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OUR LADY OF LOURDES TIMELINE (February 11 feast day )

Chronology of the Apparitions at Lourdes

February 11, 1858 (Thursday) – "Aquero" the lady in white first appears about midday, no speaking

February 14, 1858 (Sunday) – Holy water thrown at the Lady, 10 people present

February 18, 1858 (Thursday) – Day after Ash Wednesday, invitation for a "fortnight," promise for happiness not in this world

February 19, 1858 (Friday) – Very early in the morning, silence, 8 people present

February 20, 1858 (Saturday) – About 6 am, personal prayer, 30 people present

February 21, 1858 (Sunday) – Early morning, 120 people present, Police Inspector Jacomet's 1st examination

February 23, 1858 (Tuesday) – Following no apparition on Monday, First miracle
of the candle, conversion of Estrade, personal prayer

February 24, 1858 (Wednesday) – Message of "Penance" for sinners, 250 people present

February 25, 1858 (Thursday) – Discovery of the spring, grass, threefold call to penance, interrogation by Dutour, more than 350 people present

February 27, 1858 (Saturday) – Following no apparition on Feb. 26th, Monsieur Clarens, penitential exercises, same message and actions as on Feb. 24th, 800 people present

February 28, 1858 (Sunday) – 1,150 people present, interrogation by Judge Ribes, Dutour, Jacomet

March 1, 1858 (Monday) – Blessing of rosaries, 1,450 people

March 2, 1858 (Tuesday) – Call to the priests for a "procession and a chapel," two visits to the parish priest Monsieur le Curé (Fr. Peyramale)

March 3, 1858 (Wednesday) – In the evening, request for the bloom of the rose tree, the grotto explored, renewed request to build a chapel

March 4, 1858 (Thursday) – Last apparition of the fortnight, 10,000 people present, armed military escort, medical examination, to Fr. Peyramale

March 25, 1858 (Thursday) – Feast of the Annunciation, announcement of identity: "I am the Immaculate Conception," apparition lasts 1 hour, to Fr. Peyramale

April 7, 1858 (Wednesday) – Easter week, second miracle of the candle, examination by Dr. Dozous, apparition lasts 1 hour

July 16, 1858 (Friday) – 8 pm on Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Bernadette sees Our Lady "more beautiful than ever" from the far bank of the Gave River

O glorious Mother of God, so powerful under your special title of Our Lady of Lourdes, to you we raise our hearts and hands to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the gracious Heart of Jesus all the helps and graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare and for the special favor we so earnestly seek in this novena.

(make your request)

O Lady of Bernadette, with the stars of heaven in your hair and the roses of earth at your feet, look with compassion upon us today as you did so long ago on Bernadette in the Grotto of Lourdes.
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.



The apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes began on 11 February 1858, when Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant girl from Lourdes admitted, when questioned by her mother, that she had seen a "lady" in the cave of Massabielle, about a mile from the town, while she was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend.[1] Similar appearances of the "lady" took place on seventeen further occasions that year.

Bernadette Soubirous was canonized as a saint, and many Catholics believe her visions to have been of the Virgin Mary. The first appearance of the "Lady" reported by Bernadette was on 11 February. Pope Pius IX authorized the local bishop to permit the veneration of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes in 1862.

On 11 February 1858, Bernadette Soubirous went with Toinette and Jeanne Abadie to collect some firewood and bones in order to be able to buy some bread. When she took off her shoes to wade through the water near the Grotto of Massabielle, she heard two wind noises (coups de vent) but the trees and bushes nearby did not move. She saw a light in the grotto and a little girl, as small as she was, dressed all in white, apart from the blue belt fastened around her waist and the golden yellow roses, one on each foot, the colour of her rosary. Bernadette tried to keep this a secret to herself, but after parental cross-examination, she and her sister underwent corporal punishment for this unusual story. [2] Three days later, Bernadette returned to the Grotto with the two other girls, who reportedly became afraid when they saw her in ecstasy. Bernadette remained ecstatic when they returned to the village. On 18 February, she was told by the Lady to return to the Grotto over a period of two weeks. The Lady allegedly said: I promise to make you happy not in this world but in the next. [3] After this created local interest, the police and city authorities got involved. Bernadette was prohibited by her parents and the police to ever go there again, but she went anyway. On 25 February, she was asked to drink from the water, which at first was rather muddy, but became increasingly clean. As the word spread, this water was given to medical patients of all kinds, after which numerous miracle cures were reported. Seven of them were confirmed as lacking any medical explanations by Professor Verges in 1860. The first person with a “certified miracle” was a woman, whose right hand had been deformed as a consequence of an accident. Several miracles turned out to be short term improvement or even hoaxes, one reason why Church and government officials became increasingly concerned. [4] The government barricaded the Grotto and issued stiff penalties for anybody trying to get near the off-limits area. In the process, Lourdes became a national issue in France, resulting in the intervention of emperor Napoleon III to reopen the grotto on 4 October 1858. The Church had decided to stay away from the controversy altogether. black club dresses

Bernadette, knowing the localities rather well, managed to visit the barricaded grotto under the protection of darkness at night time. There, on March 25, she was told: I am the Immaculate Conception. On Easter Sunday, 7 April, her examining doctor stated that Bernadette, in ecstasy, was holding her hands over a candle without receiving any burns. [5] On 16 July, Bernadette went a last time to the Grotto. I have never seen her so beautiful before. [6] The Church, which so far was highly critical during the whole process, faced with nation-wide questions, decided to institute an investigative commission on 17 November 1858. On 18 January 1860, the local bishop declared: The Virgin Mary did appear indeed to Bernadette Soubirous. [7] This was the basis for the Marian veneration in Lourdes, which together with Fatima, is one of the most frequented Marian shrines in the world, to which 4-6 million pilgrims travel annually. The apparitions of Lourdes are not articles of faith for Catholics. Nevetheless all recent Popes visited the Marian shine. Benedict XV, Pius XI, and John XXIII went there as bishops, Pius XII as papal delegate. He also issued with Le Pelerinage de Lourdes a Lourdes encyclical on the 100th anniversary of the apparitions in 1958. John Paul II visited Lourdes three times and Pope Benedict XVI completed a visit there on 15 September 2008 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the apparitions in 1858.

The marriage of Francois Soubirous and Louise Casterot produced six children. The eldest of these was Bernadette.
She was born of 7th January 1844, and was baptised the next day by the Abbe Forgues in the old parish church, being given the name Marie Bernarde. Because of her small stature, she was always referred to by the diminutive form of the name, Bernadette.

Six months later, Louise was again expexting a child; because of this, Bernadette was entrusted to the care of a woman in near-by Bartres, Marie Aravant, who had just lost a baby boy. She stayed there for fifteen months.

From her birth, Bernadette was a weak child, suffering even then from the asthma which would cause her so much suffering that later, in the convent, she would beg the nuns to tear open her chest that she might breathe. Because of her delicate constitution, her parents would endeavour to give her little morsels of food not available to the other children, such as white bread instead of black. Invariably, the young girl would share these treats with her siblings - often missing out herself on the sumptuous feast.

When she was ten, Bernadette was again separated from her beloved family; the winter of 1855 was exceptionally cold and there was little work for the poor miller. Louise's sister, Bernarde, offered to take Bernadette for a while to relieve the pressure on the family and to minimise the effects of the cold on Bernadettes' health. She stayed with her aunt Bernarde for seven months, until the weather improved sufficiently and there was more work available for Francois, enabling him to feed his family properly.

Bernadette left Lourdes one more time - in summer of 1857, she returned to stay with Marie Aravant for a few months, working for her as a shephardesst. There was also a great affection between the two. Bernadette celebrated her fourteenth birthday here in Bartres, but still there had been no mention of her making her First Holy Communion; Marie Aravant tried to teach Bernadette about the Faith - but described her as being thick-headed;

"It was useless to for me to repeat my lessons; I always had to begin again. Sometimes I was overcome by impatience and I would throw my book aside and say to her, 'Go along, you will never be anything but a little fool'".

Marie asked the priest for advice - he said Bernadette should return to Lourdes to begin her Catechism classes. And so, in the early days of 1858, Bernadette returned to the Rue des Petits Fosses.

And return, she did.

She visited a local grotto,

The Apparitions to Bernadette

Later in life she became a Sister of Charity of Nevers, and was besieged by many faithful and religious.

Bernadette (in religion, Sister Marie-Bernarde) spent the latter part of her life at the convent, saying that she had come to hide herself. She sought God in the silence of the cloister, serving Him in humility and under the vows of her profession as a Sister of Charity of Nevers. She lived in the convent for thirteen years, spending a large portion of this time ill in the infirmary - when a fellow sister accused her of being a 'lazybones', she said that her 'job' was "to be ill".

Bernadette died on 16th April 1879.

The Lady of Lourdes had kept the promise She made to Bernadette in 1858 - "I do not promise to make you happy in this world, but in the next".

Although the apparitions of Our Lady at Lourdes were over for Bernadette (at least in this life), their message and mission were never to be forgotten. Bernadette silently offered all of her sufferings, internal and external, for the benefit of "poor sinners".

on 8 December 1933, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Bernadette was declared a Saint by Pope Pius XI. Present for this ceremony were the Reverend Mother General and one hundred and sixty of the Sisters of Nevers, Bernadette's sister in law, and two of her nephews. With them, there were ten thousand French pilgrims. In all, the crowd exceeded forty thousand. Bishop Patrice Flynn, the Irish Bishop of Nevers, and Bishop Gerlier of Lourdes and Tarbes, were also present.

The Holy Father addressed the assembled multitude:

"To the honour of the Most Holy and Indivisible Trinity, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith and for the spread of the Christian religion, by the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul and by Our own, after mature deliberation and having often implored the Divine Assistance, on the advice of our venerable brethren the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, the Patriarchs, Archbishops and Bishops, We define and declare the Blessed Marie Bernarde Soubirous a Saint, and We enrol her in the Catalogue of Saints, ordaining that her memory shall be piously celebrated in the Universal Church on April 16th each year, the day of her birth in Heaven. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

The body of Saint Bernadette remains in the main chapel of the Convent of Saint Gildard in the city of Nevers, France. To this day, she remains entirely incorrupt. Less than four feet away, a constant stream of pilgrims kneel, seeking her powerful assistance in Heaven. At her shrine, flowers and candles keep the little one company.

Around her shrine are inscribed the words of the great promise made to her at Lourdes by the Most Blessed Virgin, and fulfilled by Her:

"I do not promise that you will be happy in this world, only in the next."