1st March: first miraculous healing and 12th apparition
On Monday 1st March, while it was still dark, Catherine Latapie who had come on foot from the neighbouring village of Loubajac, arrived at the Grotto. She dipped her paralysed arm in the spring water, whereupon it immediately regained full mobility! She hastened to leave, and later that day gave birth to her fourth child, a boy who would become a priest. The healing of Catherine Latapie was the first miraculous healing in Lourdes. Along the way, she passed a little girl wearing a capulet or head-covering, Bernadette, who was coming for her twelfth meeting with Aqueró as Bernadette called the lady (in the Bigourdan dialect). During this 12th apparition, the “young lady” entrusted three secrets to her with this express directive, “I forbid you to tell this to anyone”.
2nd March: “Go and tell the priests …”
On Tuesday 2nd March, the Apparition made a final request, “Go and tell the priests that people should come here in procession, and to build a chapel.”
For believers, a chapel is a house for God. The place to celebrate mass. The request has certainly been heard. Today, masses are offered every day in several languages in different places of the Sanctuary.
25th March: The Apparition reveals her name
On 25th March 1858, on the feast of the Annunciation, during the 16th apparition, Bernadette asked the Lady three times for her name, “Madam, would you be kind as to tell me who you are, please?”
The Lady extended her hands towards the ground then she joined them again at chest height, raised her eyes to heaven and said with infinite gentleness, “Que soy era Immaculada Concepciou”, (I am the Immaculate Conception).
Bernadette did not understand the meaning of these words. She had to repeat them all the way back to the rectory where she shouted them at the priest, Father Peyramale. Overcome by emotion, he immediately sent her home. He was now sure of the Lady’s identity. Indeed, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception had been promulgated in 1854. It says, unlike all of us, Mary was conceived without sin, and had never sinned. The Apparition was the Virgin Mary!
It was at the heart of Lent that Bernadette brought us the call from Heaven transmitted by Mary, to change our hearts, a message without threat, with infinite gentleness, but great insistence. A real conversion, to find the way to the only true happiness.
Let us go as often as we can to drink from the spring, to light a candle and pray at the rock of Massabielle, where these two young girls showed us the way to God.