This article needs additional citations for
From 11 February to 16 July 1858, she reported 18
According to Soubirous, her visions occurred at the
Soubirous was canonized a saint in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.
|Part of a |
On Thursday, 11 February 1858, a week before Lent would begin on
On realizing that she alone, and not her companions, had seen the apparition, Soubirous asked her sister not to tell anyone what had happened. Toinette, however, was unable to keep silent, and told their mother, Louise Soubirous. Because their mother had suspected the children were lying, both girls received a beating, and Soubirous was forbidden to return to the grotto again. A few days passed and Soubirous asked for permission to go again with her siblings and the permission was granted.
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 rosariesand 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 went on saying my rosary. When I had finished it she disappeared and we came back to Vespers.
Troubled by the notion that the apparition might represent an evil spirit, Soubirous used the holy water as a test. A further and positive reassuring sign was the apparition's beautiful bare feet; evil apparitions (even when taking
The Apparition did not speak until the third appearance, and therefore its identity was a matter of considerable speculation. Pious villagers Jeanne-Marie Milhet and Antoinette Peyret, on hearing Soubirous' description of the apparition, thought it was the returning spirit of one of their friends, who had died a few months before. Although not part of Catholic doctrine, the concept of the
On her third visit, she said that the "beautiful lady" asked her to return to the grotto every day for 15 days. At first her mother had forbidden her to go, but Soubirous persuaded her mother to allow her. Soubirous said that the lady told her that she did not promise to make her happy in this world, but in the next.
Although she spoke in
Armed with a lighted candle for protection, Soubirous came to the grotto. This originated the custom of carrying lighted candles to the grotto. Eight people were present including Soubirous'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.
Soubirous's story caused a sensation with the townspeople, who were divided in their opinions on whether or not Soubirous was telling the truth. Soon a large number of people followed her on her daily journey, some out of curiosity and others who firmly believed that they were witnessing a miracle.
Thirty people were present. Soubirous 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 Soubirous's lady was the
Over 100 people were present, and the apparition said to her: "You will pray to God for sinners." Afterwards Soubirous was interrogated by Dominique Jacomet, the police commissioner. Her father, François Soubirous, eventually assured the commissioner that the affair would cease.
About 150 people were present. Jean-Baptiste Estrade (a tax inspector), Duffo (a court official), and the officers from the
About 250 people were present. The message of the lady was: "Penance! Penance! Penance! Pray to God for sinners! Kiss the ground as an act of penance for sinners!"
[The Lady] told me that I should go and drink at the fountain and wash myself. Seeing no fountain I went to drink at the
Gave. She said it was not there; she pointed with her finger that I was to go in under the rock. I went, and I found a puddle of water which was more like mud, and the quantity was so small that I could hardly gather a little in the hollow of my hand. Nevertheless I obeyed, and started scratching the ground; after doing that I was able to take some. The water was so dirty that three times I threw it away. The fourth time I was able to drink it. She made me eat grass growing in the same place where I had drunk; once only; I do not know why. Then the Vision disappeared and I went home.
Soubirous was interrogated again. The
About 800 people were present.
Over 1,000 people were present. Soubirous was questioned by Judge Ribes afterwards.