"I had gone down one day...
"Then I looked up and caught sight of the cave where I saw a lady wearing a lovely white dress with a bright belt. On top of each of her feet was a pale yellow rose, the same color as her rosary beads...
"I asked the girls with me if they had noticed anything, but they said no. Of course, they wanted to know what I was doing, and I told them that I had seen a lady wearing a nice white dress, though I didn't know who she was.
"I told them not to say anything about it, and they said I was silly to have anything to do with it. I said they were wrong, and I came back next Sunday, feeling myself drawn to the place....
"The third time I went, the lady spoke to me and asked me to come every day for fifteen days. I said I would and then she said that she wanted me to tell the priests to build a chapel there.
"She also told me to drink from the stream. I went to the river Gave, the only stream I could see. Then she made me realize she was not speaking of the river Gave, and she showed me a little trickle of water close by. When I got to it, I could only find a few drops: mostly mud. I cupped my hands to catch some liquid without success, and then I started to scrape the ground. I managed to find a few drops of water, but only at the fourth attempt was there enough for any kind of a drink. The lady then vanished and I went back home.
"I went back each day for fifteen days, and each time, except one Monday and one Friday, the lady appeared and told me to look for a stream and wash in it and to see that the priests build a chapel there.
"I must also pray, she said, for 'the conversion of sinners.' I asked her many times what she meant by that, but she only smiled. Finally, with outstretched arms and eyes looking up to heaven, she told me she was 'the Immaculate Conception.'"
The above account is from a letter by St. Bernadette describing her first vision of Mary, the mother of Jesus, at Lourdes, France - 148 years ago today, when Bernadette was only 14. Since then, over two hundred million people have come to pray at the spot and many have been miraculously cured.
Today the Church celebrates Our Lady of Lourdes.
(adapted from an earlier post)