It was on this day, February 11, 1858 that a 14-year-od Bernadete Soubirous saw a girl her age, dressed in white with a blue sash. She and her sisters had been sent to gather armfuls of twigs to trade for bread for dinner. The sisters had gone on when Bernadette, in poor health, rested outside the entrance to the cave at Massabielle, a place where he father dumped refuge from the town’s hospital.
Bernadette told her sisters about the young woman in white, and she begged them to say nothing about it at home. Two days later the girls told, and all three girls received whippings.
Three days later when her parents let Bernadette out she was sprinkling holy water at Massabielle when the lady appeared, and seemed to be amused by the holy water. Something came over Bernadette, and her sisters and some followers saw her sink into an ecstasy. The lady told Bernadette she would be unhappy in this life but happy in the next.
Two weeks after her first appearance the lady told Bernadette to drink from the spring just in front of her. The girl saw no spring there, but she began scooping up the clay, as though it were water. Everyone laughed at the girl washing with dirt; but on the following day the crowd saw fresh underground water springing up from where she had dug.
A week later, when Bernadette, following the local pastor’s instruction, asked the lady to identify herself, the lady said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
That year seven clearly miraculous cures were attributed to the water. Franz Werfel, the Jewish refugee who wrote the screen play for “The Song of Bernadette” said, “For non-believers no explanation is possible, for believers no explanation id necessary.”