Friday, February 22, 2008

The Apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes

The 3rd appearance (18 February):

The Apparition did not speak until the third appearance, and therefore its identity was a matter of considerable speculation. Jeanne-Marie Milhet and Antionette Peyret, fellow villagers, on hearing Bernadette's description of the apparition, considered it may have been a revenant, a soul returning from purgatory. This belief—that souls in Purgatory can materialize and thus appear to the living, although out of step with Catholic doctrine, was very popular and deeply routed in Pyrenean folk piety of the time. Revenants frequently it was believed, manifested themselves to young children. The previous October, the head of the local chapter of the Children of Mary, a woman named Elisa Latapie, had died. Revenants rarely spoke, but communicated their messages in writing, and so Milhet and Peyrey furnished Bernadette with paper, a pen and an inkpot to take with her, in case the apparition should make use of them.

"The third time was the following Thursday. The Lady only spoke to me the third time. I went to the grotto with a few matured people, who advised me to take paper and ink, and to ask her, if she had anything to say to me, to have the goodness to put it on paper. I said these words to the Lady. She smiled and said that it was not necessary for her to write what she had to say to me, but asked if I would do her the favor of coming for a fortnight. I told her that I would. She told me also that she did not promise to make me happy in this world, but in the next."

Although she spoke in Occitan, the regional language which Bernadette (whose French was poor) used, the apparition used remarkably formal language in her request: "Would you have the goodness to come here for fifteen days?" (in Occitan: "Boulet aoue ra gracia de bié aci penden quinze dias?"; in French:"Voulez-vous me faire la grâce de venir ici pendant quinze jours?") The significance of this politeness was not lost on the observers. It would be very unusual for anyone to adopt this formal form of address when speaking to a penniless, working-class peasant girl such as Bernadette.

The 4th appearance (19 February):

Armed with a lighted candle for protection, Bernadette came to the grotto. This originated the custom of carrying lighted candles to the grotto. Eight people were present including Bernadette's mother and two of her aunts, one of whom, Aunt Bernarde, was her godmother and the most influential member of her mother's family.[7] Bernadette reported that the lady asked her to leave her candle there. She said "It belongs to my aunt, I'll have to ask her; but if she agrees, I will."

The 5th appearance (20 February) :

Thirty people were present. Bernadette reported later that the lady had taught her a prayer, which she said every day of her life, but never wrote down or repeated to anyone. By this time, the news was spreading to other towns, and many people assumed that Bernadette's lady was the Virgin Mary, although Bernadette herself seemed content not to try to establish her identity.

The 6th appearance (21 February):

Over 100 people were present, and Bernadette was afterwards interrogated by Dominique Jacomet, the Police Commissioner. Her father, François Soubirous, eventually assured the commissioner that the affair would cease.

The 7th appearance (23 February):

About 150 people were present. Jean-Baptiste Estrade (a tax inspector), Duffo (a court official), and the officers from the garrison were present. Bernadette said later that the lady had told her a secret, which was for her alone, and was never revealed to anyone.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Second Apparition of B.V.M. at Lourdes February 14th 1858

Our Lady of Lourdes

"O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely."
___Canticle of Canticles 2:xiv

"The second time was the following Sunday. I went back because I felt myself interiorly impelled. My mother had forbidden me to go. After High Mass, the two other girls and myself went to ask my mother again. She did not want to let us go, she said that she was afraid that I should fall in the water; she was afraid that I would not be back for Vespers. I promised that I would. Then she gave me permission to go.

"I went to the Parish Church to get a little bottle of holy water, to throw over the Vision, if I were to see her at the grotto. When we arrived, we all took our rosaries and we knelt down to say them. I had hardly finished the first decade when I saw the same Lady. Then I started to throw holy water in her direction, and at the same time I said that if she came from God she was to stay, but if not, she must go. She started to smile, and bowed; and the more I sprinkled her with holy water, the more she smiled and bowed her head and the more I saw her make signs. Then I was seized with fright and I hurried to sprinkle her with holy water until the bottle was empty. Then I went on saying my rosary. When I had finished it she disappeared and we came back to Vespers. This was the second time."

Troubled by the notion that the apparition might represent an evil spirit, Bernadette used the holy water as a test. A further reassuring sign was the apparition's beautiful bare feet: demonic apparitions (even while in human form) were believed to have cloven hooves or animal paws.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The First Apparition of B.V.M. at Lourdes February 11th 1858

Our Lady of Lourdes

"columba mea, in foraminibus petræ, in caverna maceriæ,
ostende mihi faciem tuam,
sonet vox tua in auribus meis:
vox enim tua dulcis, et facies tua decora."
___Canticle of Canticles 2:xiv

"The first time I went to the Grotto, was Thursday, February 11, 1858. I went to gather firewood with two other little girls (Toinette, her sister, and their school friend Jeanne Abadie). When we got to the mill (of Savy), I asked the other two if they would like to see where the water of the mill joins the Gave. They said 'Yes.' From there we followed the canal. When we arrived there (at the foot of the rock of Massabielle) we found ourselves before a grotto. As they could go no further, my two companions prepared to cross the water lying before their path; so I found myself alone on the other side. They crossed the water; they started to cry. I asked them why and they told me that the water was cold. I begged them to help me throw a few rocks into the water so that I could cross without taking my stockings off. They replied that I could do as they had done. Then I went a bit further to see if I could cross without taking my stockings off, but without success. "I came back towards the grotto and started taking off my stockings. I had hardly taken off the first stocking when I heard a sound like a gust of wind. Then I turned my head towards the meadow. I saw the trees quite still: I went on taking off my stockings. I heard the same sound again. As I raised my head to look at the grotto, I saw a lady dressed in white, wearing a white dress, a blue girdle and a yellow rose on each foot, the same color as the chain of her rosary; the beads of the rosary were white.

"The Lady made a sign for me to approach; but I was seized with fear, and I did not dare, thinking that I was faced with an illusion. I rubbed my eyes, but in vain. I looked again, and I could still see the same Lady. Then I put my hand into my pocket, and took my rosary. I wanted to make the sign of the cross, but in vain; I could not raise my hand to my forehead, it kept on dropping. Then a violent impression took hold of me more strongly, but I did not go.

"The Lady took the rosary that she held in her hands and she made the sign of the cross. Then I commenced not to be afraid. I took my rosary again; I was able to make the sign of the cross; from that moment I felt perfectly undisturbed in mind. I knelt down and said my rosary, seeing this Lady always before my eyes. The Vision slipped the beads of her rosary between her fingers, but she did not move her lips. When I had said my rosary the Lady made a sign for me to approach, but I did not dare. I stayed in the same place. Then, all of a sudden, she disappeared. I started to remove the other stocking to cross the shallow water near the grotto so as to join my companions. And we went away. As we returned, I asked my companions if they had seen anything. 'No,' they replied. 'And what about you? Did you see anything?' 'Oh, no, if you have seen nothing, neither have I.'

"I thought I had been mistaken. But as we went, all the way, they kept asking me what I had seen. I did not want to tell them. Seeing that they kept on asking I decided to tell them, on condition that they would tell nobody. They promised not to tell. They said that I must never go there again, nor would they, thinking that it was someone who would harm us. I said no. As soon as they arrived home they hastened to say that I had seen a Lady dressed in white. That was the first time."

On realising that she alone had seen the apparition, and not her companions, she asked her sister Toinette not to tell anyone what had happened. Toinette, however, was unable to keep silent, and told their mother, Louise Soubirous. Both girls received a beating, and Bernadette was forbidden by her mother from returning to the Grotto again.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Fra Andrew Bertie, R.I.P

His Most Eminent Highness

Fra Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie,

Prince and
78th Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of
St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta,
Most Humble Guardian of the Poor of Jesus Christ

May 15, 1929
February 7, 2008

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Note of the Secretariat of State

In reference to the dispositions contained in the Motu proprio «Summorum Pontificum», of July 7, 2007, on the possibility of using the last edition of the Roman Missal prior to the Vatican II Council, published in 1962 with the authority of Blessed John XXIII, the Holy Father Benedict XVI has ordered that the Oremus et pro Iudaeis of the Liturgy of Good Friday in the aforesaid Roman Missal be replaced with the following text:

Oremus et pro Iudaeis. Ut Deus et Dominus noster illuminet corda eorum, ut agnoscant Iesum Christum salvatorem omnium hominum.


Flectamus genua.


Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui vis ut omnes homines salvi fiant et ad agnitionem veritatis veniant, concede propitius, ut plenitudine gentium in Ecclesiam Tuam intrante omnis Israel salvus fiat. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Unofficial English Translation:

Let us pray, and also for the Jews.

May our God and Lord enlighten their hearts, so that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ, saviour of all men.

Let us pray.

Let us kneel.


Almighty and everlasting God, who wills that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of truth, mercifully grant that, as the fullness of the Gentiles enters into Thy Church, all Israel may be saved. Through Christ Our Lord.