As our blessed Lady cooperated with Jesus in our redemption by the martyrdom of her heart, so she does not cease to interpose her powerful intercession before the throne of God, to obtain the salvation of her devoted servants. Among all the shrines of the world from which she bestows her graces, there is none that surpasses Lourdes in splendor and celebrity. It is there especially that Mary shows herself to be truly our heavenly Mediatrix.
On the eleventh of February, 1858, toward noon, a poor but pious girl, of the name of Bernadette Soubirous, went to gather faggots on the banks of the river Gave. She was coming to the foot of the mountain, when suddenly she beheld standing before her a Lady of incomparable beauty. The Lady’s hands were devoutly joined and through them were passing the beads of a Rosary as if she were reciting it. This was the first of those apparitions which continued until Easter Monday, the fifth of April, in presence of a large concourse of people.
Bernardette, on these occasions, would begin by reciting the Rosary and our blessed Lady, as if attracted by this prayer, did not tarry in showing herself to her chosen servant.
Thus the Queen of Heaven deigned to make known to the world the treasures of her maternal goodness by means of this pious maid. She had chosen Bernardette as the instrument of wonderful happenings and as her messenger to the Christian people. On Wednesday, the twenty-fourth of February of that same year, more than twenty thousand people were assembled on the banks of the river Gave, to witness, not the apparition of Our Lady, for to Bernardette alone was the vision granted, but the spectacle of the transfiguration of the face of this simple and pious maid during her ecstasy. Indeed, the multitude could see the reflection of Our Lady in the resplendent face of Bernardette in the same way as we see the reflection of the sun on the mountain top, when the sun itself is hidden behind the rocky heights.
On one occasion Bernardette was commanded by Our Lady to turn up the dry soil with her hands, and at once there gushed forth a small spring which later grew into a limpid stream, and which, from that time, has ever continued to flow abundantly. The water from this spring, carried into different parts of the world, has wrought many marvelous cures.
We see from this how Mary, the Mother of Mercy, has designed, especially in these later times, to come to the aid of her servants. Happy are they who place their whole trust in her, for they will not be deceived.
Text from Alexis M. Lepicier, The Fairest Flower of Paradise (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1922).