On his day, 11 Feb 1858, the Blessed Virgin made her first appearance to Bernadette in the grotto at Lourdes. Six weeks later, Our Lady would confirm to Bernadette that she was the Immaculate Conception, a fact that had been Dogmatically defined barely three years prior (8 Dec 1854 HERE).
Ah, sweet Bernadette. She was but 14 years old.
Yet chosen by God to receive this miraculous message and teach it to the world.
Most of the depictions, paintings, statues of this miracle are wrong. The picture I posted above is all wrong. Bernadette was so poor, her family lived in a one-room windowless cellar with a dirt floor. Her first encounter with Our Lady was during a hunt for firewood, trudging through mud, so she would have been wearing not just rags, which is all she owned, but the worst rags she had.
The other illusory image is that of the Blessed Virgin. She actually appeared as a 14 year old, same age as Bernadette, and even shorter than Bernadette’s diminutive 4’7″… which was caused by malnutrition. Mary was appearing at the age when she herself conceived… which aligns with her pronouncement of her own Immaculate Conception on the Feast of the Annunciation, Christ’s conception, which took place at the grotto on 25 March 1858.
When these depictions began appearing even within her own lifetime, especially the statuary, Bernadette was very upset with their inaccuracy. She also despised her celebrity, and once she entered the convent, wanted only to pray and offer penances. She was chronically sick. Mary had promised her suffering in this life, but happiness in the next. Suffering is a tool to attain holiness, and Mary was no stranger to suffering in her own lifetime. These things are meant as examples for us. Bernadette died 16 April 1879, and was raised to the altars on 8 December 1933. Her famous quote, upon reflecting on her own fate while in this world:
“What do you do with a broom when it is done being used? You put it behind a door; and that is what the Virgin has done with me.”
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.
“O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor?” Romans 11:33-34
4 thoughts on “Our Lady of Lourdes, Saint Bernadette, and God’s inscrutable ways”
The post-apparition behavior of St. Bernadette is very much similar to Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia of Fatima. Big, big contrast to the so-called “seers” of Medjugorje who can’t get enough of the camera, $peaking appearances and real estate in Medjugorje proper that they can rent out to pilgrims deceived into going there.
Not just women, but what were St. Peter’s “credentials”?
Actually, the best creds one can have: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” He had faith. Sadly lacking among the hierarchy.
Beautiful Mark. I had the pleasure of attending a TLM and veneration of a relic of St. Bernadette’s at Assumption Grotto in Detroit today.
When the Blessed Virgin appears, She arranges the smallest details, but human tardiness brings everything to calls for more prayers and rosaries. First of all, it should be noted that Bernadette imitates the action of the Lady in everything: starting from the first sign of the cross – she could do so only after Her. The people gathered in front of the cave looking at Bernadette actually watched the actions of the Holy Virgin. Of course, you can write entire books about it; for example I will stop briefly on February 25 apparition. Bernadetta with her hands digs the ground in a cave, which in the summer season served as an inclosure for pigs, not for sheep. Smeared with mud and eating grass, she accompanied … King Nebuchadnezzar, who went insane because of his pride. Why did the Holy Virgin organize this show? Because of a certain prodigal son of our Mother Holy Church, who will be called to fulfill the role of the promised second Comforter and master of all inhabited world, the great monarch of the end times. After cleansing of dirt (sin), he will be a source of cleansing and healing water for people who are still stuck in the mud of only worldly aspirations. And the Massabielle’ grotto itself? After all, it is a porphyry chamber due to the birth of a porphyrogenet, and therefore the Madonna’s apparitions began the day after the vow of King Louis XIII, made 220 years earlier (February 10, 1638) in anticipation of the birth of the Sun King, and on the commemoration day of Saint Theodora the Empress (+11 II 867) which put an end to iconoclasm and instituted the feast of Orthodoxy (First Sunday of Lent). Theodora = God’s Gift, Louis XIV ‘Dieudonne’ – ‘God’s Gift’, etc, etc … In conclusion: the Blessed Virgin, as the Heavenly Empress, announced in Lourdes that She would give the world the real Sun King, the Fire promised by Jesus Christ himself. Because the apparitions took place in the Second Empire (French), so it will be the second king of kings, i.e. emperor.