Our Lady of Lourdes | Thirteenth Apparition
Thirteenth Apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes
Tuesday 2 March 1858
The thirteenth Apparition took place following the normal pattern, Bernadette arrived at the Grotto early in the morning, prayed the Rosary in the company of the Lady who remained silent except for the Glorias, then made her usual devotions and acts of penance.
After the vision, the child arose and appeared tremulous. She had been accompanied by both aunts - Basille and Lucile. Wondering what the Lady had said to make the child appear so anxious, Basille asked Bernadette what had happened. She replied -
"Oh I really am in great difficulty! The Lady has ordered me to tell the priest that She wishes a Chapel at Massabieille and I am nervous about having to go to the Presbytery. If only you knew how grateful I should be if you would accompany me!"
They left immediately to go and tell Abbe Peyramale of the Lady's request.
Upon arriving at the presbytery, the priest enquired -
"Well, what have you come to tell me? Has the Lady spoken to you?" Bernadettes anxiety increased.
"Yes, monsieur le cure. She has ordered me to tell you again that She wishes to have a chapel at Massabieille."
Peyramale - in his reply to the child - left her in no doubt what the priest thought of herself, of the Lady of the rock, of the messages being relayed to him, and (above all) at the inconvenience of the interruption she was causing to his normally quiet and routine life.
"It is high time for me to get out of the imbroglio in which the Lady and you seek to entangle me. Tell Her that with the priest of Lourdes She must speak clearly and concisely. She wants a chapel. What right has She to these honours which She claims? Who is She? Where does She come from? What has She done to deserve our homage? Don't let us beat about the bush - if your Lady is She whom you suggest, I will show Her a means of obtaining recognition and giving authority to Her messages. You tell me She stations Herself in a niche, above a wild rose bush. Well, ask Her from me to make the rose bush burst into flower suddenly in the presence of the assembled multitude. The morning when you come to tell me that this prodigy has occurred, I will believe your word and I will promise to go with you to Massabieille!"
The tone and volume of his reply terrified the poor child so much that she forgot the second part of the message and left without having passed it on to the man shouting at her.
Afterwards, she realised her error. She asked her aunt to accompany her once more to the priests house, but met with a definite 'no'. She then asked both her parents - but they were more terrified of Peyramale than even Bernadette was. Later in the afternoon, the child spoke to one of her neighbour, a lady called Dominiquette Cazenave. She explained her predicament to this lady, who was more helpful than those she had already approached.
Madame Cazenave went to the presbytery in the late afternoon to arrange another meeting. She accomplished her task and the meeting was set for seven that evening.
At the appointed time, Bernadette and her neighbour found themselves in the priests company.
The child spoke -
"The Lady has ordered me to tell you that She wishes to have a chapel at Massabieille and now She adds 'I wish people to come here in procession'."
"My girl" replied Peyramale, "this is a fitting climax to all your stories! Either you are lying or the Lady who speaks to you is only the counterfeit of Her whom She pretends to be. Why does She want a procession? Doubtless to make unbelievers laugh and to turn religion into ridicule. The trap is not very cleverly laid! You can tell Her from me that She knows very little about the responsibilities and powers of the clergy of Lourdes. If She were really the One whom She pretends to be, She would know that I am not qualified to take the initiative in such a matter. It is to the Bishop of Tarbes, not to me, that She ought to have sent you!"
Bernadette spoke again. "But sir, the Lady did not tell me that She wanted a procession to come to the Grotto immediately - She only said, 'I wish people to come here in procession'. And if I understand Her rightly, She was speaking of the future and not of the present".
"We'll do better than that - we shall give you a torch and you shall have a procession all to yourself. You have many followers - you have no need of priests!" retorted Peyramale.
"But monsieur le cure, I never say anything to anyone. I don't ask them to come with me to the Grotto".
Peyramale was silent for a moment to collect his thoughts. A moment was all he needed.
"Ask the Lady Her name once more. When we know Her name, then She shall have a chapel - and I promise you, it won't be a little one either!"
Bernadette left the house. Now she smiled - despite her fear of the priest, she had carried out the task given to her by the Lady. She had given Abbe Peyramale the full message. Now it was up to him.