Celebrating the Apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes to Bernadette
In 2023, the Sanctuary is setting up a special programme for the days of the Apparitions.
Programme to celebrate the Apparitions
An international pastoral offering for each apparition
The day before an apparition
8:30 p.m. International Rosary by torchlight
The day of an apparition
08:00 Mass at the Immaculate Conception Basilica
10:00 a.m. Mass at the Grotto
11:15 a.m. Mass at the Rosary Basilica
12:00 p.m. Angelus at the Grotto and evocation of the apparition
2:00 p.m. Opportunity to do the water gesture
3:30 p.m. Rosary at the grotto and evocation of the apparition
4:15 p.m. Evocation of the apparition and talk by a “chapelain”
4:30 p.m. Mass at the Rosary Basilica
5:15 p.m. Adoration and blessing of pilgrims at the Rosary Basilica with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
8:30 p.m. International Rosary by torchlight
Special programme for the 17th Apparition (Good Friday) and for the 18th Apparition, on the 16th July.
18 Marian apparitions
Between Thursday 11th February and 16th July 1858, the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Bernadette Soubirous was granted 18 Marian apparitions.
On the morning of Thursday, 11th February 1858, Bernadette, her sister Marie called Toinette and Jeanne Abadie, a friend, set off to collect wood between the Gave river and the mill canal. As she took off her shoes to join the others, she twice heard a noise, “like a gust of wind”.[…] She saw
“A lady dressed in white; she had a white dress, a white veil, a blue sash and a yellow rose on each foot”.
PROGRAMME THURSDAY 11TH FEBRUARY
On Sunday, 14th February, following advice from those close to her who feared a demonic phenomenon, Bernadette sprinkled the apparition with holy water. The Lady smiled and nodded. Aa soon as Bernadette had finished praying the rosary, the Lady disappeared.
On Thursday, 18th February, Bernadette had to ask the apparition to write her name: she held out the pen and the paper, but only received this answer in the Occitan language, in the “Lourdes patois”: “It is not necessary.” Then the Lady gave her this polite invitation, “Would you do me the honour f coming here for fifteen days?” Then the Lady said, “I don’t promise to make you happy in this world, but in the other.”
PROGRAMME CELEBRATES SAINT BERNADETTE
On 19th February, Bernadette came to the Grotto with a lighted candle that had been blessed. It was from this gesture that the custom of carrying candles and lighting them in front of the Grotto was born.
On 20th February, the Lady taught Bernadette a personal prayer. At the end of the vision, a great sadness came over Bernadette.
On 21st February, the Lady appeared to Bernadette early in the morning. A hundred people were with her. She was then questioned by police commissioner, Jacomet. He wanted her to say what she saw. Bernadette told him simply of “Aquero” (that).
On Monday, 22nd February, her parents had forbidden Bernadette to return to the Grotto. However, an irresistible force drew her there, although she saw nothing, as if the Virgin herself were conforming to her parents’ sanctions.
ASH WEDNESDAY MARKS THE START OF LENT
On 23rd February, surrounded by one hundred and fifty people, Bernadette went to the Grotto. The Apparition revealed a secret “just for her”.
On 24th February, the Apparition spoke again: “Penance! Penance! Penance! Pray to God for sinners. Go and kiss the ground for the conversion of sinners.”
On 25th February, Bernadette said, “She told me to go and drink from the spring (…). I only found a little muddy water. On the fourth try I was able to drink. She also told me to eat the herbs that were near the spring then the vision disappeared, and I left.”
The messages were repeated: “Penance! Penance! Penance! …” “Pray to God for sinners.” “Go and kiss the ground in penance for the conversion of sinners.”
On 26th February, a day without an apparition. Bernadette prayed the rosary with a heavy heart…
On 27th February, Bernadette again performed acts of penance (kissing the earth, eating bitter herbs, drinking water).
On 28th February, more than a thousand people witnessed her ecstasy. Bernadette performed the gestures of penance again (eating bitter herbs, drinking water). She was then taken to Judge Ribes who threatened her with prison.
On 1st March, Bernadette again performed the gestures of penance.
On 2nd March: A chapel and a procession
Towards the end of the fifteen days, Bernadette courageously brought the priest Peyramale this message: “Go and tell the priests to build a chapel here and that people should come here in procession.”
The parish priest of Lourdes only wanted to know one thing: the name of the Lady. He also required proof: to see the rosebush (rosehip) in the Grotto blooming in the middle of winter.
A CHAPEL AND A PROCESSION
On 3rd March: From 7 o’clock in the morning, in the presence of three thousand people, Bernadette went to the Grotto, but the vision did not appear! After school, she heard the inner invitation of the Lady. She went to the Grotto and asked the Lady her name again. The answer was a smile. Father Peyramale told her again: “If the Lady really wants a chapel, let her say her name and make the rosebush in the Grotto bloom.”
On 4th March: For this last day of the fifteen, everyone was expecting some great miracle or a major revelation because the message on 18th February had said, “Will you do me the honour of coming here for a fifteen days?” and the fifteen days ended on 4th March. 8,000 people had flocked to both sides of the Gave.
On this “great day”, there was neither miracle nor revelation. The vision was silent. The apparition has still not revealed its name. Bernadette did not even know if she would return to the Grotto…
On 25th March 1858: “I am the Immaculate Conception”
Bernadette was drawn to the Grotto very early in the morning, without any prior warning, on 25th March, the day of the Annunciation. She still had the same concern: Aquerô’s name, that the priest had demanded to know. Bernadette asked for it with a well-prepared formal question:
“Miss, would you be so kind as to tell me who you are, please?”
Bernadette said afterwards, “She raised her eyes to heaven, joined her hands which were outstretched and open towards the earth in a sign of prayer, and said to me: Que soy era immaculada councepciou” (I am the Immaculate Conception).
On 7th April 1858: During this Apparition, Bernadette held her lighted candle. The flame licked her hands for a long time without burning them. This fact was immediately noted by the doctor, Doctor Douzous.
On 16th July (final apparition): the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Bernadette felt the mysterious call of the Grotto, but access to Massabielle had been forbidden and was barricaded by a fence. So, she went to the other side of the Gave opposite the Grotto… and saw the Virgin Mary, one last time:
“It felt to me as if I was in front of the Grotto, at the same distance as the other times, I only saw the Virgin, never have I seen her looking so beautiful!”.