Our Lady of Lourdes | Third Apparition
Third Apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes
Thursday 18 February 1858
The girls who had been present returned to Lourdes and began to describe the extraordinary sight they had witnessed. Few people believed them.
But not everyone laughed. Antoinette Peyret was a leading light in the Children of Mary, in Lourdes. Desperate to know more of what was happening, she found all sorts of excuses for visiting the Soubirous family. Each time she would question the little one about what she had seen. The answers never changed.
Upon hearing Bernadette describe the beautiful Lady, Antoinette was moved to tears; she believed this was her friend Elisa Latapie, who had been the president of the Children of Mary before her untimely death a few months beforehand.
Accompanied by her friend Madame Millet, Antoinette arrived at the Cachot in time to hear Bernadette pleading with her mother to be allowed to return once more to the Grotto. Louise was stern in her replies to Bernadette. This seemed to be the perfect opportunity for the pair to ask permission to be allowed to take the child to the Grotto, where they promised they would let no harm come to her. After some soul-searching and many tears, Louise granted their request.
The following morning, before dawn began to light the sky, the two ladies called at the Cachot. After collecting Bernadette, the trio left to attend Mass in the church. Following this, they left for the Grotto. Madame Millet carried with her a blessed candle, which she used to burn on special feast days. Antoinette Peyet took with her a pen and paper, hoping the mysterious Lady would write some messages for them.
Arriving at the Grotto, Bernadette ran on ahead. By the time the two older ladies caught up with her, she was already on her knees in prayer, her Rosary in her hand. The candle was lit and the two women knelt also. After a few minutes, Bernadette exclaimed "She comes! Here She is!" The two women could see nothing, but Bernadette was captivated by the sight she beheld.
Bernadette was happy and smiling, occasionally bowing her head. However, she gave no sign of ecstasy on this occasion. Since the Lady was about to speak, it was important that the child retain full use of her faculties. After the completion of the Rosary, Antoinette handed Bernadette the pen and paper.
"Please, ask the Lady if She has anything She wishes to tell us and in that case if She would be so good as to write it down".
As the child moved toward the opening, the two ladies also moved forward; without looking back, Bernadette signalled to them to remain where they were. Standing on tip toe, she held up the pen and paper. She appeared to listen to words addressed to her, then lowered her arms, made a deep bow and returned to the place she just left. Antoinette asked what the Lady had replied.
"When I presented the pen and paper to Her She began to smile. Then without being angry She said 'There is no need for me to write down what I have to say to you'. Then She seemed to be thinking for a moment and added 'Will you be so kind as to come here every day for fifteen days?'
"What did you answer?" asked Madame Millet.
"I answered 'Yes'" said the child in all simplicity. Asked why this request had been made, Bernadette replied, "I do not know - She did not tell me". Madame Millet asked why Bernadette had signed to them to stay where they were. The child said this had been done in obedience to the Lady. Somewhat distressed, Madame Millet asked Bernadette to enquire of the Lady if their presence was disagreeable to Her. Bernadette raised her eyes to the niche, then turned and said - "The Lady answers, 'No, her presence is not disagreeable to Me' ".
Once more the three began to pray. Bernadette's prayers were frequently interrupted - she seemed to be having a conversation with the invisible Lady.
At the end of the vision, Antoinette asked Bernadette if the Lady had told her anything else. Bernadette replied -
"Yes. She said to me, 'I do not promise to make you happy in this world, but in the next'."
"Since the Lady consents to speak to you," enquired Antoinette, "why do you not ask Her for Her name?". Bernadette replied that she had already done so. Asked what Her name was, the young girl replied -
"I do not know. She lowered Her head with a smile, but She did not answer."