Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?


Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."

To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."


As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."


February 28, 2013: Our Lady of Lourdes, The Eleventh Apparition

Posted by Jacob

We continue our re-publishing of previous posts chronicling the miraculous unfolding of events that took place at Lourdes in 1858. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!


On Sunday, February 28, 1858, Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at the grotto in Lourdes for the eleventh time. Beginning on February 11, The Blessed Virgin had been appearing to Bernadette Soubirous, each time bringing a message of prayer, penance, poverty, and participation. Through these posts, we continue our journey with Saint Bernadette as we encounter Our Blessed Mother through her eyes, memories, and words. During the previous nine visitations (February 11, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, and 27) the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Lourdes, communicated the message of Lourdes to all mankind, through Saint Bernadette. She implored us, saying, “Penance, Penance, Penance. Pray to God for sinners.” Our Blessed Mother further invited Bernadette to drink and bathe in the muddy water of the grotto, after which a clear flowing spring came forth where none had existed before. Our Lady of Lourdes commanded, “Go drink in the spring and wash yourself there,” something that faithful pilgrims continue to do each day. (For personal reflections on my experience at Lourdes, see here and here).


During the tenth visitation, the Blessed Mother appeared again to Bernadette, but remained quiet. Bernadette was relieved, as Our Lady of Lourdes had not appeared the day before, and she had been afraid that somehow she had offended the beautiful lady. While Bernadette had been graced with a visitation, aquero had remained silent, smiled at Bernadette’s acts of penance, and prayed the Rosary with her.

During the eleventh visitation, Our Blessed Mother repeated her instructions to pray for sinners, and to offer acts of penance to God for their salvation. As typical, Bernadette carried a lighted blessed candle with her, knelt in prayer before a crowd nearing 1,000 curious onlookers, and repeated her seemingly bizarre (to those observing) acts of penance. The spring, which had only appeared days before, continued to flow strong and pure and clear.

Our Blessed Mother would appear to Bernadette seven more times at the grotto at Massabielle, each time more and more people accompanying Bernadette, hoping to catch a glimpse of the beautiful lady she referred to. Given the crowds, the local priests and religious would soon be forced to get involved, whereas previously they had observed hoping to have the apparitions discredited. Our Lady would also soon make a request of the community, one which would ensure continued devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes, and continued propagation of the message of Lourdes.


Saint Bernadette, you always enjoyed serving others.
In February 1858, the Blessed Virgin appeared to you when you were gathering wood.
Among your sisters, you have learned to treat the sick and those in need.
Later, in Nevers, you were an excellent nurse, offering an attentive and intelligent charity.


Saint Bernadette, Like Mary, who saw the family’s needs in Cana, inspire in me the same generosity and the same faith that you see in Christ.


Lord, you have given us brothers and sisters to love. We pray that our eyes, our hands, and our hearts are open to all those that you put in our way. Amen.

February 27, 2013: Our Lady of Lourdes, The Tenth Apparition

Posted by Jacob

We continue our re-publishing of previous posts chronicling the miraculous unfolding of events that took place at Lourdes in 1858. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!



February 27 marks the anniversary of the tenth apparition of Our Blessed Mother to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at the grotto in Lourdes. Beginning on February 11, 1858, The Blessed Virgin appeared to Bernadette Soubirous a total of 18 times bringing a message of prayer, penance, poverty, and participation. Through these posts, we continue our journey with Saint Bernadette as we encounter Our Blessed Mother through her eyes, memories, and words. During the previous nine visitations (February 11, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, and 25) the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Lourdes, communicated the message of Lourdes to all mankind, through Saint Bernadette. She implored us, saying, “Penance, Penance, Penance. Pray to God for sinners.” Our Blessed Mother further invited Bernadette to drink and bathe in the muddy water of the grotto, after which a clear flowing spring came forth where none had existed before. Our Lady of Lourdes commanded, “Go drink in the spring and wash yourself there,” something that faithful pilgrims continue to do each day on personal pilgrimages.

Following the ninth visitation of Mary on the 25th of February, Bernadette’s mother and aunts took her home, embarrassed by her antics—crawling on the ground like an animal, kissing the dirt for sinners, drinking muddy water and smearing it on her face. Saint Bernadette’s behavior had also raised the suspicion and ire of the local authorities. She was brought in for questioning by the imperial prosecutor, who again threatened her with jail if she refused to recant her story and stay away from the grotto at Massabielle. While Bernadette’s mother was clearly shaken by the encounter with the grand prosecutor, Bernadette remained calm and consistent, refusing both orders. Rather than jail the child, the prosecutor sent her home.

The following day, February 26, Bernadette returned to the grotto, but Our Blessed Mother did not appear. Being a Friday of Lent, Bernadatte repeated her acts of penance as instructed by the Blessed Virgin, praying the Rosary, kissing the ground in penance for sinners, and both drinking and washing in the spring. To Bernadette’s surprise, the spring was now perfectly clear and clean, and flowing abundantly like the triumph of grace over sin! Bernadette was troubled, however, as she feared that she had somehow offended the Blessed Mother, and that is why she hadn’t returned.

Nonetheless, Saint Bernadette came back to the grotto the following day, honoring her promise to aquero, and was graced by a visitation. Our Blessed Mother said nothing, but silently prayed with Bernadette, and smiled her gentle smile, encouraging Bernadette to continue her acts of penance. Upon completion of the Rosary, Our Blessed Lady of Lourdes disappeared, and Bernadette returned home filled with peace.

Our Blessed Mother would appear to Bernadette eight more times at the grotto at Massabielle, each time more and more people accompanying Bernadette, hoping to catch a glimpse of the beautiful lady she referred to. Each time she appears, Our Lady encourages us to pray the Rosary, to hold up those prayers as penance for sinners, and to think of those who are suffering. Her choice of Saint Bernadette, an uneducated and poor girl, reminds us of our worth in the eyes of the Lord, and calls us each to make a difference in the world by remaining open to the message of Lourdes.

February 26, 2013: Saint Isabelle of France

Posted by Jacob

Today, February 26, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Isabelle of France (1225-1270, also known as Isabel and Isabella), the daughter of King Louis VIII of France. Remembered for extreme devotion to the Lord, even as a child, Saint Isabelle requested spiritual direction and permanent confessors from Pope Innocent IV, who allowed her to retain some local Franciscans for that post. As she matured, she became even more devoted to the Lord, through the direction of the Franciscans, eventually breaking off several engagements (arranged for political reasons by her brother who had assumed the throne), and refusing to marry so as to remain virginal for the Lord.

Isabelle resided in the royal castle for much of young adult life, but lived a cloistered life, similar to that of a religious. She refused the lavish appointments and meals offered to her, instead subsisting on meager rations, and donating what she saved to the poor. Her days were spent in service to those in need, specifically the sick and the destitute. Of weak constitution, Isabelle was often ill, specifically with stomach ailments, a condition exacerbated by her fasting and mortification.

Following the king’s return from the Crusades, where he had been imprisoned for some time, Isabelle left the castle, called to found a Franciscan Order for women—the Convent of the Humility of the Blessed Virgin-- in Longchamp, France. The sisters of the order spent their days in charity, but as the name of the order suggests, never accepted recognition or reward for their labors, instead glorifying the Lord. The mission of the Franciscan Order was to serve the poor in love.

Saint Isabelle was appointed Abbess upon recognition and approval of the Order, but refused, instead preferring to live nearby the monastery, oversee operations from her home in solitude, and re-write the rules governing the work of the sisters. Unpleased with the first rule of the order, which was modified from the Rules of the Order of Poor Clares, Isabelle sought to make the direction of her sisters more strict, eventually succeeding in gaining approval.

Isabelle continued to suffer from constant illness, but also, through the grace of God, received mystical graces and experienced numerous ecstasies. During one of these ecstatic visions, she foretold the day and hour she would pass away, which delighted her greatly, as she was eager to return to her Lord. Following her death, she was buried in her habit, and laid to rest in the convent she had founded. Her body was exhumed twice, both times found to be incorrupt.

The life of Saint Isabelle suggests to us that our human weaknesses, even those of the body, can be overcome by the grace of God. Isabelle, despite pressure to do otherwise for personal and political gain, resisted the pressure of the Courts of France to marry, remaining a virgin, and consecrating herself to God. She sought out the spiritual direction she needed, listened for the call of the Lord, and followed it without question. Despite sickness and discomfort throughout her life, she found the strength to serve the Lord and those around her. So eager to rejoin her Maker, she was rewarded with knowledge of when that would happen, which she awaited with joy. Saint Isabelle of France inspires us to examine our lives, identifying those small barriers we hide behind, rather than serving God. Whether it be work, sickness, fatigue, or financial security, we all have many reasons—many excuses—to focus on ourselves, rather than on the Lord, and through Him, on those in need around us. This is a perfect opportunity to broaden our view from ourselves to those around us, breaking down our barriers, and embracing the Lord in those we serve.



Litany of Humility

Written by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930), Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X


O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, O Jesus.


From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, O Jesus.


That others may be loved more than I, O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may increase and I may decrease, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, grant me the grace to desire it.


February 25, 2013: Our Lady of Lourdes, The Ninth Apparition

Posted by Jacob

We continue our re-publishing of previous posts chronicling the miraculous unfolding of events that took place at Lourdes in 1858.  Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!




On February 25, we remember the ninth apparition of Our Blessed Mother to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at the grotto in Lourdes. Beginning on February 11, 1858, The Blessed Virgin appeared to Bernadette Soubirous a total of 18 times bringing a message of prayer, penance, poverty, and participation. Through these posts, we continue our journey with Saint Bernadette as we encounter Our Blessed Mother through her eyes, memories, and words. The previous seven visitations (February 11, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 23) were preludes to what was to begin during the eighth (2/24) blessed message of Mary—during which she told Saint Bernadette to offer “Penance, penance, penance,” and to “Pray to God for sinners.” During that visit, the Blessed Virgin also asked Bernadette to kiss the ground in penance for the sins of the world.


On February 25, 1858, Bernadette returned to the grotto, accompanied by her mother and a crowd of over 300 people. Following the message of Mary given on the previous day, Bernadette offered herself and her prayers as penance for sinners. She knelt outside the grotto, and moved to her customary place on her knees, rather than by walking. As was her custom, blessed candle burning, she knelt and prayed the Rosary, and was graced again by the appearance of aquero, the beautiful lady in the recess on the rock face. At the conclusion of the Rosary, the Blessed Mother spoke to Bernadette. She asked, “Would you kiss the ground for sinners?” Bernadette did not audibly answer, but instead, to the surprise of those gathered, began to kiss the ground in front of her. The Blessed Mother continued, “Would you eat the grass for sinners?” Again, to the shock of the crowds gathered, Bernadette moved on her knees further into the grotto, eating the sparse grass that grew like the wild pigs who foraged there.

In a miraculous turn, the Blessed Mother then told Saint Bernadette, “Go drink at the spring and wash yourself there.” Bernadette was confused, as there was no spring in the grotto, and turned to move to the Gave River, which was only yards away—the same river she had refused to cross with her sister and friend on the date of the first apparition. The Blessed Mother corrected her, gesturing for Bernadette to come into the grotto further, finding herself in front of a small pool of muddy water. She scratched the earth a few times to get enough water to drink, and then both drank it and washed herself with it, smearing mud across her face. The onlookers took this as final proof that the simple miller’s daughter was mad. The authorities, however, were outraged.

In her personal journal, Saint Bernadette recounts the events of the ninth apparition. In her own words: “She also asked me to go drink from the spring and wash there; since I did not see a spring, I started toward the Gave. She said that that was not the right place and she pointed to another place, showing me the spring under the Grotto. I went to the place she showed me, but all I saw was a tiny bit of muddy water. There was so little of it that I was hardly able to get any of it in my hands. Nevertheless, I obeyed and started digging with my hands. I tried to drink it, but it was so dirty that the first three times, it came back up. On the fourth try, I was able to drink a little of it.”

During four visitations from Mary (9-12), Saint Bernadette carried out the same actions—drinking from the spring, washing herself, eating grass, walking on her knees, and kissing the ground. Those around her do not understand, but as we reflect on her actions, we see they are biblical in nature. Because Our Lady of Lourdes asked her, Bernadette acts out the Incarnation, the Passion and the death of Christ.

Moving on her knees at the back of the Grotto recalls the Incarnation, God lowering himself to become human. Bernadette kisses the ground showing us that this act of humility is an action of the love God has for his people.

When Bernadette stoops and eats the dirty, bitter grasses growing in the recesses of the grotto, she re-enacts the Jewish Old Testament tradition of slaughtering a lamb, cleaning it, and filling it with bitter herbs. For the Jews, this showed that the Lamb of God had taken away the sins of the world, washed it clean, and taken on all bitterness unto himself.

Bernadette smeared her face with mud, suffering much as Isaiah had prophesied about Christ. "Because he carried on himself all our sins his face no longer appeared human." And, “He was" Isaiah continues, "like a lamb led to the slaughter, and on his way the crowd mocked him.” At the grotto, Bernadette “disfigures” her face with the mud of the spring, and the crowd mocks her and questions her sanity. She suffers the humiliation, in those moments, of Christ on the way to his cross.

Bernadette’s actions free the grotto—free it from the bitter grasses growing and hiding it’s beauty, free the holy spring beneath it. In a manner of speaking, she also frees us, the people who the message of Lourdes is intended. By her actions, the mysteries of the heart of Jesus are revealed: "The water that I shall give you will become, in you, a spring welling up to eternal life.” Our hearts are like the grass and mud of the grotto, wounded and soiled by sin. But we are freed by the message of Lourdes, remembering that at the bottom of each of our hearts, there is the life of God. “Penance, Penance, Penance!” calls us each to daily conversion.

February 23, 2013: Our Lady of Lourdes, The Seventh Apparition

Posted by Jacob

We continue our re-publishing of previous posts chronicling the miraculous unfolding of events that took place at Lourdes in 1858.  Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!

Today, February 23, marks the anniversary of the seventh apparition of Our Blessed Mother to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at the grotto in Lourdes. Beginning on February 11, 1858, The Blessed Virgin appeared to Bernadette Soubirous a total of 18 times bringing a message of prayer, penance, poverty, and participation. Through these posts, we continue our journey with Saint Bernadette as we encounter Our Blessed Mother through her eyes, memories, and words. The previous six visitations (February 11, 14, 18, 19, 20, and 21) were greeted by disbelief from Bernadette’s family, friends, local authorities, and local religious. Despite overwhelming pressure to recant her story and stop visiting the grotto as Masabielle, Bernadette’s simple and deep faith continued to draw her back to the loving and peaceful smile of Our Lady of Lourdes. Even threats of imprisonment could not prevent it!


Despite her hours of interrogation by the local police commissioner following the sixth apparition on February 21, and the fact that the Blessed Virgin did not appear on the 22nd, Bernadette returned to the grotto on the morning of February 23. It is estimated that a crowd of approximately 250 followed her, watching, and hoping to experience what she claimed to see. Among them were local church authorities.

Like previous appearances, Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to Bernadette, smiling and praying with her. Onlookers reported seeing the enraptured Bernadette speak, and pause as if listening to someone else speak. Later, Bernadette would reveal that the Blessed Mother shared three secrets with her, much as she has done with other visionaries (such as the children at Fatima). Saint Bernadette never revealed these secrets, carrying them with her to her reunion with the Blessed Mother and Jesus in heaven.

During the seven first apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes, Saint Bernadette generally has a face radiant with joy, happiness and light, although there are moments of tears. Between the eighth and twelfth apparitions, this changes dramatically- the face of Bernadette becomes hard, sad and sorrowful. And to the observers, her actions are those of someone quite out of their mind. As we continue this journey of reflection on the apparitions at Lourdes, we will see that even the most incomprehensible actions to the human mind have deep meaning to God. The visions at Lourdes, through the messenger of the Blessed Virgin, communicate the Lord’s deep love and sacrifice for each of us, and place us at the center of the message of Lourdes.


Saint Bernadette, you have long sought the Lord where he called you to.
You asked.
You listened.
You trusted.
You were sure the Lord would guide you.
You surrendered yourself completely in the hands of God.


Like Mary, you were confident in the Lord.
Bernadette, inspire me in the same confidence, the same generosity, and the same patience.


Lord, enlighten me on my path and give me the strength to say “yes” when I hear your call.

February 21, 2013: Our Lady of Lourdes, The Sixth Apparition

Posted by Jacob

We continue our re-publishing of previous posts chronicling the miraculous unfolding of events that took place at Lourdes in 1858.  Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!




The Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Lourdes, appeared to Saint Bernadette eighteen times at the grotto of Massabielle, bringing a message of prayer, penance, poverty, and participation. Through these posts, we continue our journey with Saint Bernadette as we encounter Our Blessed Mother through her eyes, memories, and words. While the first three visitations, on February 11, February 14, February 18, were marked by the Blessed Mother establishing a deep and heart-felt connection with Saint Bernadette, the fourth and fifth visitations on February 19 and February 20 were marked by quiet prayer and confidences which Bernadette would not reveal.


The sixth time the Blessed Virgin, described by Bernadette as a beautiful young lady clothed in a white robe and blue sash, with golden roses on her feet, appeared in the grotto as Massabielle, Bernadette’s now radiant face was marked by unease and unhappiness. Those observing watched as she spoke, and paused as if listening, weeping throughout. Bernadette would later recall that the Blessed Mother had told her to pray for sinners, and described things to horrible to repeat. She kept the confidences of the Blessed Mother until her death.

This sixth apparition, on February 21, occurred very early in the morning, and following the departure of the Blessed Mother, the local police commissioner, Dominque Jacomet, brought Bernadette into the police station for questioning. Denying her mother’s request to accompany her, Jacomet questioned Bernadette alone for a significant period of time, as the town elders had grown concerned with the safety risk the crowds who followed her to the grotto were causing.

Jacomet questioned Bernadette regarding her age, education, and history, establishing that she had little education, seldom went to school, could neither read nor write, and had not yet made her First Eucharist. To his surprise, Bernadette was unsure of her age, estimating she was either thirteen or fourteen. When questioned about her experiences at Lourdes, and whether her family supported her, she forthrightly responded that no one believed her story—not her mother, sister, or friends—not even the nuns at the convent whom she had confided in. And yet, he could not sway her from her beliefs. She was calm for one so young, faced with the authority of the police, and would not be tricked into changing her story, despite his attempts. When asked who she was speaking to at the grotto of Massabielle, Bernadette answered, “aqueró,” which in the local patois dialect means “that one” or “that thing.” She refused to be more specific.

Commissioner Jacomet tried all he could to trick her, re-reading his written notes, but significantly changing her story each time. Without exception, Bernadette politely corrected him, saying, “You’ve changed everything.” As rumors were circulating around the town that she was being visited by the Blessed Virgin—something he could not believe, as he though the Holy Mother wouldn’t appear to someone as uneducated and poor as Bernadette—he substituted her title for aqueró. Again, Bernadette refuted his story, stating that she had never claimed to have seen the Blessed Virgin. He strongly encouraged her to avoid returning to the grotto, but Bernadette insisted that she must return, as she had made a promise. Despite his threats to imprison her as a public safety hazard, Jacomet let Bernadette go.

Bernadette returned to the grotto the following day, in honor of her promise. However, on that day, the Blessed Virgin did not appear. Bernadette prayed the Rosary, and followed by a disappointed crowd, returned home. Bernadette, however, was not disappointed, and seemingly lit by an internal peace and grace, returned the following day.

The Lourdes Hymn (sung during the Candlelight Processional)

O Mary, our mother, we come to this place,
Where you, who are sinless, appeared full of grace.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria


As Bernadette waited there came to her site
A radiant Lady, surrounded by light.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria


She gave her a message, “Let penance be done,
And pray that all sinners may turn to my Son.”
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria


“Come here in procession, to praise God and sing,
To wash in these waters and drink at this spring.”
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria


She asked that a chapel be built in this place;
That all be encouraged to pray for God’s grace.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria


The Lady responded when asked for her name:
“Conceived without sin is the title I claim.”
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria


O mother of mercy, our sorrows relieve;
Sustain those who suffer, console those who grieve.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria


O bless us, dear Lady, with blessings from heaven;
And to our petitions let answers be given
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria

February 20, 2013: Our Lady of Lourdes, The Fifth Apparition

Posted by Jacob

We continue our re-publishing of previous posts chronicling the miraculous unfolding of events that took place at Lourdes in 1858.  Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!

We continue our journey with Saint Bernadette as we encounter Our Blessed Mother through her eyes, memories, and words. Our Blessed Mother appeared to Saint Bernadette eighteen times at the grotto of Lourdes, bringing a message of prayer, penance, poverty, and participation. While the first three visitations, on February 11, February 14, February 18, were marked by the Blessed Mother establishing a deep and heart-felt connection with Saint Bernadette, the fourth (February 19) though seventh visitations were marked by quiet prayer. During these visits, the crowds that followed Bernadette to the grotto at Massabielle grew each day, and the leaders of the town began to become alarmed. It would not be long before the police became involved, and Bernadette would suffer for her faith.


The fifth apparition, February 20, 1858, marks the first time that Bernadette’s mother accompanies her to the grotto. Prior to this day, she had actively discouraged Bernadette, certain the attention would have negative impact on the family’s already tenuous existence within the community. However, on February 20, due to her growing concern for her daughter’s safety amongst the crowds following her, she accompanied Bernadette. Together, they returned to the grotto at Massabielle, again carrying the lighted blessed candle. Again, the crowds, including her mother, witnessed Bernadette, in ecstasy, kneeling before the rock face, praying the Rosary, holding the lit candle in the other hand. While Bernadette was transfixed, the others present saw and heard nothing.

During the fifth visitation of Our Lady of Lourdes on February 20, the Blessed Mother appeared in the recess of the rock face, as she had previously, praying the Rosary with Bernadette, and smiling gently. Bernadette was content to sit in her presence, recalling the joy and peace she felt the remainder of her life, and describing how nothing earthly could compare. On this occasion, the Blessed Mother spoke to Bernadette, teaching her a prayer which Bernadette kept secret the remainder of her life. Onlookers watched her beautiful and joy-filled face become troubled and sad, followed by tears during the visitation. This was the first of several times where Bernadette was provided with information regarding the future of the world and the torment of sinners.

Despite this difficult vision, Bernadette was not deterred. She would return the following day, and subsequently be questioned by the police. Throughout, her faith would remain child-like and simple, her love for the beautiful lady undeterred, and her confidence in the Lord ever growing. As the Blessed Virgin had promised, Bernadette had found happiness not in the world of man, but in the internal Kingdom of God—a kingdom of love.
Years later, in 1783, Saint Bernadette wrote:

O Mary, my gentle Mother, here I am, your child who can bear no more. See my needs and above all my spiritual distress. Have pity on me; grant that one day I may be with you in Heaven.


I shall do everything for Heaven, my true home. There I shall find my Mother in all the splendor of her glory. I shall delight were her in the joy of Jesus himself in perfect safety.”

February 19, 2013: Our Lady of Lourdes, The Fourth Apparition

Posted by Jacob

We continue our re-publishing of previous posts chronicling the miraculous unfolding of events that took place at Lourdes in 1858. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!

The Blessed Mother appeared to Saint Bernadette eighteen times, bringing a message of prayer, penance, poverty, and participation. She said, “Penance. Penance. Penance. Pray for Sinners.” She picked the most humble of messengers, truly showing that we are all equal in the eyes of the Lord. Between today and July 16, we will continue our journey with Saint Bernadette as we encounter Our Blessed Mother through her eyes, memories, and words.


On February 19, Bernadette returned to the grotto at Massabielle, as she had promised the beautiful lady she would. Our Blessed Lady of Lourdes appeared for the fourth time on that day, having appeared previously on February 11, February 14, and February 18. During those initial visitations, the Blessed Virgin smiled and prayed with Bernadette. During the previous visitation, she had spoken, inquiring as to whether Bernadette would visit the grotto each day for 15 days, and telling her, “I do not promise to make you happy in this life, but in the other.”

Bernadette did not completely understand the message of the Holy Mother, but returned as promised, on February 19th. In preparation for her visit to the grotto, she brought a blessed candle, which she had borrowed, to offer in honor of the beautiful lady. During this visit, a small crowd of family members, friends, and curious townsfolk followed her. They witnessed Bernadette, in ecstasy, kneeling before the rock face, praying the Rosary, holding the lit candle in the other hand. She was transfixed, and unable to be distracted from her vision. Her face, during these moments, becomes calm and beautiful—more beautiful than anything the onlookers have seen.

Bernadette’s habit of carrying a lit candle to the grotto is the start of the daily Marian Candlelight Procession at Lourdes, still occurring today, and having occurred every day since that time.

During the visitation of Our Lady of Lourdes on February 19, she again remained silent, praying the Rosary with Bernadette, but not speaking to her. Instead, Bernadette was graced with the gentle smile and feeling of peace she remembered from previous visions.

Bernadette would continue to visit the grotto for the next 14 days in a row, during that time, receiving the important message of Lourdes- a message that is from the heart of Our Blessed Mother. During the third apparition, when the beautiful lady explains to Saint Bernadette, “What I have to say does not need to be written down,” she is inviting Bernadette to enter into a personal relationship from the heart, the very center and depth of her message of love, respect, and human dignity.



O Immaculate Virgin Mary,
you are the refuge of sinners,
the health of the sick,
and the comfort of the afflicted.
By your appearances at the Grotto of Lourdes
you made it a privileged sanctuary
where your favors are given to people streaming to it from the whole world.
Over the years countless sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities,
whether of soul, mind, or body.
Therefore I come with limitless confidence
to implore your motherly intercession.


Loving Mother, obtain the grant of my requests.
Let me strive to imitate your virtues on earth
so that I may one day share your glory in heaven.
Amen.

February 18, 2013: The Paintings of Blessed Fra Angelico

Posted by Jacob


The Paintings of Fra Angelico

In honor of the feast of Blessed John of Fiesole (Fra Angelico), below is a gallery of a small portion of the paintings he produced, chronicling the lives of the Saints, Our Blessed Mother, and the Life and Passion of Christ.

Blessed Fra Angelico
You created works of beauty
which have inspired countless souls
into a closer union with God.
By your prayers
grant that God may
raise up artists and craftsmen
to beautify His holy temple N.
and all churches to elevate
men's hearts and minds to a
more profound relationship
with the almighty.
Amen.




The Visitation

Wedding of the Virgin
The Last Judgement

The Annunciation
The Annunciation
Scenes from the Life and Passion of Christ


Saints Peter and Mark Preaching
Saint John the Baptist and Saint Dominic
Saint Anthony shunning the mass of gold

Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
The Naming of Saint John the Baptist
Angel Detail from the Monecarlo Alterpiece
Massacre of the Innocents
Entombment of Christ
Distributing of Alms
Death of the Virgin
Coronation of the Blessed Virgin
Communion of the Apostles
Flight into Egypt
Madonna Surrounded by Angels
Madonna and Child with Angels
The Last Supper
Christ the Judge
Arrest of Christ
Agony in the Garden
Adoration of the Magi
Adoration of the Magi
Adoration of the Magi
Madonna and Child