Sunday 14 February 1858
From that day forward, little Bernadette could think of only one thing - the beautiful Lady she had seen. Her normally fun-loving nature had become grave and serious.
Louise continued to tell her daughter that she had to be mistaken - Bernadette did not argue, but she could not believe that she had been the prey of an illusion. Even her mothers warning that this may have been a trick of the devil seemed impossible - how could Satan carry a Rosary and pray the Gloria?
On the Friday and the Saturday, Bernadette intimated her desire to return to Massabieille - her mother ignored her pleas. On Sunday, Bernadette heard within her soul a summons, calling her once more to a meeting with the beautiful Lady of the rock.
She told Marie of this, who in turn mentioned it to Madame Soubirous, who again refused permission. Jeanne Abadie then pleaded the cause. Finally, Louise relented and gave permission - after all, if this was an illusion, it would prove itself to be so.
Bernadette had told no-one outside the family what had occurred on Thursday. Marie, on the other hand, had not been so reserved. Several of the local young girls knew the secret. These girls were then summoned by Marie to come to Massabieille.
Bernadette armed herself with a small phial of Holy Water and left for the Grotto. As soon as she arrived at the grotto, she fell to her knees opposite the niche, and began to pray. Almost immediately, she exclaimed - "There She is! There She is!"
One of the girls present told Bernadette to throw Holy Water on the Lady, in case it really was Satan. Bernadette did as requested. "She is not angry", she related, "On the contrary, She sanctions it with Her head and is smiling at all of us". The girls knelt around their little companion and began to pray.
Bernadette then fell into ecstasy; her face completely transfigured and radiating happiness. Her expression was indescribable.
Just then a stone fell from the top of the Grotto, causing alarm among the girls. It was Jeanne - having been left behind, this was her revenge. Bernadette showed no reaction. The girls called to her, but she was unaware of their presence, her eyes remaining fixed on the niche. Thinking she was dead, the other girls began to cry out; their cries were heard by two of the Nicolau women from the Savy mill, who ran to the Grotto; seeing the ecstatic Bernadette, they called to her, attempted to move her, covered her eyes - all to no avail. Madame Nicolau then ran to get her son, Antoine, a young man of twenty eight years. Believing this to be some kind of joke, he came to the Grotto and could not believe the sight he found there.
He said later - "Never had I seen a more marvellous sight. It was useless for me to argue with myself - I felt I was not worthy to touch the child".
Urged by his mother, Antoine gently pulled Bernadette away from the Grotto, leading her toward the Savy mill. All the way there, Bernadettes eyes remained fixed a little in front and above of her. It was only upon her arrival at the mill that she once more returned to earth, her ecstatic expression gradually disappearing and her face becoming once more that of the simple millers daughter.
The Nicolaus then asked Bernadette what she had seen and she related what had occurred at the Grotto; again she had prayed the Rosary accompanied by the Lady, who moved Her lips only at each Gloria, and who had again disappeared at the conclusion of the prayers.
By now, Louise Soubirous had been summoned to the Savy Mill. She was crying, thinking her little child was dead. She was angered to find Bernadette sitting telling her story; "So, you want to make us a laughing stock! I'll give it to you with you hypocritical airs and graces and stories of the Lady!".
She was prevented from striking the child by Madame Nicolau, who cried - "What are you doing? What has your child done to be treated like this? It is an angel, and an angel from Heaven that you have in her - do you hear? I shall never, never forget what she was at the Grotto!"
Madame Soubirous burst into tears once more, worn out with emotion and frustration. She then led the young girl home. On the way, Bernadette occasionally glanced behind her.
Chinese New Year
8 years ago