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The apparitions of the Virgin to Bernadette

Bernadette Soubirous goes regularly to catechism but knows the Lord's Prayer and the Hail Mary by heart since a long time for she is used to pray together with her family.

Summary of th 18 apparitions

On this 11th of February 1858, she goes with her sister Toinette and a friend at Massabielle (old stone in Bigourdan, the local dialect), to gather firewood. There, in a hole in the rock, the "beautiful lady" appears to her. When she comes back home, she talks about it to her parents who advise her not to tell anybody about it: they have enough trouble at the moment...

She goes back to Massabielle on the 14th of February, and there again, the Lady appears to her. She kneels, takes her rosary and prays. Her face is radiant.

On Thursday the 18th of February, the third apparition takes place. The Lady talks to her for the first time: "Would you be kind enough to come and see me here during 15 days?" Then she added "I do not promise to make you happy in this world but in the other".

The rumours start on and Bernadette is followed and hunted down by people who heard about the apparitions, and want to offer her money to talk to her. She will never accept a dime.

Friday, 19th of February, 4th apparition

Saturday, 20th of February, 5th apparition

Sunday, 21st of February, 6th apparition

Monday, 22nd of February, no apparition

Tuesday, 23rd of February, 7th apparition

Wednesday, 24th of February, 8th apparition during which the Lady talks again: "Penance, penance, penance. You shall pray God for the sinners. Please kiss the ground for the conversion of the sinners."

It is during the 9th apparition, on Thursday, the 25th of February that the Lady says: "Go drink to the fountain and wash" and added "You shall drink of the water of the spring, wash in it and eat the herb that grew there". Bernadette digs a hole in the grass, at the place she was standing. The source will spring out from this hole.

Friday, 26th of February, no apparition

Saturday, 27th of February, 10th apparition during which the same words as on the 24th of February are pronounced.

Sunday, 28th of February, 11th apparition: the same words are pronounced.

Monday, 1st of March, 12th apparition

Tuesday, 2nd of March, 13th apparition: the Lady says: "Please go to the priest and tell him that a chapel is to be built here." Bernadette goes to see the priest Peyramale to tell him what the Lady asked for. She will never say "the Virgin" but always "the Lady" or "aquero" ("that" in Bigourdan dialect). Peyramale becomes angry and asks her to leave. On the same evening, she comes again to see the priest who will take time to listen to her. He says he needs evidence and that she must ask the Lady to say her name.

Wednesday, 3rd of March: 14th apparition and a repeated request of the Lady for a chapel.

Thursday, 4th of March: 15th apparition with no request and last day of the fortnight.

The city's authorities block the access to the grotto. Bernadette will be interviewed several times by the police but she will never come back on her initial statement. People want her to say she saw the Virgin Mary, but she will continue to call her "the Lady" or "aquero".

On Thursday, the 25th of March, she will be able to go back to the grotto. There, she will have a 16th apparition. Bernadette asks the Lady what her name is. The Lady answers "Que soy era l'immaculada Concepciou" ("I am the Immaculate Conception"). Bernadette doesn't understand these words. She goes to the priest to repeat what the Lady said, and as not to forget them, she repeats the words during the whole way back. The priest Peyramale is convinced Bernadette is not able to have made it up: the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is at that time a recent dogma in the Catholic religion. Bernadette couldn't have thus understood what it meant. Bernadette, as usual, tells what she's seen and heard. On the way back, she says: "I am happy; I did what I had to do".

After being threatened to be put in jail, after the 17th apparition on Wednesday the 7th of April, during which a judge came to assist, the flame of the candle Bernadette was holding started touching her hand without burning her. A doctor, also present, Doctor Douzous, will confirm the facts. This episode is called the Candle Miracle.

The 18th and last apparition took place on Friday, the 16th of July and no words were pronounced.

The Virgin Mary's message to Bernadette can be summed up by "Prayer and penance".

Read the next article: Bernadette's religious life in Nevers
Read the previous article: The youth of Bernadette Soubirous