, lit a candle and came to receive the travelers. 
Jean got out with but little help. The mother on 
coming out found him before her. At sight of her 
child standing erect she stopped. " Mamma, I am 
cured!" said Jean. The poor woman was ready to 
faint. This dangerous emotion passed; she looked 
silently at her son; she could not believe her eyes. 
It was indeed he, but coming from the arms of his 
other mother, the Blessed Virgin. 

At the noise of the carriage, and the voice of the 
mother, wfcoso first words were exclamations of joy, 
several neighbors got up and came to share in their 
gladness. Neither could they believe that the boy 
who was walking, speaking, laughing before them, 
was the same who had started a few evenings before 
paralyzed and dumb, doomed to certain death. In 
a few days the whole neighborhood knew of the cure 
of the boy from Gouze, and blessed Our Lady of 
Lourdes. 

About two months after, Jean returned tc the 
grotto. He had already made long journeys, and 
had begun to work a little. His gayety, his good 
health, his happiness delighted his father 



178 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

Jean loves the Blessed Virgin very mucl- A 
akes to pray to her. He sometimes leaves hif a,ls 
and disappears. His father seeks him, and is 1 jr.iied 
to find him in a corner, kneeling in praye The 
gentle and powerful hand which cured the \ Ay had 
left its imprint on that innocent soul. 

Let us not be astonished at seeing thes< miracu 
lous favors granted almost exclusively to tl e humble 
of this world, to children, and to the poor it is the 
equitable order of a kind Providence. The rich 
have doctors and apothecaries; they can go to 
Cauterets, Bareges, Luchon, Eaux-Bonnes, and to 
all the watering places; the poor and the humble 
have only the good GOD and the Blessed Virgin and 
miracles. As for mothers and young virgins, it is 
easily conceived why the Blessed Virgin loves to 
treat them as privileged ones, even when they are 
rich. 



XXXIII. 

CUBE OF THE MOTHER OP A FAMILY AFFLICTED WITH 
CANCER IN THE TONGUE. 

% 

ON the 3rd of November, 1869, there was before 
the grotto of the Apparition, a group of pilgrims 
who were fervently asking of the Immaculate Vir- 



The Wonders of LvurJes. 179 

gin the cure of a young mother whose recovery was 
almost despaired of, and whose loss would have been 
the ruin of a whole family. Two priests had joined 
this pious pilgrimage, and were praying fervently, 
kneeling amongst their friends. 

The life of Marie Lassabe, of Montfaucon (Hautes 
Pyrenees), was, in fact, threatened by a very alarm 
ing cancerous sore. She was still young, an only 
daughter, much beloved by all her relatives, and the 
mother of a fine child. 

At first, Madame Lassabe had felt at 1 the bottom 
of the throat an odd sensation, like the cover of a 
grain of wheat, whose sharp edge was pricking the 
flesh. She sometimes suffered a great deal, and 
could not eat regularly. Her tongue swelled, be 
came hard and painful, especially on one side, and 
it soon assumed the alarming color which denotes 
cancer. She could not stir it without great pain ; 
she could scarcely speak, and had great difficulty in 
eating; on the 3rd of November, she had passed 
seventeen days without having swallowed anything 
solid; she lived on soup, broth, and other nourish 
ment of that kind. Nothing was left undone to 
arrest the disease. Physicians were called in, and 
prescribed the remedies usual in such cases. But, 
in spite of medicine, her condition grew worse. 

Her tongue was so enlarged, and so pressing was 
the necessity to reach all parts of it with the lini- 



l8o The Wonders of Lourdes. 

inents, that they thought of drawing the teeth to 
free the tongue. 

Accompanied by her physician, Madame Lassabe 
went to consult the doctors of Tarbes. Some of 
them spoke of burning the tongue if the ulcer broke; 
others prescribed other remedies. But all were 
unanimous in declaring the disease very serious. 
They could not entirely conceal their opinion, and 
the poor patient saw clearly that they thought her 
life in danger. 

Coming from these visits, Madame Lassabe went 
to the house of one of her friends, and spoke. of her 
disease with all the anxiety excited by the too per 
ceptible fears of the doctors. "Well," said the lady, 
taking a phial from a cupboard, "since that is the 
case, have confidence in Our Lady of Lourdes, and 
drink some of this water; it comes from the grotto." 
She had been expressly forbidden to swallow any 
thing cold. She took the water courageously, and 
soon after found herself a little relieved. But this 
was only a little encouragement given her by the 
Blessed Virgin, for, two days after, an increase of 
the disease gave rise to new anxiety. 

They began to understand that human means 
were unavailing; the idea of going to seek at the 
grotto of Lourdes a cure which was almost unhoped 
for, had already vaguely occurred to Marie Lassabe, 
and the pastor of Montfaucon. Before the relapse, 



The Wonders of Lourde*. l8l 

it had become a settled plan, and the pilgrimage was 
fixed for the 3rd of November. The evening before, 
the good pastor asked one of the doctors: "Can this 
disease be cured suddenly ?" " No," answered he. 
"And if the patient be suddenly cured to-morrow, 
what will you say?" "Ah! I will say that the cure 
does not oome from our remedies." 

On that day, the 2nd of November, the patient 
was worse than ever. Her suffering was excruciat 
ing; she could scarcely take a little liquid. She 
longed for a grape; it was impossible for her to swal 
low it. 

On Wednesday, at the moment of departure, she 
was just the same; the same pain, the same excessive 
weakness. All along the way, Madame Lassabe waa 
obliged to keep silent; her friends avoided speaking 
to her, to spare her the pain which eveiy word caused 
her. When she said a word, her feeble voice could 
scarcely be heard. 

The two priests who came to aid her with their 
prayers, celebrated Mass in the crypt, about half- 
past ten. During the Holy Sacrifice, Marie suffered 
more terribly than ever. It seemed to her as if her 
tongue were being torn out. Full of faith and ener 
gy, she received Holy Communion; but with extreme 
difficulty. All the efforts of her will could not suc 
ceed in moving her tongue, and she could not tell 
when she swallowed the Sacred Host. 
16 



1 82 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

Since the commencement of her illness, her limbs 
were always painful; at this moment they could 
scarcely sustain her, and she descended to the grotto 
with great difficulty. 

There, she prayed for a long time with unbounded 
confidence. She had said previously: "I believe 
that I shall be cured." Notwithstanding the re 
newal of her sufferings, notwithstanding the fatal 
nature of her disease, she kept this same firm 
hope. 

After her prayer, she rose to drink a glass of the 
miraculous water. This took much time; she could 
only swallow a very small mouthful at a time, and 
even then, suffering real torture. She knelt down; 
her companions prayed aloud. The poor patient 
prayed silently. They commenced the Litany of the 
Blessed Virgin; she could only join in it inwardly. 
In the middle of it, a quick shiver ran through her 
lira DS. She felt her tongue loosened and relieved; 
she felt that she was able to speak, she tried .... 
softly between her lips she answered the Litany: 
" Pray for us! Pray for us! . . . ." Her tongue 
worked freely. Agitated, uncertain, she dared not 
attempt to speak. But the prayers finished, a clear, 
firm voice uttered these words: "Give me another 
glass of water; I want to drink some more." It was 
Madame Lassabe s voice. Her companions looked 
at her in astonishment; they gave her a glass of the 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 183 

water, which she swallowed at one mouthful, without 
the slightest difficulty. 

Their first surprise became intense joy. All pain 
had left her tongue, head, and legs; no more suffer 
ing anywhere. 

All of them were fasting; it was late. Madame 
Lassabe felt an unusual desire for food. The provi 
sions were then spread out on the grass, and the 
aquid nourishment prepared for her was offered to 
,he patient. She did not want it; she took some 
oread and eat it. She took tome meat, chewed it 
*nd swallowed it, without the least pain, and she 
purposely eat on the side of her mouth which had 
>een most affected. It must be remembered that 
for seventeen days her stomach had not received any 
solid nourishment, and that the evening previous it 
nad been impossible for her to swallow the pulp of a 
grape. 

In the meantime, the two priests returned to the 
grotto. Her father went to meet them. " Well ?" 
said the pastor. " She is cured," answered the 
father. "Is it possible? You are jesting; you 
should not joke here." "I tell you my daughter is 
cured; she has eaten, come and see her." The good 
priest advanced, not yet venturing to believe. The 
young woman received him, joyful and smHing; she 
ppoke; she described with emotion the moment oi 
her cure, and laughingly told of her hearty break 



1 84 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

fast. "She is cured!" exclaimed the priest, with 
tears of joy in his eyes; " she is cured!" 

Madame Lassabe went to kneel before the grotto, 
to thank the Blessed Virgin. A moment after they 
all heard her voice, clear and ringing. This was 
something inexplicable. She spoke thus, although 
her tongue had remained thick; it seemed still hard 
and seamed. They could not understand how, with 
the thickness of that organ, her articulation was so 
rapid and so clear. 

The prayers were commenced again aloud; they 
were long at the grotto, and still longer at the crypt; 
Marie Lassabe was above them all, and it was her 
voice, heard alone, that the other voices answered. 
Inspired by what had just taken place, the happy 
pilgrims could not cease blessing the Virgin, and 
one prayer ended, they asked for another. The 
chapel seemed to keep them as if in spite of them 
selves. At length the party set out. Madame Las 
sabe, on going away, left her earrings as an ex voto. 

The pilgrims returned to the grotto, the first time 
in November, and then in December. There had 
not been the least return of the terrible disease, nor 
the slightest failure in Madame Lassabe s health; no 
more suffering, no more heaviness nor swelling of 
the tongue, no more discoloration. Besides, since 
the Litany recited at the grotto, she has been totally 
freed from a violent headache which, during her ill- 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 185 

ness, had not left her a moment s peace. Her com 
plexion and her whole appearance denoted good 
health and a vigorous constitution. 



XXXIV. 

SUDDEN CURE OF A LITTLE SCHOOL-GIRL THREATENED 
WITH LOSS OF SIGHT. 

ON Sunday, the 28th of November, 1869, the Sis 
ters of St. Joseph, established in Etoile Street, in 
Toulouse, were the happy witnesses of the sudden 
cure of one of their pupils, after a Novena to Our 
Lady of Lourdes. 

About a year before, young J. E. was threatened 
with blindness; and about the middle of the month 
of January, she was obliged to interrupt her course 
of studies. Although treated successively by two 
skillful oculists of Toulouse, her sight had not at 
all improved; the two professional men had declared 
that she need not expect to be cured. The first 
assured her that she would be blind; the second de 
clared that, the ulcers having produced as it were a 
sort of burn which had consumed an essential part 
of the eye, it was impossible to repair the harm al 
ready done. All they could hope to do was to arrest 
Is progress. 



1 86 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

In the month of October, at the re-opening of 
the classes, the poor child asked and obtained per 
mission from her parents to resume her place with 
her elder sister at the boarding school; but all she 
could do was to listen to the lessons, and to scribble 
some exercises which it would be impossible to read. 
Discouraged by the failure of the remedies, she had, 
for more than two months, given up all sorts of 
medical treatment, and he then grew worse every 
clay. 

On Saturday, November 20th, she arrived with her 
sister at the boarding school feeling very sad. She 
had declared to her parents that she could no longer 
see, and the distress of the family was at its height. 
The two sisters wept; and their companions, as well 
as their Mistresses, were deeply touched; a Novena 
to Our Lady of Lourdes was resolved on and com 
menced that very day, and, at each exercise, the 
fervor of the little flock seemed to be redoubled, 
praying to Her who has never been invoked in 
vain. 

The Novena ended on Sunday, the 28th. The 
little patient, her sister, several pupils and all the 
Nuns of the house, received Communion, with the 
design of doing holy violence to Heaven. After the 
Holy Sacrifice, one of the Nuns went over to the 
poor child to bathe her eyes with the water of 
Lourdes. She found her leaning on a table, weep- 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 187 

ing and trembling in every limb. " I see !" cried the 
little girl. "After Communion, I saw a strong 
light, iiml I was afraid; I see that light still." She 
wept and her whole frame trembled with emotion. 

There was a cry of joy through the whole house: 
her sister, her teachers, her companions wept as they 
embraced and congratulated her. 

The revered pastor of the parish, who had shared 
his little parishioner s sorrow, hastened to take part 
in the general joy, and could himself testify to the 
truth of this occurrence, for the little blind girl of 
the evening previous read, in his presence, from the 
books purposely chosen with very fine print. 

From that day, the happy child followed her 
classes with her astonished companions. She studied 
her lessons holding the book at the ordinary dist 
ance from the eye and without any fatigue. A No- 
vena of thanksgiving was commenced to the Im 
maculate Virgin MAKY, Health of the Weak. 



XXXV. 

CURE OP A SWITCH-TENDER, RELATED BY HIMSELF. 

GUILLAUME JAFFARD, switch-tender of the station 
of Lespouey-Laslades, on the Southern railroad, in 
thr Hautes Pyrenees, was so fortunate as to be 



1 88 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

miraculously cured by the Virgin of Lourdes on the 
23rd of April, 1869. This is how he himself related 
what happened to the missionary at Lourdes. We 
<!o not in anywise change the style. 

"I was always robust; but prolonged labor in 
bad weather brought on, about seven months ago 
such pain as soon prevented me from moving. Th% 
doctor said it was chronic rheumatism. I remained 
in bed, three whole months, unable to stir. When 
I wished to move my leg, I called my wife or one of 
my little children, who climbed up on the bed. My 
sufferings were excruciating. I could at length get 
up and move around with crutches, but with great 
difficulty ; I dragged myself around slipping my 
feet along the ground. 

" My situation was cruel. We lived only by our 
labor, and so many days lost. My wife gained ten 
francs a month at the station; we had three very 
small children. One day they asked for bread; 
there was none ... things had come to that 
with us; I felt worse for them than for my own 
sufferings. Charity came to our aid. The priest 
gave me broth, and from time to time soase forty 
sous pieces which were always acceptable; the cas 
tle furnished us with wood for the Winter, and the 
station master gave me bread for a long time; only 
for that, what would have become of us ! Ah ! 1 
suffered ! . . . . 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 189 

I went out a little about three months ago. A 
friend, who read the Annals, told me of Our Lady 
of Lourdes, and of an old soldier who was cured by 
bathing in the water of the grotto. My barber told 
me that his sister, a teacher, had been cured of some- 
disease of the eyes, at the grotto. My comrades on 
the road said to me: Jaffard, there is a Supreme 
Being; you are unfortunate; you must pray and go 
to Lourdes. If you have not confidence, do not go. 
But God can do everything; have confidence, and 

then go. 

"Before this, I did not think of GOD; I did not 
pray. But when misfortune comes upon one, he 
begins to remember. All this made me reflect. I 
had hope, and I began to pray to God, and we made 
our little children pray. Sometimes I got discour 
aged. It is not possible, thought I; you will 
never be cured; you are condemned to misfortune. 
But the good thought came up again, and I said to 
myself: We know that there is a Supreme Being; 
let us have confidence. I determined to start; 
something told me: You will be cured. 

"For two or three days before, I did nothing but 
say Hail Mary s. At last I set out. Every one 
pitied me on the way to Lourdes. I had been giyen 
a little money a carriage took me to the grotto. 

"I prayed. I thought, The little girl who saw 
the Blessed Virgin was very happy; that will not 



190 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

happen to me; I am not worthy of it ! I wantod 
to put my poor feet into the water of the grotto. A 
man helped me I was not able to take off my 
shoes. He held me while I plunged into the 
fountain. Oh ! how I prayed then ! I thought I 
would leave my crutches there. I felt, it may be, a 
slight relief but almost nothing. That did not dis 
courage me. I said: Well; I will come again. 
On seeing me return with my crutches, my wife was 
sad. 

"I had brought a bottle of the water from 
Lourdes. Befoie going to bed we put some in a 
vessel, and my wife bathed my feet with it. You 
may believe that I prayed. When this was done, I 
tried to rise. I stood up. Then I began to walk: 
I could walk easily. I exclaimed: Wife, I am 
cured ! My poor wife stood there amazed, looking at 
me. At last she said: Ah ! poor Blessed Virgin ! 
there are some who will not believe in her. Oh 
Bhe is good ! And she began to cry with joy. 

"Then, I was so happy that I said to her: I must 
go to our neighbors. But you will fall? No; I 
can walk as well as you. I carried my road-lantern 
and we set out. My wife said to me: Do you wish 
us -to leave the children? The Blessed Virgin 
will take care of them ! We arrived at our neigh 
bors, 200 metres from our house, on a bad road. 
They got up. Judge f their surprise ! You should 



The Wonders of Lourdes. i^l 

sec them ! ! Thy were very good, religious peo 
ple. I made them all drink a little of the water 
which I had brought. The next day I reached the 
station of Lespouey without a stick; I had walked 
a good distance. On seeing me, the wife of the 
htation master cried out: Is it possible? Here is 
Jaflard; he is walking ! Oh ! this is a great mira 
cle ! Every one was astonished. I went along the 
road. My comrades stared at me, they could not 
believe that it was I ; they said to me : * You did 
well to go to Lourdes, Jaffard; they may say what 
they like, there is a Supreme Being. Confidence is 
everything. You had confidence in the Blessed 
Virgin, and here is a miracle. I promised to come 
and bring my crutches; I have come now. 

" My comrades, all along the road, congratulated 
me. At Lourdes, when they saw me with my 
crutches in my hand, they said: There is Jaffard 
carrying his crutches to the grotto. Not one said 
anything against it. The first time I had been told 
that I would do better to go to the hospital of Va- 
ence d Agen, near my place, I did not even listen; 
I walked from the town, carrying my crutches in 
my hand. 

"I suffer a little yet; I am not very active, but I 
hope soon to be. My feet were enormous the 
swelling is now gone from them. J could not bend 
my back at all; I was as stiff as a piece of wood 



192 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

It is only a little while since I bathed in the fountain, 
and now I can bend to the ground. Oh ! the 
Blessed Virgin has enabled me to earn a living and 
to feed these little children. Now I am always 
praying, and my wife and I, I warrant you, need 
not be told to do our duty as good Christians. Oh ! 
I will be entirely cured, and every year I will come 
back here." 



XXXVI. 

INSTANTANEOUS CURE OF A CONSUMPTIVE PEASANT 
GIRL. 

SOME days after having cured the worthy switch- 
tender as we have just heard, the Blessed Virgin 
restored life to a young peasant of Julos (Hautes- 
Pyrenees), named Madeleine Latapie. This good 
and pious young girl seemed to have all that was 
requisite to charm the Immaculate Virgin and to 
obtain a miracle. 

About the end of the year 1866, Madeleine La 
tapie, then about fifteen years old, was in such a 
state of weakness and of suffering, that she was 
thought to be incurable. She was consumptive. 
But with the weight of suffering, pale and languid, 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. 193 

he could still, for some months, drag herself slowly 
to the church. It was two minutes, walk from her 
house. It took her half an hour to make the jour 
ney. Soon she had to be carried to the church. At. 
length, her strength became unequal to her zeal fo^ 
the good GOD, ad her love for the Blessed Virgin. 
She was obliged to keep her bed, from which, as was- 
said by her parents, friends and by the doctors, she 
was never to rise. This was towards the end of 
June, 186 7. 

During her illness, which lasted till September," 
wrote her confessor, "I brought her holy Commu 
nion, every Sunday. Then more than ever, she 
edified all who accompanied the Blessed Sacrament, 
and came to pray at her bedside. I would like 
to die," said she to me once, because I am a burden 
to every one. 

" She remained without food, for her poor stomach 
could retain nothing, for four months between life 
and death. A strange doctor was asked by Made 
leine s father to come and see the poor patient. He 
came, and agreed with the doctor of the place, as to 
the extent of her disease. That girl has not four 
days to live, said he as he went out. The next .1 : ;. 
Madeleine received the last Sacraments." 

" Poor child 1" said her father : " poor child ! to 
die so young ! r But GOD, who mocks at the science 
of men, had other designs on that child. 



194 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

Madeleine herself thought that she was going t6 

appear before her GOD. Her confession gave her 

profound peace. Grace filled her soul with the sole 

I desire to love JESUS CHRIS-T forever. She was six- 

fteen years old; the thought of the world frightened 

her. Fearing to sin if she came back to life, she 

asked to die, and promised the Blessed Virgin to be 

a Religious if she recovered. 

In the month of May, 1868, she had herself taken 
to the grotto of Lourdes; but there was no relief 
granted her, and the poor young girl continued to 
drag on her "dying life" in sufferings, sustained 
only by the consolations of piety. 

About the beginning of the year 1869, a myste 
rious dream rejoiced her soul and gave her some en 
eouragement in her excessive weakness. A person 
well known to her, said to her: " Go to the grotto; 
you will be cured. " The sound of this voice pene 
trated her whole being, and a feeling of profound 
joy made her say, while still asleep: "I will be 
cured." 

She woke np, and all her sufferings with her; the 
weakness of her chest, the difficulty of breathing, the 
feebleness of the limbs. Bat the impression of the 
promise remained, very sensible and very sweet. 
The remembrance of the dream and the words- " Go 
to the grotto, you will be cured, * came back to her 
memory incessantly, and left a singular hope in her 



T1i Wonders of Lourdes. 19$ 

heart. However it was only a dream. But do not 
dreams sometimes come from GOD? 

Some days after the sick girl timidly asked hei 
parents to allow her to make a pilgrimage to Txmr 
des. They promised vaguely, some day when u^ 
favorable opportunity would offer. While waiting, 
her desire increased ami became owe of those im 
patient wants so usual in consumptive*. 

Madeleine had one dear and devoted friend, the 
teacher of the village, her former mistress, to 
whom she owed her habits of piety. It was she 
who was to be tlve companion of her pilgrimage. 
After having postponed it from week to week, it 
was definitely fixed for the 20th of April. 

The poor consumptive was placed on a mule, 
whilst her teacher followed on foot with another 
friend, named Pauline. Madeleine was full of joy; 
the voice of her dream whose echo was still in her 
heart, left her scarcely any doubt of her cure. But 
goon even the quiet pacing of the mule fatigued her. 
The journey lasted an hour and a half at most. Ar 
rived at Lourdes, her strength gave out, and she had 
to go through the streets very slowly. She got. 
down at the gate of the town, and tried to go ui*I 
the road to the rock. Leaning on her friend s arm, 
panting and suffering from the pain of her chest, 
she took almost an hour to walk a distance of ten 
minutes. Her extreme fatigue could note-flare frm 



196 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

her soul a feeling of happiness and of hope, at the 
sight of the walls of the chapel. 

The first visit was to the crypt. In an hour s rest 
completely absorbed in prayer, Madeleine deeply felt 
that weariness of the world and the desire to leave 
it, renewing her vow of a religious life, and asking her 
cure, on condition that it might contribute to the 
salvation of her soul. 

It so happened that she was obliged to go down 
to the grotto alone. But notwithstanding that she 
went slowly, she reached it worn out, and knelt 
down. In her first glance towards the statue of the 
Virgin, a most sweet emotion stirred her heart and 
drew tears from her eyes. She prayed for a long 
time and offering herself once more to MARY Im 
maculate as a religious. The want of food forced 
the three companions away from the grotto; and 
without having yet drank at the fountain, they went 
to take their meal on a stone bench, in the grass. 

It was almost noon when they returned to the 
grotto. Madeleine prayed again, but not so long as 
before, and then went to the fountain. During these 
few painful steps which she took, bent down by her 
weakness and the oppression on her chest, she said to 
herself, almost without thinking: "It is now!" 

She drank two glasses of the miraculous water, 
with an indescribable tranquillity. She felt no strong 
emotion, nor shock of any kind in her being. Only 



7 lie \Vondcrs of Lourdes. 197 

she felt herself immediately refreshed. This sud 
den relief surprised her. She however said noth 
ing and knelt again to continue to pray with her 
companions. 

About two o clock, rain drove them from the 
grotto. The teacher said to Madeleine: " Go first; 
I will join you in a few minutes." The sick girl 
obeyed. ~A moment after, she returned. " But . . 
... I am cured! .... I can walk! .... You 
can not keep up with me." The noise of the wind 
and rain prevented the teacher from hearing these 
words; but she saw Madeleine smile, and saw her 
return quickly and then go on at a light gait. 
Anxiously she asked herself: "Do I behold a mira 
cle ?" 

Madeleine went up quickly. She was, as it were, 
bewildered and could not fix her thoughts; she did 
Dot know herself. No pain, no fatigue, her chest 
expanded, her breathing easy, she felt entirely and 
thoroughly well, her heart overflowing with unknown 
joy! And she went up. At length, she felt, as it 
were, a great shock in her soul; she burst into tears. 
"O my Mother, you have cured me!" cried she; 
arid quickening her pace, she went to thank the 
Blessed Virgin. 

Hi r two companions had stayed behind. Arriv 
ing at the crypt, they found their sick friend kneel- 
ir. g and they let. her pray, Madeleine was weeping. 



198 TJie Wonders of Lonrdcs. 

The agitation of sudden immense happiness and. the 
love of the Blessed Virgin had melted her heart. 
She could not utter a word ; but her soul blessed Our 
Lady of Lourdes, and she gave herself once more t 
her heavenly Mother by the vow of a religious 
which she knew now was fully accepted. Tb 
happy Madeleine wept long. 

The teacher at length rose and said to her friend : 
"I sent Pauline to get the mule." 

"Oh! no," quickly answered Madeleine, "I do 
not need it. Pauline will ride on it." 

The teacher made a gesture which seemed to 
say : "Let us go, foolish child !" They soon went 
out. The teacher took the young girl s arm ; they 
went down the path by the missionaries house, 
and sat down 011 the wall by the roadside. After 
a moment, Madeleine said with emotion : " I must 
tell you, mademoiselle, I am cured really cured. 
1 feel no more pain. I can walk to the village. 
The Blessed Virgin has restored life to me ! " And 
she threw herself into her friend s arms. 

After kisses, tears, and smiles of gladness, thoj 
journeyed quickly towards Lourdes. The teachc. 
was overcome ; the former consumptive did thing: 
which a few hours before would have been impot 
sible ; she knew she was cured, and yet she doubted. 
Madeleine s companions forced her to ride through 
the city on the mule ; but on the way she leaped to 



T/ie Wonders of Lourdcs. 199 

the ground, and began to walk at a rapid pace. The 
teacher, fully persuaded, like all the village, that the 
/oung consumptive s death was near, and familiar 
with tint thought from the time they left the 
chapel, struggled against the evidence of her cure. 
Sho saw her with, her own eyes, touched her with 
her own hands, and could not believe either her 
friend or herself. But at this sight she could hold 
out no longer. " Madeleine ! " cried she, " Ma 
deleine ! truly the Blessed Virgin has cured you ! " 

Madeleine arrived at Julos on foot. The next 
day she went to the fields, and, for the first time in 
her life, she bent down to the ground to work with 
her parents. There was general joy and admiration 
in the village. 

Since then there has not been the slightest op 
pression nor the least touch of pain in Madeleine s 
chest. 

A few weeks after her cure, she went again on 
foot with the teacher to make a pilgrimage of 
thanksgiving, where, full of joy, she ran down a 
hill. 

" Madeleine is eighteen years old," said a missionary 
vho saw her then. " She is tall and fully developed. 
The natural color in her face shows good health. 
She can run without getting out of breath any more 
than any other. As a child, she could work but 
very little; now she does, without any incoD- 



2OO The Wonders of Lourdes. 

venience, the whole indoor work of a numerous 
family of peasants. Hor friond accompanied her 
in seven or eight journeys to the rock of Massabielle, 
made on foot without fatigue. Sho thought she 

O O 

could never sufficiently thank Our Lady of Lourdes. 
And how recollected and fervent were her prayers 
in the grotto, and how the pure and happy child 
seemed to love that Madonna who had given her 
back her life ! " 

Here is the statement of the physician who fol 
lowed all the phases of the disease : 

"I, the undersigned, declare that Madeleine 
Latapie, of the village of Julos, aged eighteen, was 
afflicted with consumption for four years, and was 
in such a state of prostration that all the resources 
of medicine were powerless to arrest the progress of 
the disease, as several other physicians have agreed 
with me in declaring. 

" Without knowing from what cause, I see her 
suddenly cured. I declare that this cure excites my 
astonishment in the highest degree, as well as that 
of the whole community. 0. LABBE/ 

" ADE, May 19, 1860 " 

Truly, there was something astonishing in this, 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 2QI 



XXXVII. 

TOUCH ING CURES OF CHILDREN RECENTLY EFFECTED 
BY THE MIRACULOUS WATER OF LOURDES. 

We have said leforc that the sweet and maternal 
Virgin of the grotto seems to have a weakness for 
children ; it was through a child, poor little Ber- 
nadette, that she was pleased to reveal herself at 
the rock of Massabielle ; and, again, it is on chil 
dren, the living images of her Infant Jesus, that 
she prefers to bestow her miraculous favors. Be 
sides, she then kills two birds with one stone heal 
ing a mother s hoart by the same power which 
heals the child s body. 

Here, grouped together, like a little bouquet of 
rose-buds, are five beautiful miracles, very evi 
dent, very luminous, which we lay lovingly in the 
: sacred grotto, at the feet of her who deigned to 
perform them. These little roses are quite fresh, 
the favors which we are going to relate being 
scarcely two years old. 

The first of these miracles took place in the 
month of June, 1869, at Clermont-Lodeve, in the 
Diocese of Montpellier, on a little boy of six years 
old. named Henri Michel. 



202 The Wonders of Louides. 

This poor child was taken with a fearfully malig* 
nant fever which, from the very first, endangered 
his life. The two first stages had passed, and the 4 
physicians awaited the third with anxiety. It came, 
and left no hope. Little Henri fell into a stupor 
which seemed to be that of death. His face was 
like that of a corpse. Henri s grandfather had 
died of a similar fever, in the prostration which fol 
lowed the third crisis. 

The doctor had already said to his elder sister : 
"He is gone"; and to the religious who was at 
tending the sick child he said confidentially : " Go 
to his mother ; prepare her ; and when you can, 
announce to her that the child cannot live." 

The poor distracted mother retired to her room, 
where she prayed for three hours, waiting till the 
Sister would come to bring her the dreaded news. 
All at once she felt inspired to make a vow to Our 
Lady of Lourdes ; and she promised to make a pil 
grimage with the child, if the Immaculate Virgin 
would deign to save him. She then rose, saying to 
the Sister : " Now the will of God be done ! I am 
going to give Henri some of the water of Lourdes. 
It was the first thing he drank at his birth ; it will 
be the last before his death." The same day all 
danger had disappeared. 

Three months after, when accomplishing her vow, 
this pious lady related before the grotto what the 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 203 

Blessed Virgin had done for her dear child ; and 
| L he good little Henri himself was there, fresh and 
vigorous, smiling as he heard his own story. 
" Mamma/ said he, " I have said my prayer to 
the Blessed Virgin three times. What should I do 
now ?" His mother brought him into the grotto, 
where the family recited the Rosary with a fervor 
which is easy to conceive. 

It was at Toulouse that the Blessed Virgin was 
pleased to gather the second rose for our little 
bouquet ; and this is how a pious son of Saint Fran 
cis, Father Marie-Antoine, related the fact to the 
editor of the " Annals of Lourdes " : 

" Whilst I was preaching the jubilee in one of the 
large parishes of Toulouse, a young mother came to 
me, and told me, with deep emotion, of Our Lady 
of Lourdes, saying that she wished to go to con 
fession, and make a communion in her honor, and 
to pay a debt of gratitude. She related to me the 
following exquisite story. It will be very useful to 
publish it for the good of souls, because it will be 
,gen how Our Lady of Lourdes regards purity of 
conscience, and that a confession and communion 
ire the greatest means of obtaining favors from her. 

" Here are the facts as stated in the letter : 

"A couple named Montcassin, living at Tou 
louse, have a young child, named Louis, who was 
born the 25th of July, 18C7, and was infirm from 



204 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

his birth. This infirmity, which, according to the 
physicians, proceeded from great weakness of the 
loins, had so much enfeebled him that he was con* 
tinually declining* Although about three years of 
age, he was not only unable to stand on his legs, 
but he could not even put his feet on the ground 
without screaming with pain. 

" After many attempts, the physicians had given 
up the hope of curing him. However, following 
the advice of one of them, his mother took him to 
the waters of Bigorre, There, instead of growing 
better, his illness increased, and the medical in 
spector of the waters had no more hope of curing 
him than the doctors of Toulouse* 

"The distressed mother then turned all her 
thoughts and hopes towards Our Lady of Lourdes ; 
but, a true Christian mother, she wtfuld not ask a 
favor of the Blessed Virgin without deserving it as 
much as possible by purifying her soul from all sin 
to make a fervent communion in honor of Mary. 
But her confessor being absent, she was obliged to 
put off her communion till her return. 

" She set out for Lourdes with her sister and the 
child. She heard Mass there with the greatest de 
votion ; had a taper burned at the grotto during 
Mass, and left another to be burned afterwards, 
she plunged the child twice into the fountain, once 
before Mass, and once after* There was no cure. 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 205 

What struck her forcibly, and also amazed all the 
pilgrims who were around the fountain, was that 
the little cripple, who had been plunged several 
times into the water up to his head, was not even 
wet, and did not feel anything, although the water 
was very cold and his body very delicate. 

"Astonished, but making no effort to explain 
the mystery, the mother took with her a supply of 
the water, and returned to Bigorre, 

" Next day, early in the morning, she made the 
child drink some of the water, rubbed his loins with 
it, and went to confession. She received absolution, 
and, notwithstanding her impatience to see the 
miracle which she hoped for after the communion 
she had promised, she thought it better to wait till 
the next day* That evening and the next morning 
she made the child drink the water, and rubbed him 
again with it; then, full of confidence in the 
Blessed Virgin, she received communion with all 
possible fervor. It was on Sunday, the 2Gth of 
September. She felt an extraordinary consolation 
in that communion, and she returned to her dear 
child with the certainty that he would be cured. 

" She had scarcely reached the door of her house 
when she heard her child calling for her, and walk 
ing all alone, with a firm and rapid step, to meet 
her, opening his little arms and crying out joyously . 
Come, mamma, come ! On seeing the- miracle, 



2o6 The Wonders of Lourdes, 

the woman who was minding the little one during 
. his mother s absence, and from whose arms he had 
escaped, fell on her knees and began to cry. The 
mother cried still more, and she, too, on her knees 
raised her hands and eyea to MAEY ; our Lady 
of Lourdes \ our Lady of Lourdes i how great 
thou art \ how good thon art ! and the child leaped 
for joy, and repeated : f Mamma, let me kiss the 
Blessed Virgin. And since then he always repeats 
those words when his mother speaks of the Blessed 
Virgin, or when he sees any statues of her. All of 
them, to him, are the Blessed Virgin, and he al 
ways wants to kiss them. 

" His infirmity has entirely left him ; the cure 
was instantaneous and radical ; he is wonderfully 
well, and he walks better than most others. I saw 
him myself walking, and I admired his grace and 
agility, 

1 The happy mother immediately wrote the good 
news to her husband. She brought the cured child 
-to the altar of Our Lady of Mount Oarmel, and the 
child escaped from her to go and embrace MAKY ; 
the mother hang round his neck, at the foot of the 
altar, the medal of Our Lady of Lourdes, which 
the child always kisses lovingly. She promised to 
take him as soon as possible to Lourdes in thanks 
giving, and to make there a fervent communion, 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 207 

winch she knew by experience to be so agreeable to 
MARY Immaculate. 

"These are the facts dictated by the mother, andi 
of which I guarantee the authenticity." 

Our third rose is the fullest blown of the five. 
This is the rose for the centre of our little bouquet of 
miracles. It represents a good and amiable child 
of fourteen or fifteen years old, the sister cf a 
young pupil of the Jesuit Fathers in their college 
at Amiens, who himself relates as follows how Our 
Lady of Lourdes visited his little sister on the loth 
of July, in the year 1870 : 

"My sister was named Mary. Having fallen 
from a high piece of furniture when about four 
years old, she slightly injured her leg. But soon 
the hurt grew worse, notwithstanding all that could 
be done and all the tortures which she was made to 
undergo. It was decided by the medical faculty that 
she would be lame for life. 

"Eleven years had passed since then. Three 
weeks ago, when she was at the boarding-school of 
Lambersart (near Lille), she began to feel again the t 
most acute pains. My parents immediately came 
for her. Several doctors were again consulted ; but 
after a week s treatment, an abscess began to form. 
It could not be worse than it was, it appears, and 
they already 1/egan to despair. My mother, having 



208 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

heard of the efficacy of the water of Lourdes, sent 
lor a bottle of the miraculous water which gushed 
from beneath the good Virgin s feet. 

" I here copy verbatim the letter which my cx< 
cellent mother wrote to me : 

" Yesterday, Friday (July 15), we commenced 
our Novena, which consists of three Rosaries, the 
Litany, and invocations to Our Lady of Lourdes. 
In the morning we said the first Rosary and rubbed 
her leg. At two o clock the second Rosary; I 
again began to rub her. . . .0 miracle ! I 
felt your sister s le.g lengthen ; the pain was leaving 
her. Marie began to move. She moved her leg 
every way, and wanted to get out of bed. Seeing 
her eagerness, I allowed her to do so. She walks 
without pain ; her leg is quite supple. She goes 
and comes, and runs around the room. We all 
wept, and you can understand with what feelings 
we thanked GOD and the Blessed Virgin, who has 
been so good to us. I cannot believe my eyes ; for 
who knows better than I the great miracle which 
GOD has performed in our favor ? 

" Some may ask, perhaps, for evidence of this/ 
adds the young brother. " I pray them to believe 
that it is not wanting. More than ten doctors, some 
of whom have an extensive reputation, and two 
boarding-schools, at one of which my sister re 
mained four years is not this more than enough 



The Wonders of Lonrdcs. 209 

to testify that my poor little Bister was incurably 

flame ? 

"And now what else can I do than thank thee 
with my whole heart, my whole eoul,-and my whole- 
strength, Immaculate Virgin! who dost obtain 
iill things from thy divine Son, and whose good 
ness equals thy power ? Yes, I swear to thee, 
good Virgin ! that as long as I live I shall be proud 
to call myself thy child and thy entirely devoted 
servant." 

The cure of this young lame girl was like so 
many others sudden, without transition, and leav 
ing no trace of an infirmity which, as was well 
known by every one, had lasted eleven years. 

The Blessed Virgin found means to cull our 
fourth flower in a Protestant garden. On Monday, 
July 4, cf the same year, 1870, at Mornac, in a 
mixed parish of the Diocese of La Rochelle, she 
supernaturally cured, without convalescence, a POOL 
little infant of two months old, who was afflicted 
with millet. 

The poor child s mouth, lips, and throat were 
covered with purulent pimples, which were rapidly 
turning to gangrene. It was all one fearful sore, 
exhaling a most offensive odor. 

Without delay the child was taken to a doctor, 
lie was not at home ; but his wife declared that 
the disease seemed to her very serious, and that, in 



2io The Wonders of Lourdes. 

spite of great care and the application of the best 
remedies, two or three children of a neighboring 
village had died of the same disease. 

What sorrow this was for the poor parents 1 
On their return home, they knew not what to do 
to at least relieve him whom they hud no hope of 
saving. In her distress, the sick child s aunt car 
ried him to several houses to ask for help. She 
went into the house of a Catholic lady, and there 
five or six persons saw the sad condition of the poor 
little child. 

" Immediately/ wrote this good lady, f I thought 
of Our Lady of Lourdes ; but how was I to speak 
of it to a Protestant ? 

" Would you like us/ said I to her, to give 
the child some water which I have here, and which 
will refresh him ? * 

" ( Oh 1 yes/ cried she, I would like it ; and 
immediately, if you please ! 

" I gave him a small teaspoonful, which he seem 
ed to relish ; then another, and he opened his eyes ; 
a visible change took place in him. 

" The aunt went home, taking some of the water, 
with which she moistened his lips from time to 
time. Wonderful prodigy ! the sore visibly dis 
appeared ; the child began again to take his ordi 
nary food, which he had refused for corne days. 
Next day he was cured so completely cured that 



The Wonders of Lour dc$. 211 

his little mouth, entirely round and red, showed 
not the slightest trace of the fearful sore of the 
evening previous. 

" Filled with astonishment and joy, the Protest 
ant mother took the child everywhere, showing him 
to all who would look, and saying to all who would 
hear that it was only the water which was given 
him that had cured him, since she had used nothing 
else, and the doctor had not even come to see him. 

" Let us hope-/ adds her Catholic benefactress, 
that the Blessed Virgin will finish her work, and 
that sooner or later she will lead this poor child to 
the true faith, healing his soul as she healed his 
body! " 

The fifth rosebud was also of 1870 a year as fer 
tile in prodigies of grace and mercy as in terrible 
manifestations o divine justice on kings and na 
tions. 

It is again an aunt, but this time a good Catho 
lic and a very pious aunt, who gives us the account 
>of a double miracle performed on her nephew by 
the blessed water from the grotto of Lourdes. 

" The dear child," wrote she to the superior of 
the missionaries at the pilgrimage, "is ten years 
old ; was suddenly seized with an effusion of wau r 
on the brain and acute inflammation. He was re 
duced to such an extremity that on Saturday, Juno 
11, the two doctors who were attending him had 



212 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

formally declared that all was over with him, and 
that, unless by a miracle, his euro was impossible. 

" On Sunday morning, June 12, after he had 
made his first communion as a Viaticum, and re 
ceived the last Sacraments, whilst his father and 
mother and myself were waiting to see him breathe 
his last, . I felt an inward inspiration to invoke 
Our Lady of Lourdes, I then said to her in my 
heart this short and simple prayer : MARY ! 
conceived without sin, Our Lady of Lourdes, since 
a miracle is required, will you not perform it ? 
Cure this child, I beseech you/ Then, taking a 
flask of the miraculous water which one of my 
relatives .had given me, I made our dear little one 
swallow some drops of it. I rubbed with it, three 
different times, his fearfully swollen face ; each 
time the swelling visibly grew less, and soon entire 
ly disappeared. From that time an extraordinary 
improvement took place ; he had a very quiet night. 
On Monday morning, to the great astonishment of 
the physicians, who could believe neither their eyes 
nor ears, the child asked for something to eat, and 
did actually eat without feeling the slightest in 
convenience, 

" However, the cure was not complete ; in the 

course of the disease the child had lost his sight, 

.so that he could no longer distinguish day from 

night. Encouraged by the miracle which we had 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 213 

already obtained, and fully convinced that Our 
Lady of Lourdes would not leave her Work Unfin 
ished, I continued to rub his eyes with the miracu 
lous water, and on Tuesday morning, on awaken 
ing, the clear child cried out joVoUsly : I can see 
as well as before I was sick. 

"Ho is now completely recovered, " 

If, after that, mothers and children do not love 
the Immaculate Conception^ the good Virgin of 
Lourdes, I do not know, in truth, what more she can 
do to gain their hearts. 



XXXVIIL 

A WORKMAN SIXTY YEARS OLD SUDDENLY CURED 
OF ULCERS AND VARICOSE BORES DECLARED IN 
CURABLE. 

The Abbe Coux, Curate of St.. Alain, at La- 
Vatir (Diocese of Albi), sent to the father superior 
of the missionaries of Lourdes the following ac 
count, which lie specially recommends to free*, 
thinkers : 

"LAVAUR, September 20, 1811. 

"KEVERKND Y A I ll I ..; : 

"The supernatural abounds on all sides in our 



214 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

deluded age ; here we have it confirmed by medical 
science. 

"Fra^ois Macary is a joiner at Lavaur, sixty 
years of age. During half his life, for about thirty 
years, he was afflicted with fearful varicose swelling 
in -the- legs, frequently breaking out in large, deep 
ulcers. His legs, bound by numerous bandages, 
were enclosed in dogskin gaiters- Franyois, often 
obliged to give up work, received, as he him 
self tells us, on account of his frequent and long 
cessations of labor, more than a thousand francs 
from the St. Louis Society, of which he is a member. 

" He consulted all the doctors at Lavaur, some at 
Toulouse, amongst others Doctor Laviguerie ; all 
gave him the same answer : ( Your disease is in 
curable. 

"His soul was no less diseased. Poor Macary 
had given up all his religious duties ; he assisted at 
no Masses but those required by the Mutual Aid 
Society ; and during the long, sleepless nights caused 
by fearful pain, whilst his pious wife wept and 
prayed, Macary furiously blasphemed. 

" Last July, when confined to his arm-chair, he 
was tired to death. He had heard of Our Lady of 
Lourdes and Mr. Henri Laserre s book. The 
thought occurred to him to read it for amusement. 

" He read it in two days, and was often affected 
to tears. 



The \\ ondcrs of Lonrdcs. 215 

" His wife had a happy presentiment ; and he 
himself felt his afflicted heart opening to hope. 

" On the evening of July 16, he was seized with 
an extraordinary agitation ; he could remain no 
longer in his arm-chair. Wife, we must go out. 
But it is imprudent. Never mind, let us go 
out ; I cannot stand this any longer. 

" He went out, leaning on his wife s arm, with 
out knowing where to go. Instead of going to the 
usual walk, a few steps from his house, he dragged 
himself to the town, and went to the house of one 
of his sisters, near the church of St. Alain. 

" I, the curate of the parish, went into the same 
house. To-morrow, said I to all who were there, 
I am going to Our Lady of Lourdes, and I will 
have pleasure in fulfilling any commissions for 
you. 

" You are going to Lourdes ? cried Macary. 
Well, I beg of you to tell the Virgin down there 
that there is at Lavaur a poor devil of a working- 
man whose legs are rotting away ; that I cannot 
bear the suffering. Let her either cure or kill 
me! 

" You must acknowledge that you are giving 
me a singular commission t o ask the Blessed Vir 
gin to kill you. She would not listen to me. 

" Then Macary seriously asked me to please pray 
for him, and to bring him a little water from the 



216 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

grotto. I promised him that I would ; and three 
days after, on the 19th of July, I sent him a little 
flask of water from the miraculous fountain. 

" Let us now hear Fra 119018 Macary : . 

" When I had the blessed water in my hands, I 
hastened to -drag myself to my room. There I 
knelt down and said a short but fervent prayer to 
the Virgin. I took off my gaiters and my banda 
ges. Pouring some of the water into the hollow of 
my hand, I washed my poor legs with it. I drank 
the water that remained in the flask. I went to 
bed, and fell asleep. 

( About midnight I awoke ; I no longer felt 
any pain in my legs. I touched them with both 
hands ; the ulcers had disappeared. 

" f My wife was in the next room, with which a 
door communicated. "Wife/ cried I, I am cured ! 
You are crazy ; go to sleep. . . / 

" A sleep such as I had not enjoyed for a long 
time came over me. Next day, on awakening, I 
hastened to look at my legs ; ulcers, varicose veins, 
all had disappeared. The skin was smoother than 
that of my hands. 

" Two days after this, Macary said to me : Now 
I belong to you. The Virgin has cured my legs ; it 
is for you to cure my soul. 

" On the 18th of September, the day of the pro- 
Cession from Castres, you, Reverend Father, saw 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 217 

Franyois Macary at the grotto, bringing as an ex- 
voto his gaiters, which are now hung at the grotto. 
He showed you his legs perfectly sound. You saw 
him weep at the grotto and at the Holy Table, 
which he approached for the fourth time since his 
cure. The whole parish has seen him accompany 
ing the Blessed Sacrament, happy and proud to 
carry the canopy. 

" Here is the testimony of three respectable 
physicians in proof of the miracle. You will es 
pecially remark the indisputable evidence of the 
learned Doctor Bernet. As for us, with the good 
Franyois Macary, with the whole of the population 
of Lavaur and its vicinity, we return thanks to the 
Immaculate Conception of Lourdes, who has deigned 
to give to the world this new proof of her power 
and her goodness. May she open the eyes of the 
blind and touch obdurate hearts ! 

" J. Corx, Priest, 
" Curate of St Alain, at Lavaur (Tarn). 99 

" I, the undersigned, declare that for about thirty 
years Mr. Macary (Franyois), joiner, was affected 
with varicose legs. These varicose veins were as , 
large as one s finger, and intermingled with thick 
and knotty fluxcous cords, which have until now 
necessi tilted a methodical compression, produce,! by 
tlie aid of a bandage bound round or by a gaiter of 



2i8 The Wonders of Lourdcs. 

dog-skin. In spite of these precautions, tilcerations 
frequently appeared on both legs, and each time ne 
cessitated absolute rest and long treatment. Ivisit- 
j ed him yesterday, and, although his lower limbs were 
entirely uncovered, I could only perceive some marks 
of his enormous varicose veins. 

" This case of spontaneous cure appears the more 
surprising to me that the aniaals of science mention 
no fact of this nature. 

"LAVAUR, August 16, 1871. 

" SEGUE, M.D., 
of the St. Louis Mutual Aid Society." 

" Certificate of the signature of Doctor Segur. 
" LAVAUE, September 3, 1871. 

"Ex. DE VoisiJs", Mayor. 

" Certificate of the signature of Mr. Etienne De 
Voisin-Laverniere, Mayor of Lavaur, affixed to the 
other side. 

"AtLAVAUii, September 5, 1871. 

" CELLIERES, Sub-Prefect." 

" I, the undersigned, certify that for about thirty 
years Mr. Macary, joiner at Lavaur, was afflicted 
with varicose legs with enormous nodes, frequently 
complicated by large ulcers, in spite of the constant 
compression caused by gaiters or appropriate band 
ages ; that these accidents have disappeared sudden 
ly, and that to-day there remains only a sensibly-di- 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 219 

minishcd node OH the inner and upper part of the 
right leg. 

" LAVAUR, August 25, 1871. 

" ROSSIGNOL, M.IX" 

" Certificate of the above signature. 
" LAVAUR, September 3, 1871. 

" ET. DE Voisix, Mayor." 

" Certificate of the signature of Mr. Etienne De 
Voisin-Laverniere, Mayor of Lavaur, affixed to the 
other side. 

"At LAVAUR, September 5, 1871. 

"CELLIERES, Sub-Prefect." 

" Fran9ois Macary, aged GO years, joiner at Lavaur, 
a member of the St. Louis Society, consulted us 
about twenty years ago for varicose ulcers in the 
hollow and under part of the left knee and leg. 
There was then on the lower third of that limb a 
varicose ulcer, hard at the edges, and with consider 
able and painful swelling of the muscles. Besides, 
there were on the outside and inside of the upper 
part of the calf two large scars, having no connection 
with the affection to which we refer, being the result 
of a burn which the patient had received twenty 
years before. The swollen veins were so numer 
ous and so enlarged that, for us, the surgical means 
usually employed in this disease were totally im 
practicable. 



220 The Wonders of Lonrdes. 

" Macary then appeared to us to be condemned to 
a lasting infirmity, and we prescribed for him means 
of relief which had been already advised by several 
,f f our medical brethren. 

"Eighteen years later, about two years ago, 
Macary again consulted us. The condition of his 
leg had .become much worse. We confirmed our 
first statement, and declared that it was absolutely 
necessary for him, in order to heal the ulcer, to sub 
mit, as the only means, to absolute and prolonged 
rest in bed, and to the application of systematic 
dressing. 

" To-day, August 15, 1871, Macary came to us 
for the third time. The ulcer is completely healed. 
There is no" bandage on the leg, and yet there is not 
the shadow of a swelling. What especially strikes 
us is that the varicose swellings have entirely disap 
peared ; that in their place, by touching, we can 
perceive small cords hard, bloodless, and rolling 
under the fingers. The inner saphena vein has 
assumed its normal size and direction. The most 
careful examination can discover no trace of a sur- 
jical operation. 

"According to Macary s account, this radical 
cure has been produced in the space of one night, 
and simply by the application of bandages soaked in 
water drawn from the fountain in the grotto of 
Lourdes. 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. 221 

"We conclude that, apart frofn Macary s account, 
science is unable to explain this fact; for our au 
thors can cite no similar or analogous occurrence. 
} They all agree that varicose veins, left to themselves, . 
are incurable ; that they are only cured by pallia 
tive means, and still less spontaneously ; that they 
grow continually worse ; and, finally, that a radical 
cure cannot be hoped for, except with great risk to 
the patient in the application of surgical procqss. 
Thus, even were not the fact affirmed by Macary 
proved by other authentic testimony, it would 
nevertheless remain for us a most extraordinary, 
or, if you will, a supernatural occurrence. 

" In view of which we sign the contents of the 
present report : 

" LAVAUR, August 15, 1871. 

"D. BERNET, M.D., 

of the Faculty of Paris." 

" Certificate of the above signature. 
"LAVAUR, September 3, 1871. 

" ET. DE VOISIN, Mayor. y 

> "Certificate of the signature of Mr. Etienne De 
Voisin-Laverniere, Mayor of Lavaur, affixed op 
posite. 

" LAVAUR, September 4, 1871. 

" CKI.LIKUKS, Suit-Prefect." 



222 T/ic Wonders of Lourdes. 



XXXIX. 

THE SEMINARIAN OF LIEGE. 

On Wednesday in Holy Week, April 13, 1870, a 
pious young seminarian of the Diocese of Liege, in 
Belgium, was instantly cured, on the first use of the 
water of Lourdes, of a decline which was rapidly car 
rying him to the grave. He was a sub-deacon, named 
Henri Joseph Grenier. This is how he himself re 
lates, to the superior of the missionaries at the holy 
grotto, his disease and its miraculous cure : 

" After a decline which lasted three months, I 
was cured suddenly on the first use of the water of 
Lourdes, on Spy Wednesday, April 13, at half -past 
eight in the evening. 

" From the beginning of January I suffered from 
a cough, which I neglected for a whole month, I 
often felt a ravenous appetite and dizziness from 
the stomach ; my breathing became painful. In 
the beginning of February I began to understand 
the necessity of taking care of myself. The doctor, 
seeing at first only catarrh, was astonished to find 
mo so weak. He treated me for derangement of 
the stomach, but my cough turned to inflammation 
of the chest ; I took a catarrhal fever, which was 



The Wonders of Lour ties. 223 

only to be cured by complete and long abstinence. 
The fever once passed, I could eat. As I was no 
longer suffering I thought I was cured, and there 
fore I immediately tried to resume my studies ; but 
1 1 was exhausted, and couM not . continue them. 
Voracious hunger, vertigo, weakness, headaches, 
painful digestion, all had returned ; the oppression 
on my chest was almost continual. 

" I dragged on a more and more painful life at 
the seminary until the 13th of March. I then re 
turned to my family in the village of Ilermalle, two 
leagues from Liege, to build myself up by rest and 
strengthening diet. For nearly three weeks my 
appetite continued without the least return of 
strength. After more than two weeks of tonic diet, 
the doctor pronounced me weaker than I was on my 
return. 

" From the 3d of April this factitious appetite 
left me. I soon felt that life was going with my 
strength. On the 10th of April I gave up taking 
the doctor s drugs, for which I felt great repug 
nance ; and yielding to the entreaties of my despair- 
, ing parents, I consented to have recourse to the water 
of Lourdes. 

" We. resolved to commence a novena on the eve 
ning of Spy Wednesday, April 13. I confess that I 
reluctantly decided to have recourse to this means. 
I had never asked my cure of God, and my opinion 



224 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

was that I should let him do it in his own way. On 
that Wednesday, the 13th of April, I was, in every 
respect, weaker and more miserable than ever. I 
made an effort to go to confession, and I intended 
to receive Communion as a viaticum the next day. 
The priest said, between seven and eight in the eve 
ning, that I was as good as gone ; the common 
opinion was that, after lingering for some time 
longer, I would calmly pass into eternity. At a 
quarter-past eight the family were assembled to 
commence the Novena. 

" ( Immaculate Virgin ! said I inwardly, I be 
lieve that if thou wilt, thou canst cure me ; if thou 
dost cure me, I will go on a pilgrimage to Montaigu 
(14 leagues from our village). 

" The prayers ended, I took a few drops of the 
water of Lourdes in a teaspoon. Immediately, with 
out shock or pain, I felt myself become perfectly 
well ; in place of the mortal weakness of a moment 
before, I felt a freshness and a new activity which I 
desired at once to try. I could not yet believe. I 
left my parents praying, and went slowly down the 
stairs from my room ; but I felt that all was changed, 
that I went down easily. I went up again ; I flew - 
like an arrow, and fell into the arms of my parents, 
who were overcome with astonishment. I seized 
Mr. Laserre s book, and, drawing a full breath, I 
read a good deal of it aloud, and recited the Rosary 



TJie Wonders of Lonrdcs. 225 

with a full, sonorous voice I who the evening be 
fore had vainly tried to say one Hail Mary ! Then I 
ran to tell the good news to the priest, and I came 
back to eat, to write, to pray, etc. About half-past 
eleven I went to bed, and slept a sound, peaceful,; 
and unbroken sleep ; and I was awakened at ten 
o clock next morning. For several years I had not 
been able to sleep like this. 

" It was Holy Thursday, I went to make my 
Easter duty, sang at Grand Mass fasting, and, with 
out the least fatigue, abstained the three last days 
of Lent. My only leisure moments were spent in 
reciting my Breviary, which I had been obliged to 
leave off for so long. All my miseries, all my weak 
ness had suddenly disappeared, from the first day of 
the Novena, at the first drop of water. 

" The cure continued. Since the 13th of April, 
I made a series of journeys which, in my best health, 
would have made me sick. On the 19th of April I 
undertook a pilgrimage on foot to Montaigu, and, 
on my return, after having gone twenty-eight 
leagues, I was as fresh and well as when I left. 

" Glory be to God! And glory, also, to the Imma 
culate Conception, who thus stirs the world only to 
change and to convert it !" 



226 The Wonders of Lourdes* 



XL. 



AND RADICAL CURE OF A YOUNG 
VILLAGE GIRL" WHO WAS DYING IK CONVULSIONS. 

In consequence of an apparently trifling accident, 
a young girl named Marie Rousse^ of Trebona 
(Hautes Pyrenees), was taken with .a brain disease 
which soon endangered her life. Marie was about 
twenty years of age. She was gentle and pious; all 
her family were truly Christian, especially her fa 
ther,, whose faith was able to remove mountains. 

As soon as she had. taken to her bed, poor Marie 
was seized with terrible convulsions, which lasted 
long enough to completely exhaust lier strength. 
Some weeks passed thus. The- family as yet were not 
very uneasy ; they supposed it was one of those ner 
vous diseases which are very painful, but not at all 
fatal ; which go as they come, and leave no traces in 
the constitution. This, security soon vanished. TliG 
disease took a very serious organic form. Mario 
could take scarcely any nourishment ; she became 
excessively weak, and felt, sharp and eontmual pain 
in her head. 

Two doctors who saw her agreed perfectly as to 
the nature of the disease and its treatment. Bui 



The Vi\ / L^arJcs. 227 

their prescriptions only produced trifliisg and mo 
mentary relief. Her life was going, and it was 
feared that the poor girl would ho carried off sud 
denly in one of these attacks, which distorted her 
limbs. The poor child showed great resignation. 

The priests of the parish had already visited her 
several times. The danger being imminent, the 
Holy Viaticum and Extreme Unction were given to 
iier. The whole village was Interested In this young 
girl; her excellent character and her edifying life 
had endeared her to all ; her youth made the gene 
ral regret still greater. All expected to hear her 
death-knelL, and those who had seen licr had no 
hope. ; 

Her father was 4eeply afflicted ; every time lie 
came from his daughter s bedside his tears were 
more bitter- Almost without hope, ho went one 
morning to Bagnercs to consult one of the two 
physicians who had treated her, and he brought 
back a new proscription. " What shall I do ?" said 
he to himself on the way. " When all the medicines, 
have had no effect, what can this one do, now that 
the child is scarcely alive ? " A 1 1 d h e w t j . i . 

Suddenly a thought took possession of hi* mind 
" I will go to Lourdcs, The cure is Hiere. U < 
only gives me time to get there ] " 

From that moment he prayed all the way. He 
went home and said to his daughter: J have 



228 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

another prescription. . But listen, Marie ; w -<t 
you like to have some water -from, the grotto > I 
will go and bring you some." 

"Oh I yes," murmured the dying girl in a jint 
voice, in a tone of hope and confidence. 

The father had just come eight kilometres on 
foot ; lie set out again, without ever sitting down, 
to walk twice sixteen or seventeen, and with a rapid 
step. In the hills which he had to climb, he did 
not care how he got up. He had but one thought ; 
to get back in time. His. heart and his lips inces 
santly implored the Blessed Virgin. i( To under 
stand what his. prayer was when he knelt before the 
grotto, one should see his eyes moisten, hear 
his voice tremble, when he speaks of it now/ says 
the missionary of Lourdes, to whom the worthy man 
applied. 

After his supplication to the Mother of God, in 
whom his confidence was unbounded, he filled a 
bottle with the miraculous water, and set out foi 
home. From the very first his heart was lighter. 
Prayer had consoled him, and he felt himself as if 
borne up by hope. Without stopping or resting, 
or perceiving the length of his journey, he returned 
to the village. 

The dying girl was in a state of complete prostra 
tion. She was almost insensible. This was a mo 
ment of intense anguish to the poor father. He ex- 



The Wonders of Lonrdes. 229 

pected a miracle ; lie thought that no human remedy 
could restore him his daughter. But a divine remedy 
was there. " Well," said lie softly, " here is the 
water, Marie ; have confidence in the Virgin of the 
grotto. I prayed a great deal to her." 

Marie made an effort to pray a little. Her father 
made her swallow a teaspoonful of the miraculous 
water, and put a bandage soaked with it on her fore 
head. . . . At that very instant the relief went 
through all her limbs ; her eye lit up ; she smiled. 
. . . Without any shock, the pain had left her ; 
she was restored to life. She sat up. " I am 
cured!" cried she. . . . "But," said her 
father, "have you no pain in jour head, your 
nerves?" . . . "Nothing! nothing more !" 
The happiness of the excellent father and of the 
whole family can be imagined. 

Soon after, Marie eat something. It was evening. 
Next day she got up. She was a little weak yet, 
but had not the least trace of pain, not the slightest 
twitching of the limbs. Her disease had been, as it 
were, swept away. 

* "This happened in the first days of October. 

rSix months after, no symptom of the violent <ii- 
which had been so nearly fatal, had reappear ;,!. 
The young girl has enjoyed the most cons! 
health, and has worked vigorously. She onl\ 
remembers having been on the verge of the grave 



230 The Wonders of Lour ties. 

to rejoice in the knowledge that Our Lady of 
Lourdcs brought her back from it. 

"The Blessed Virgin thus munificently rewarded 
the father s faith. As the venerable pastor of the 
parish has often since said to Marie Rousse, Thr 
Virgin of Lourdes saved you, my child ; but it was 
not on your account. You had nothing to do with 
it, I think, for you could not do much in your con 
dition. Marie, you owe it to your father s great 
faith to his prayers and tears." 



XLI. 

MIRACULOUS CURE OF PIERRE HANQUET, A MASTER- 
MASOK AT LIEGE. 

Notwithstanding my desire of not Avearying the 
reader by repetitions, I cannot refrain from relating 
here one last miracle of the Immaculate Virgin of 
Lourdes which was recently wrought in Belgium, 
and the fame of which has spread through all the 
Catholic provinces. 

Mr. Pierre Hanquet, a master-mason of LiepT, 
thus relates himself his marvellous cure : 

"Raising my hand to heaven, I swear to the 
truth of what I am about to say. 

" My illness dates back more than ten years, but 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. 23 * 

it was only in May, 18G2, that I felt the almost 
total loss of my strength. I was then a little more 
than forty-one years of age. I was obliged to ab- 
stain from all that might fatigue me, and especially 
from any movement of my arms. Several times I 
tried to resume my way of life, but it was impos 
sible. Hobbling on in this manner, I reached tin- 
end of that year, 18G2. I had consulted two phy 
sicians, but I must confess that it was with the 
resolution of not submitting to any regular treat 
ment. In truth, I hoped that the winter would 
put me on my feet again, as it had done before. 

" In the spring of the year 18C3, seeing that I 
was no better, I resolved to take the advice of Mr. 
Michotte, the eminent physician. lie declared that 
I had softening of the spinal marrow, and pre 
scribed rubbing three time s a day. 

"In the end of the December of that same year 
I grew worse, and I received Holy Communion for 
the first time in my room. I had entirely lost my 
appetite ; a little flour and milk once a day was my 
only nourishment for several weeks. 

" From the month of February, 18G4, till July, 
excepting a little tea or coffee, I took nothing, or 
almost nothing. Up to that time I could still li 
my bed and sit up for some time ; but after the nth 
of July, tins was impossible, 1 passed the next 
three months on my bed of pain, unable to turn 



232 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

either to the right or left. Only when the air was 
very clear, I succeeded in moving a little, but it was 
very rare. I must be permitted to state that what 
greatly aggravated my sad condition was the com 
plete cessation, for fifteen, twenty, and even thirty- 
six days, of a certain function absolutely necessary 
to life. 

" However, by some new prescriptions from 
Doctor Gilkinet, I obtained some relief, and I could 
take a little more nourishment. I even came at 
last to take a light meal each day. That kept me 
up, without, however, giving me strength to leave 
my bed. Life became insupportable to me. 

" It was in this interval that Doctor Termonia also 
attended me with a kindness for which I am still 
grateful. He made me, amongst others, a two long 
visits, at the end of which- he could not help telling 
me that I had a complication of diseases. I state 
this from all the symptoms, said he to me kindly. 
And before going, he told my relatives, as gently as 
possible, that his presence would henceforth be use 
less. 

" At the end of the first three years, which I spent 
in my bed, old hemorrhoidal tumors turned to fear 
ful abscesses. For five or six months these abscess.es 
continually succeeded each other, and forced me to 
remain 011 my side. I found in this, at least, the 
slight relief of not lying day and night on my back. 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 233 

"These abscesses gave place, in 1867, to erysipe- 
flas, which grew worse every day, and tormented 
me continually, especially at night. This new dis 
ease, together with consumption, made my body 
like a burning fire. Even in winter, I could not 
keep a quilt over my chest. And for six years my 
emaciated limbs, from which all the blood had 
gone, had to be constantly warmed, even in the 
middle of summer, by bottles of warm water. 

" For the last two years my back was bent like 
the hoop of a barrel. I could not be taken from the 
bed for more than five or six minutes, and only 
every ten, fifteen, or twenty days ; that is, when it 
was necessary to shake up the bed u little and 
change the clothes. 

" Frorii the month of February of that year 
18G9 the disease gained ground and grew worse 
every day ; my poor body was becoming putrid. 
Never an instant s rest, neither day nor night ! I 
at length understood that I was to give up my soul 
to GOD, and that was from that time the object 
of all my desires. Calculating by what remained 
of my strength, I was persuaded that the month of 
December would bring my release. My relatives, 
without my knowing it, were of the same opinion. 
Heaven had decided otherwise. 

" On the 15th of last October one of my brothers 
brought me to read the work recently published by 



234 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

Mr. Laserre " Our Lady of Lourdes." On that 
day I finished my Novena, the success of which 
seemed further away than ever. I was almost de 
spairing of being heard, when my brother, who knew 
nothing of my Novena, brought me that admirable 
book. 

* I immediately began to rend it, and every fibre 
of my being was stirred by it. Every time I 
read a few pages of it my eyes filled with tears. I 
would then cover my face to hide them. But it was 
impossible for me to conceal my emotion. When I 
came to the cures related in that volume, I heard 
three times an inward voice which said : You, too, 
shall be cured ! 

Some days after, my brother asked me if there 
were any means of procuring some of the water 
of Lourdes. Undoubtedly, answered I. In that 
case/ said he, we shall have some. And he at once 
wrote to Mr. Peyramale, the pastor of Lourdes. 

" The letter had scarcely gone when I felt a great 
doubt. Do you believe, said I to myself, that a 
mouthful of water and a simple lotion can cure your 
inveterate disease ? Do you expect that the Blessed 
Virgin is going to work a miracle for you ? But for 
what purpose ? Would it be for your family ? But 
can they not easily do without you ? However, all 
these thoughts left me at sight of the bottle of the 
water of Lourdes, which reached us on the 27th of 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. 235 

November. When it Was placed on my bed, I began 
to kiss it. It seems to speak to me/ said I. 

"About six o clock in the evening my brother 
came to ask me if the lotions would be applied that 
day. Yes, said I, ( but later, when all have retired, 
except my father, you, and I. My confidence was 
again shaken, and I was afraid that it was a mock 
ery. We were not alone and quiet until half-past 
ten that night. My brother then lit a blessed can 
dle, and said aloud the Litany of the Immaculate 
Virgin. 

" A little before, I had made in the secrecy of my 
heart an act of entire resignation to the will of GOD. 
Blessed Virgin, I said, I cannot pray much; but 
deign to ask for me of thy divine Son the grace 
which is best for me oithe? to die, or to suffer, or to 
be cured provided that it be for the greater glory 
of GOD, or for my greater good. Now comes tho 
trial. 

" My brother uncorked the bottle, and poured me 
- ut u erlass, which I drank at one mouthful. He took 
;, cloth, which he soaked in this miraculous water. 
Commence/ said I, at my neck, and batho tho 
spine and all the bones down to my feet/ Win :>. 
he reached the region of the heart, I lost speech, and 
began to utter groans of pain. I hud the rattle in 
the throat like a man in his ap>ny. My good 
brother hastened ami ivj.raird, as lie touched each 



236 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

limb, ( Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us ! But in 
the depth of his heart lie thought that my last 
hour was come, and that I would soon be a corpse. 

" He therefore hastened to put on my bandages 
again, and went to cover me, I threw aside the 
quilt, my pain was so acute. Just at that moment 
I put my foot on the ground ; then, still groaning, 
I put down my other foot. Holding on to the hed 
with both hands, I raised myself, groaning louder 
und louder, until I was standing 1 erect, In that 
solemn moment my brother left me for a moment 
to get a bottle of Cologne water ; but I made him a 
sign that I did not want it. Then my cries ceased. 

My old father, who, at the beginning, of the ope 
ration, had placed himself in a corner of the room 
to recite his Rosary, was before me, with, my 
brother, in ever-increasing astonishment. All at 
once, l Do you not see, cried I, that life is returning 
to me ? Why, yes/ answered my brother ; it is 
many years since I saw you so straight. 

" Some moments after, I walked across the room ; 
I went back to my bed ; I put on a coat, and went 
on walking. 

" My room seemed too small for me ; I walked 
through the next room. Oh ! I still remember the 
cries of joy that then escaped from my heart. t You 
see, said I, that the Blessed Virgin is all-powerful j 
you see that she must be loved and honored ; you 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. 237 

gee that the impious arc impostors, and other 
similar words. I was mad with jpv, 

" In the presence of such a miracle, said m} 
brother, we cannot remain here alone, And ho 
went to seek all the family. 

" I forgot to mention the time : it took about five 
minutes to apply the lotions. As for my cure, which 
followed immediately, I estimate that it took place 
in the space of a minute and a half. 

"My brother returned about eleven o clock with 
my two other brothers, Henri and Auguste, and my 
nephew Henri. My room was soon filled with rela 
tives and friends, 

" One of my brothers, perceiving a militia-gun, 
* Pierre/ said he to me, since this is the way with 
you, you must go through the exercises." And then 
three times they made me drill, which I did easily, 
and even, they say, with dexterity. 

" We stayed up till three o clock in the morning. 
Twice we knelt down to return thanks to GOD ami 
to the Immaculate Virgin. I drank a glass of wine 
and a small glass of liqueur, and I moreover 
smoked a delicious pipe, 

" I slept very little. At half -past seven I got up. 
The idea then occurred to me to go and play ghost 
to my sister-in-law and her children. For thi- T 
had to go up seventeen steps, which I did slowly. 
I went down by another stair, to awake my good >M 



23 8 The Wonders af 



father,- who was? nearly 80 years of age. He 
1 1 have since learned from a relative, had had the 
conviction that I would be miraculously cured, and 
that for a long time he had prayed every day to ob 
tain that grace for me. But at the moment when- 1 
woke him by knocking at the door he probably 
thought that he wag the sport of a dream, for ha 
took care not to Open it, even after having asked my 
name. He did not recognize my" voice. Life was 
really restored to me. 

Already every one- was* crowding to see me. The 
eld coat which I had wrapped round ma the evening 
"before had been for a long time- the only article in 
my wardrobe \ all the rest had been given ta the 
poor. My brothers and my nephew Were obliged ta 
lend me pantaloons, shoes, etc* 

" I stayed up? that first day till half-past seven in 
the even-Ing, Then., following the advice of my 
friends, I went to v feed, I still slept very little* 
At two o clock in the morning I got out of bed, 
because I was so hungry. Fortunately, there was 
plenty for me tcr eat. I waited till daylight, eating, 
reading, and especially praying ta the Blessed 
Virgin, 

" In the morning I made a good meat breakfast, 
and this did not prevent me from making three 
other meals before night. The people came more 
and more. Amongst others, I received the two 



The }\\mt1cr$ of Lonrdcs. 239 

doctors, Termonia und Davrcux. I retired tit eight 
o clock, and I slept perfectly well, 

"AM my troubles vanished in aft IfttfttJt/, like t.. 
dream* The stooping consumption, erysipelas, * 
swelling, and oilier afflictions of the body and of the 
mind, all had disappeared. I hardly knew myself. 

"On Tuesday I received even more visitors than 
on the two preceding days* We agreed that the 
whole family would receive communion next day 
in thanksgiving. On Wednesday, therefore, we all 
met my relatives, some friends, and myself in 
the Church of St. Denis, where I had the happiness 
of receiving my COD and of assisting for the first time 
in so long at the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice. 
An hour after wo returned home, I embraced my 
dear relatives, and wo all sat down to table full of 
gayety. 

"During the first eleven days I received, it is 
said, more than five hundred persons, to whom I 
had to relate and explain everything, even to the 
slightest details. 

" It is now fifteen days since my cure* I sleep 
seven or eight hours at u time ; my appetite is excel 
lent ; I would have to go back twenty years of my 
life to find my health us good as it is now. 

<s More than ever I will honor und love MARY, 
the Queen of heaven and earth. It is to please 
her and to pay her a slight tribute of gratitude 



240 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

that I send this account. May her name be ever 
.blessed ! 

" P. J. HA^QTJET. 

" LIEGE, BELGIUM (17 Cheravoie St.), 
" December 12, 1869." 

Here followed two very clear certificates from 
Doctors Termonia and Davreux, declaring, on the 
one hand, Mr. Hanq net s fearful and incurable 
state, and, on the other, the instantaneous, unheard- 
of, and, in a scientific point of view, wholly unac 
countable character of his complete and radical 
cure. 

Let us repeat, in concluding these accounts, 
miracles are multiplied without number at the 
sacred grotto of the Immaculate Conception ; and 
the miraculous water of Lourdes, sent every day to 
the most distant parts of France, and even further, 
is frequently the blessed messenger of cures and 
of supernatural favors due to the most holy, most 
powerful, most merciful, and most immaculate 
Virgin MARY. 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. 241 



XLIL 

WHAT IS TO BE INFERRED, BY FAITH, FROM ALL 
THESE WONDERS ? 

Before this glorious collection of miracles, heaped, 
BO to say, one on another, and the evidence of which 
is obvious to the most ignorant, let us rejoice that 
we are children of the holy Catholic Church, which 
GOD never ceases to visit, and to which he con 
tinues to give the pre-eminently divine testimony of 
miracles. In the beginning, miracles were the 
great proof of the truth of faith ; although they 
be now no longer necessary, miracles are none 
the less useful to our intelligence, and experience 
shows how powerfully they revive and console our 

faith. 

But if faith is divine and absolutely certain, let 
ns be consistent with ourselves ; let us practise it 
faithfully, energetically, cost what it may, without 
calculating. We have the truth, we possess the 
true light and the true life ; let us be Christians, let 
us be fervent. 

In the second place, as we have said before, let us 
conclude from all these wonders, not only the legi 
timacy, but also the excellence, of devotion to the 



242 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

Blessed Virgin* We live in a time of half -rational 
ism, when many Christians themselves are full 
of prejudice in regard to piety ; let us not be led 
away by this half -Protestantism, and, as true chil-* 
drer; of the Catholic Church, let us love, serve, and 
honor, with all our strength, the Blessed Virgin, 
Mother of GOD, and Queen of the elect. Provided 
that we do not adore her (for adoration, every 
one knows, is due to GOB alone) provided that we 
do not adore her, we are always below what we owe 
her. Tell me what Christian will love and honor 
the Blessed Virgin as much as her divine Son, our 
Lord, has loved and honored her ? 

In the third place, let us draw from the con 
templation of the wonders of Lourdes a renewal of 
the spirit of faith and an ardent devotion to the mys 
tery of the Immaculate Conception, This mystery 
is the precious pearl of our century, and the shield 
of the Church in the struggles of the latter times 
which are approaching. 

What, in truth, is the grace of the mystery of the 
Immaculate Conception, if it be not the grace of 
the total triumph of the Blessed Virgin over Satan ? 
She crushes his head, and, on that account, he can 
do nothing against her. From MARY this grace of 
innocence and of victory flows to the Church, in 
order that the Church may also totally triumph 
over the old serpent who, for six thousand years, 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. 243 

has seduced the world. Armed with the grace of 
the Immaculate Conception, assisted by her Queen, 
the Virgin MARY, conceived without sin, the Church 
will crush the serpent s head and triumph over 
Antichrist. All of us faithful Catholics, children 
of MARY, living members of Jesus, let us arm our 
selves with this same grace, let us walk in this light, 
and, following the beloved steps of the Immaculate, 
of the Virgin witKout stain, let us lead a life pure 
and innocent, strong in faith, faithful to the Eucha 
rist, fervent in prayer. 

The great miracle of Lourdes, unique in its kind, 
is, as it were, the heavenly crowning of the dogmatic 
definition of December 8, 1854 ; it seems to be the 
echo, the divine reflection, thereof. The Immacu 
late Virgin and Pius IX., the mystery of the Im 
maculate Conception and that of the Papal infalli 
bility, should not be separated either in our minds 
or in our hearts. 

Consoling evidence of Catholic faith and of tho 
^excellence of the devotion to, and love of, the Blessed 
Virgin ; fidelity to the sovereign grace of the mys 
tery of tho Immaculate Conception such, in the 
eyes of faith, are the three first conclusions which 
shine, like rays of light, from the marvels which the 
mercy of GOD has made manifest in these last years 
at the grotto of Lourdes. 



244 Tke Wonders of Lourdes. 



XLIII. 

WHAT THE HEAVENLY APPAKITIOH OF THE 
TEACHES OUR PIETY. 

Taken in a pious point of view, we can and 
should draw practical conclusions of the highest im 
portance from, the contemplation of Our Lady of 
Lourdes. 

Every time that she appeared to little Bernadette 
the Immaculate Virgin was under the same form, 
with the same garments, and in the same light ; in 
a word, with the same collection of mysterious 
details which are so many silent lessons for us. 

In the first place, she always appeared surrounded 
with light ; and this light was so pure, so splendid, 
so sweet, that the earth knew nothing like it. This 
is an emblem of the divine light of faith, in which 
we are plunged, so to say, by our baptism, which is 
nourished by the Holy Eucharist, and with which 
a true Christian should be ever penetrated and en 
veloped. Faith is the truth-light" the light of 
life" wherewith we ought to shine before the 
world. Yes, our faith should shine out in the 
holiness of our life, and that, I repeat, in all 
things and everywhere. Faith is the heavenly 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. 245 

air of the Christian. Wo should never go forth 
from it. The light of the apparition was calm and 
deep ; such also is tho Catholic faith, in which *o 
find rest for our souls. 

In her miraculous apparitions tho Virgin of 
Lourdes was beautiful so beautiful that Berna- 
dette s eyes could never find anything to bo com 
pared with her. The Blessed Virgin, our Mother, 
thereby teaches us that we should labor to acquire 
the true beauty, in order that heaven may regard us 
with pleasure. True beauty is not that which 
strikes the eyes of men, as true riches is not that 
which is shut up in strong coffers ; true beauty is 
the" beauty of the soul ; it is the beauty which GOD 
sees, which charms JESUS CHRIST, which attracts 
the regard of his Mother and of his angels. To be 
beautiful in the eyes of men does not depend on our 
selves ; but it depends on us, by uniting ourselves 
most intimately with Jesus by grace, to participate 
in what he is. Now, JESUS is infinite beauty ; and 
the beauty of the Blessed Virgin, of the angels, and 
of the blessed is only a reflection of his divine 
splendor. The more we resemble JESUS CHRIST, 
the more we shall clothe ourselves with him by 
holiness, tho more we shall be beautiful with his 
beauty, the only one which passes not away. The 
beautiful Virgin of Lourdes is, for our eyes, tho 
perfect model of that celestial beauty wherewith 



The Wonders of Lonrdes. 

she would see the interior of all her children re- 
- cplendent. 

The robe of the apparition was white, but a 
white so pure, Bo delicate, so splendid, that no 
precious stuff could ever approach it in brilliancy. 
The most pure Virgin thereby showed Bernadette 
and us all, in her person, with what perfect and deli 
cate purity our baptized souls should be clad before 
GOD, Sin soils our beautiful white robe ; the 
slightest venial sin, the least voluntary imperfection, 
tarnishes its lustre. Let us, then, avoid sin, and 
keep ourselves pure and immaculate, to resemble 
our heavenly Mother, Above all, let us keep with 
jealous care, with scrupulous vigilance, purity in 
its proper sense, most beautiful and most holy 
chastity. Chaste 1 in body, chaste in heart, chaste in 
looks, in words, thoughts, in his whole being such 
should be the true servant of JESUS and of MAEY. 

A long, white veil, as pure, as dazzling as the 
robe, entirely covered the apparition ; from the head, 
it fell from the shoulders to the feet. Was not 
this the image of that which enshrouds and pre* 
serves innocencemodesty ? Modesty is that array 
of precaution, vigilance, mortification, which, so to 
say, envelops and preserves purity. If we would 
remain chaste, let us be modest; and let "the 
modesty of CHRIST," as says St. Paul, "be the 
model and rule of our most trivial actions," 



The Wonders of Lourdes. 247 

Tho white robe of the apparition of tho grotto 
was as if fastened at the waist by a girdle of celes 
tial blue. Bernadetto said that the azure of 
sky itself was neither so blue nor so heavenly- an 
i,M:.go of what should be the heart of a Christian 
which desires to remain pure in the service of GOD. 
Now, it is prayer, interior recollection, and union 
with JESUS which in this world render us thus all 
heavenly. " If you wish, you can be a heaven for 
JESUS CHRIST," said St. Ambrose long ago. And 
St. Paul has said, in tho nam3 of all the faithful, 
"Our life is in heaven." Let us live in advance, 
by the aspirations of our soul, where we are all called 
to live eternally. 

Yet more, the girdle which confines the garm at, 
and yet leaves liberty in moving, is the emblem of 
what wo should be as regards our eternal salvation 
always ready to depart, detached from earth, 
mortified, temperate, free, and active in the way of 
ttie commandments of GOD. 

The Blessed Virgin appeared with her feet bare, 
uid on each of them shone a luminous rose. The 
bare feet of MARY teach us evangelical poverty- 
that beautiful and sublime virtue to which the 
Saviour has promised the kingdom of heaven. 
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall pos 
sess the kingdom of heaven." And what is tho 
spirit of poverty, if not sincere detachment from all 



248 The Wonders of Lourdes. 

earthly things, humility of mind and of heart, the 
simplicity which attaches itself to GOD alone, and 
p.vhich sacrifices to him unhesitatingly all that does 
not fully agree with his holy love ? 

There is nothing more edifying than this humil 
ity than this simplicity and poverty of mind ; like 
the roses in the apparition, they shed everywhere 
the sweet odor of JESUS CHRIST the divine per 
fume of the Gospel. 

Finally, the immaculate Virgin always had her 
hands joined in prayer, and held, either in her 
sacred hands or hanging from her wrist, the beau 
tiful white and gold Rosary which we have before 
described from Bernadette s account. 

By this Our Lady of Lourdes would remind us 
"that we must pray always and without ceasing"; 
that prayer should be to our soul what breath is to 
our body ; and that purity, fervor, holiness, are 
contained in that one word -prayer. 

The apparition did not recite the Rosary ; but 
^she presents it to us, in the first place, as an excel 
lent manner of efficacious prayer, then because the 
Rosary is the prayer of the simple, of the humble, 
and the poor. The good Virgin thus herself recom 
mended to us fidelity in reciting the Rosary. Has 
each of us a Rosary ? Do we carry it always with 
us ? Do we say it every day ? Do we say it with 
devotion and recollection ? 



The Wonders of Lourdcs. 249 

Such are the silent lessons which are taught us 
by the -Immaculate Conception of the grotto of 
Lourdcs. Let us not forget them. 

MARY usually kept her admirable eyes fixed on 
little Bcrnadette. That look of the Queen of heaven 
is fixed on each of us ; yes, MARY regards us, as 
JESUS regards us. . . . We must never do any 
thing to grieve those maternal eyes. 

sweet Virgin ! guard us amid the dangers of 
the present time. Guard the Pope, guard the 
Church, guard all thy children ! And grant that 
we may imitate theo so faithfully on earth that we 
may have the happiness of living and dying in the 
!ove of thy Son, our Lord and Saviour, JESUS 
CHRIST ! 

Glory bo in heaven and on earth to the IMMACU 
LATE CONCEPTION ! 



OUR LADY OF LOURDES, 

TRANSLATED PBOM THE FRENCH OF 



HE1STRI 

1 voL 12mo, 500 pp. 
CLOTH EXTRA, $2 ; CLOTH GILT, $2 50. 



A work honored with a special brief addressed to the author 
by his Holiness the Ppe, Pius IX. 

SEVENTH EDITION. 



" THIS work has been anxiously looked for in book form, 
and its appearance now is most welcome. Every one has 
heard of the apparitions of Our Lady to a poor peasant child 
some twelve years ago at Lourdes, in the Pyrenees ; every 
one has heard, too, of the wonderful effects that followed, 
and are still following, that latest visible manifestation of 
the powerful Mother of Christians to her poor earthly chil 
dren ; of the miraculous fountain that sprang up, as before at 
La Salette, in the Alps, with healing in its waters, to maifc 
the spot made holy by the visible presence of the great 
Queen; every one has heard, too, of the magnificent temple 
that has been erected on the wild and lonely place where 
these so memorable events took place, of the countless mir 
acles that have been performed there, and of the multitudei 



f pious pilgrims, of all classes in human society, who havt 
gone, and are still going, to honor Mary in her favored 
sanctuary, or to seek for blessings at her merciful hands. 
Amongst these was Henri Lasserre, the gifted and pious au 
thor of the charming book before us. He, too, had gone to 
ask a special favor of Her who is truly the comfort of the 
afflicted ; the favor was granted, and, in the fulness of his 
joy and gratitude, he made a vow to write the history of 
Our Lady of Lourdes that is to say, of the rise and progress 
of the devotion to Mary under that title. But he did not 
write his book lightly or hastily; he took due time to visit 
every spot, every person, connected with the wonderful 
events of which heaven had made him the chronicler. He 
took nothing at hearsay he travelled much and long, and 
examined everything for himself ; the result is before us hi 
a book that will delight every Catholic reader, and ought to 
open the eyes of those who wilfully walk in the darkness of 
ignorance concerning the Immaculate Mother of Our Lord, 
the gracious Lady of Lourdes. . , . , . The book in 
handsomely got up on fine paper, and in clear and legible 
type, which add much to the pleasure of reading it." 



"Within the last ten years the little town of Lourdes, in 
France, has become one of the most famous places of pil 
grimage in the world. Incessant processions of men, 
f women, and children are made thither from all parts of 
Prance. The faithful have begun already to erect there a 
church which is to cost two millions. In what manner 
this hitherto obscure place has suddenly risen to such a 
prominence is narrated in the present volume by one 



has spared no labor, and hesitated at no iimculty, In order 
that he might arrive at a thorough knowledge of the facts 
in the case. He has examined all the documents, spoken with 
all the witnesses, visited the places connected with the ap 
paritions of Our Lady of Lourdes, and is consequently per 
fectly qualified to write a true history of these most won 
derful occurrences. The whole character of the work is 
strictly historical, and yet it possesses all the interest of a 
romance. To strengthen the weak and to reanimate the 
discouraged in an age which denies the possibility of mira 
cles, God, in his infinite mercy, deigns to grant most signal 
evidences of the miraculous providence by which he leads 
through the ages the immortal spouse of his divine Son." 



From the Irish Citizen. 

"Among the mountains of the Higher Pyrenees, where 
the seven valleys of the Lavedan come together, each bring 
ing down its bright stream to form the Gave, stands the 
small town or village of Lourdes. Some twelve years ago 
few persons dwelling at a distance even knew of the exist 
ence of the village ; but now the town, with its rocks of 
Massabielle, forms the object of a vast and constant pilgrim 
procession ; the railroad line which serves that Pyrenean 
country has made a detour in its course to accommodate 
the multitudes ; strangers of every European nation and of 
many parts of America are to be found thronging the vil 
lages and the country round, all making pilgrimage to th 
spot where the Blessed Virgin is said to have appeared daily 
to the innocent little girl, Bernadette. All the miraculous 
Incidents connected with that place of pilgrimage havo 
taken place since 1858 celestial apparitions, miraculous 
cures and conversions and now a magnificent church 



crowns the rock, the grotto where the child was spoken to 
by her unearthly visitant is enclosed and rendered more 
accessible, with its healing spring ; and on the arrival of a 
train, especially in summer, processions are formed in the 
cctart of the railway station girls in white, old men, ma 
trons with children in their arms and they move in solemn 
march, with banners and chanting, to the scene of the mira 
cle. And this in the latter half of the nineteenth century ! 
Yes, even so ; and better might it be for the said century if 
these things did not seem to it so incredible and grotesque. 
It believes in Lottie Fowler, the clairvoyant, or in some 
seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, and finds nothing 
revolting in their visions and miracles ! Be this as it may, 
the full and circumstantial narrative of the favored child 
hood of Bernadette, with the testimony of such as have 
vouched for cures and the like, is surely worth considering. 
Independently of the visions and wonderful cures, which 
every reader is welcome to believe or disbelieve, the book is 
curiously interesting for its picture of the life and ways of 
the simple people of those French valleys, into which, we 
trust, King William s Goths will never penetrate." 



From the Rochester Union. 

" Another of those absorbing books, descriptive of the life 
of a remarkable personage, and of marvellous events con 
nected therewith, so well calculated to inspire reverence 
and awaken awe in the hearts of true Catholics and friends of 
the Church, has just been published by D. & J. Sadlier, 
New York. The title is * Our Lady of Lourdes. " The author, 
Henri Lasserre, received, on the presentation of the com 
pleted work, a brief from Pope Pius IX., conveying hii 
apostolic benediction. A translation of this document, to 



getbcr with the original in Latin, immediately precedes the 
preface. The remarkable personage referred to as described 
in this work is Bernadette Soubirous (now Sister Marie- 
Bernard), to whom, it is piously believed, appeared the ap 
parition of the Virgin Mary in February, 1858, in the Grotto 
of Massabielle, near the town of Lourdes, France. The 
author relates all the circumstances and evidences which 
go to substantiate this belief, and altogether weaves his 
data into a tale which is intensely interesting, whether fact 
or fiction. I he experiences of this innocent and illiterate 
country girl form one of the most remarkable chapters of 
modern miracles connected with the Church. The volume 
is a 12mo of nearly five hundred pages, clearly printed and 
well bound. 

" Another work just issued by the same publishing house 
is The Black Prophet : A Tale of Irish Famine," by William 
Carleton, author of half a score of Irish stories. The au 
thor s numberless admirers do not need to be told what the 
present book is. They will not be disappointed in their ex 
pectations of finding one of the most pleasing tales in the 
whole range of Irish literature. It is a book of nearly six 
hundred pages, and is brought out in substantial shape." 

Frwn the Daily World. 

"This is a narrative of a miraculous appearance of the 
Immaculate Virgin to a little peasant girl of the Hautes- 
Pyrenees. It may be safely -stated that one-half the Chris 
tian world will disbelieve this fact, and that the other half 
will believe it with equal firmness on evidence given in this 
work. It will not be easy for any one who approaches thi* 
book with even moderate scepticism to believe that th* 
Apparition was not an hallucination ; but there will be 



difficulty almost equal in supposing that all the witnesses to 
the facts narrated are deceivers or deceived. The narrator, 
M. Lasserre, goes so far as to aver that he himself was com 
pletely cured of almost total blindness by the waters of the 
miraculous fountain which sprang from the Grotto of the 
Apparition. To discuss the question would of course open 
up the whole controversy of the supernatural, so that it ia 
better to refer the reader who desires the evidence of the 
affirmative side of the case to this book. Whatever his con 
clusion whether to accept with the Catholic, or reject with 
the non-Catholic he will find M. Lasserre s work thought 
ful, graphic, and conscientious." 



D. &. J. SADLIER & CO., Publishers, 

31 Barclay Street, New York. 

Sent post-paid to any address on receipt of the price