St. Bernadette was a girl from a poor family and was the oldest of nine children. She was from the small town of Lourdes, France. On February 11, 1858 Bernadette and one of her sisters went to collect firewood. Bernadette came across a grotto, or small cave. To prepare for her search, she decided to remove her stockings.
As she removed the first one, she heard a gust of wind. She looked toward the meadow and the trees and bushes were still. When she removed her second stocking, she heard another gust of wind. This time, when she looked, she saw a “lady dressed in white, wearing a white
dress, a blue girdle and a yellow rose on each foot.”
This lady in white, later revealed as Mary, held a rosary. The chain was the same color of the yellow roses and the beads were white. St. Bernadette was so moved, that she knelt and began to pray the rosary. When St. Bernadette and her sister left, she told her sister not to say anything about what happened, however word got out.
A few days later, on February 14, St. Bernadette returned. This time she brought holy water with her. This was to test the vision she was having to determine if it was from a holy or evil origin. When she sprinkled the holy water, the woman in white smiled and bowed. St. Bernadette knew this was a holy vision.
For the third visit, St. Bernadette returned on February 18. This is when Mary told her that she was not there to make her happy in this world, but in the next.
After this St. Bernadette’s parents told her not to return, however she went anyway on February 24. Mary’s message asked her to offer prayer and penitence in reparation of sinners. The following day Mary asked her to dig in the ground and drink from the spring that begins. This became the famous stream where visitors would experience healing miracles.
Finally, in March, Mary revealed who she was and said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
This story of St. Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes is a fascinating one. Many people visit Lourdes to this day, including the Pope.