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.
WONDEKS OF LOURDES.
Cranslatett from tfje jFrencfc
Mas. DE SEOTTB
ANNA T. SADLIER.
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
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,
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
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
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
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Ex-Voto, ......... 18
A Word on Pilgrimages and Shrines, , * 15
The favored Grotto of Lourdes, ..... 19
Little Bernadette, 21
Thursday, February 11, 1858, . .... 25
The First Apparition, ... 25
The Second Apparition, . . . ". 38
The Third Apparition and the first Words of the
Blessed Virgin, 81
The first three Days of the Miraculous Fortnight, . 86
Contradictions and Persecutions endured by poor lit
tle Bernadette, 89
The fifth Day of the Fortnight, ..... 45
Bernadette at the Feet of the Blessed Virgin, . . 47
The heavenly Beauties of the Vision, ... 63
Apparition of Tuesday, February 23. First Secret,
and demand for a Shrine, . . 56
Apparition of Wednesday, February 24 Second
Secret, and exhortation to penance, ... 60
Apparition of Thursday, February 25. Third Secret,
and the miraculous Fountain, .... 06
Friday, February 28. The first miraculous Cure, . 70
Apparitions of the last Days of the Fortnight, . . 74
Marvellous close of the Fortnight Resuscitation of
little Justin, . . . . *. . 79
Ridiculous Efforts of the Police Force to put down
Fanaticism and Superstition, .... 87
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
Eighteenth and last Apparition of the Blessed Virgin
to Beraadette. 108
Bernadette since the Apparitions, . . 110
The Episcopal Decision, and the Canonical Institu
tion of the Pilgrimage, ..... 117
The Miracles of Our Lady of Lourdes, . 124
Sudden cure of a Protestant Free-thinker, . 128
Little Pierre Estournet s Eyes, ..... 181
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, . . .
Cure of a Mother of a Family afflicted with Cancer in
the Tongue, . . . . .* . 178
Sudden cure of a little School-Girl threatened with loss
of Bight, . . . .M5
Cure of a Switch-Tender, related by himself, . 187
Instantaneous cure of a young consumptive Peasant
Girl, ......... 1 W
Touching cures of Children lately worked by the
miraculous Water of Lourdes, ... 201
A Workman of sixty suddenly cured of Varicose
^ Swellings, declared incurable ..... 213
The Seminarian of Li6ge, . .
Instantaneous and radical cure of a young Village-Girl
dying in Convulsions, ....
Miraculous cure of Pierre Hanquet, Master-mason at
kfege, . 23C
What Inference does Faith draw from all these Mar
What the Heavenly Apparition of the Grotto teaches
our Piety, . . . . 944
THE WONDERS OF LOURDES.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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 \
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
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
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
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.
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
* Wooden shoes.
The Wonders of Lourdes. 2$
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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,
" 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
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.
THE FIES1 THREE DAYS OF THE TWO MIRACULOUi
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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-
" 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Whilst still kneeling, Bernadette seemed as if
drawn upwards by some invisible and mysterious
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 }
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26TH THE FIRST MIRACULOUS
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
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
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
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
Everything went on in the most orderly manner.
People drank at the fountain; sang hymns, and
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
"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
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.
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
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
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
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
" 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
IHE APPARITION OP MARCH 25TII "l AM THE IMMA
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
gS The Wonders of Lotcrdes.
MARY was about to come, had been silent ince
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
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
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
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."
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
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
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
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
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
" 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
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."
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
"Not always, Madame; but I need so little 1 "
The generous lady was obliged to take back her
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,
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
" 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
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
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
"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
" 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
" 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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?"
" Well then, doctor, it was not your prescription
t 1 1 cured him. I must confess that I put it in the
" 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The Wonders of Lourdes. 14$
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
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
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-
" 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
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
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
" 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
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
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
"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
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
"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
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.
INSTANTANEOUS CURE OF A YOUNG WORKING-GIRL IN
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
170 The Wonders of Lourdes.
nusky breath. His tongue was suddenly gathered
up in his mouth. Poor child! already paralyzed, he
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
"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
"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
"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
INSTANTANEOUS CURE OF A CONSUMPTIVE PEASANT
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
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
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
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
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
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
" 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
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
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
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
"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
"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
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
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
" 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
" 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
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
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
" 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.
A WORKMAN SIXTY YEARS OLD SUDDENLY CURED
OF ULCERS AND VARICOSE BORES DECLARED IN
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*,
"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
"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
"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
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 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
" 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
"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
" 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
"At LAVAUR, September 5, 1871.
" 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
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
" 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-
"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
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
" LAVAUR, September 4, 1871.
" CKI.LIKUKS, Suit-Prefect."
222 T/ic Wonders of Lourdes.
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
" 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
" 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*
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
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
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."
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
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
" 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
" 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
* 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
"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
" 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
" 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
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
The Wonders of Lourdcs. 241
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
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.
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
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-
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
Glory bo in heaven and on earth to the IMMACU
LATE CONCEPTION !
OUR LADY OF LOURDES,
TRANSLATED PBOM THE FRENCH OF
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.
" 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
" 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