Thursday, September 30, 2021

Thirty Days Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary


Thirty Days’ Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary in honor of the Sacred Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I recently came upon this wonderful and powerful prayer in an old missal and prayer book dated 1928. Powerful, because it is based on the merits of the suffering Christ, and wonderful because it is so thorough. I have been unable to determine any information about the author or history of this prayer. But it was definitely composed by someone who was devoted both to the Blessed Virgin and to the Cross of her Son. The following is transcribed just the way it is written in that old missal.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Meet Sister Josefa, the Original Apostle of Divine Mercy.

Before Sister Faustina, there was Sister Josefa Menendez. The Lord said to Josefa: “I want you to be the Apostle of My goodness and mercy.” And also: “My one desire is to reveal to souls the love, the mercy, and the pardon of My Heart, and I have chosen you to do it for Me, wretched as you undoubtedly are. But do not be anxious, I love you, and your misery is the very reason for My love.” Josefa’s communications with Our Lord and His Mother lasted until her death in 1923; St. Faustina was still a layperson at that time.

Sister Josefa Menendez was such a hidden and humble woman that during her four years as a nun, she never got past the stage of being a simple Novice (she was finally Professed on her death-bed). Although she was Spanish, she was sent to a convent in France belonging to the order of the Society of the Sacred Heart. During this time she diligently wrote down, at the command of the Lord, the heavenly messages she received. An abbreviated version of Josefa’s writings was published in 1938 by the Apostleship of Prayer, with the blessing of Cardinal Pacelli (the future Pope Pius XII), who at that time was the Cardinal Protector of her religious order.

The reception the work received was so laudatory that a larger and more complete collection of the messages was published five years later. By 1949 the first English language edition was available, entitled The Way of Divine Love – the Message of the Sacred Heart to the World. The excerpts from Sister Josefa’s writings that follow are taken from the TAN Books edition of 1973. (By contrast, the original Polish edition of St. Faustina’s popular Diary was not published until 1979.)

On the night of February 24, 1921, sister Josefa wrote: “In the evening, during Holy Hour, I was thinking of sinners and of how many there are – but also of how much greater His mercy is; suddenly He stood before me, and with a voice of great majesty, as might be a king’s, He said to me: ‘The world does not know how merciful I am; I am going to use you to make it known.’

Fear took hold of Josefa, and she cried out: “But dear Lord, do not forget how weak I am, and that the smallest obstacle makes me fall.” As if He had not heard, Jesus continued: “I want you to be the Apostle of My goodness and mercy. I will teach you what this means. Forget yourself.”

A few months later He said to her: “I will reveal to you the burning secrets of My Heart and many souls will profit by them. I want you to write down and keep all I tell you.” Josefa faithfully followed the Lord’s wishes, and wrote down all that she experienced during visits from Jesus and Mary, other heavenly visitors, and souls in Purgatory. No one in her convent was aware of these graces, except her Superiors and Confessor.

On December 5, 1922 Josefa wrote these words spoken by the Lord: “My heart is not only an abyss of love, it is also an abyss of mercy; and knowing as I do that even My closest friends are not exempt from human frailties, I will that each of their actions, however insignificant, be clothed through Me with immense value for the help of those in need and for the salvation of sinners.

All cannot preach nor evangelize distant uncivilized peoples, but all, yes, all, can make My heart known and loved. All can mutually help one another to increase the number of the saved by preventing the loss of many souls – and that, through My love and mercy.

I will tell My chosen souls that My love for them goes further still; not only shall I make use of their daily life and of their least actions, but I will make use of their very wretchedness, their frailties, and even of their falls, for the salvation of souls. Love transforms and divinizes everything, and mercy pardons all.”

Josefa’s mission was actually two-fold. Not only was she the apostle of Divine Mercy and love, but she was also a victim soul, suffering so that others would correspond to the graces of salvation. Her sufferings encompassed the Crown of Thorns, the carrying of the Cross, and the pain of the nails; however, none these favors had visible consequences and they were unknown to her peers. In addition, she was one of the very few mystics in the history of the church to have been dragged down to hell itself by the demon. In a series of terrible trials permitted by God, she was forced into the bottomless pit over 100 times!

On November 22, 1922, Jesus told her: “Fear not Josefa, for in spite of your littleness and occasional resistance, My work is going well, both in you and in souls.” Josefa replied, “Lord, I do not understand what You mean by this work to which You so often allude.”

Then Jesus, as if recollecting Himself, spoke gravely and with force: “You say you do not know what my work is? Josefa, it is one of love. I want to use you who are of so little account to disclose to the world the mercy and love of My heart. That is why I am glorified when left free to do with you and in you what I choose. Already your littleness and sufferings have saved many souls.

But later on the words and wishes that I transmit through you will fire the zeal of many others and prevent the loss of a multitude of souls, and men will get to know ever more how inexhaustible is the love and mercy of My Heart. I do not ask much from them, but I do ask their love.”

On a day in the month of June, 1923: Josefa went up to the altar-rails, and when the Sacred Host was held before her, she renewed her beloved vows, then received communion and returned to her place. Then Jesus once more manifested Himself to her and with overwhelming love said: “Josefa, you have just told me that you love Me alone, that you have voluntarily despoiled yourself of everything for My sake, that you will never have any other liberty or will than Mine. My will is yours, your will is Mine. I shall be master of your thoughts, or your words, and of your actions. If you have nothing, I will provide everything for you. I will live in you, speak in you, love you, and forgive you.”

Taking up each of these words, Our Lord made His thought clear: “I will live in you and you in Me. I will speak in you, and My words will reach souls and will not pass away. I will love you, and by that love souls will discover my love for them. I will forgive you, and souls will recognize my mercy by that with which I have wrapped you around.”

Many believe in Me, but few believe in My love, and among those who do, too few rely on my Mercy. Many know Me as their God, but how few trust Me as their Father. I will manifest Myself, especially to those who are the objects of my predilection. I will show them through you that I ask nothing of them that they do not possess. But I do ask that all they have they should give Me, for all is Mine.

If they possess nothing but miseries and weaknesses, these I desire; even if they have only faults and sins, I desire them also. I beg them to give them to Me. Give them to Me, yes, give all to Me and keep nothing, but trust My Heart. I forgive you, I love you, I will sanctify you Myself.”

The Way of Divine Love – the Message of the Sacred Heart to the World, Sister Josefa Menendez, TAN Books and Publishers, 1973.

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Thursday, July 29, 2021

How a Saint Approaches Death.

In a previous post I showed how a saint, Gemma Galgani, approached Holy Communion. Now we will see how this same saint approached her death. Born in 1878 in Italy, she lived into the twentieth century, passing to her reward in 1903 at the youthful age of only 25. Following are excerpts from her biographer and spiritual director, Fr. Germanus, taken from the final chapters of his book.

It was to be expected that a life wholly spent with Jesus Crucified would end on the Cross with Him. Gemma had participated one by one in all the sufferings of the Man God—in His agony of soul and external torturings; in His Sweat of blood, His scourging and His wounds; in the piercing of the Crowns of Thorns, the dislocation of His bones and the lacerating of His flesh by the nails. In order to perfect her likeness to Jesus there only remained to be accomplished the last agony and death in an ocean of pain, and He would not deprive her of this. As Gemma’s delicate body was certainly not capable of so much pain, He compensated for its intensity by its duration, keeping her on the Cross for several long months.

“Poor Martyr!” they wrote to me from Lucca; “poor victim of Jesus! she suffers without cessation and feels as if her bones were being disjointed; it is evident that she is tortured in every part of her body, and is being dissolved in hopeless agony. For the last twenty days she has lost her eyesight; her voice has become so weak that she can scarcely articulate, so that it is impossible to catch what she says; she is a living skeleton that seems to waste more and more, and to behold her is to be filled with pain and dismay.”

And yet all these sufferings so great in themselves were a mere nothing compared with those inflicted on the poor patient by the powers of hell. The Holy Ghost has said that in our last moments Satan will use desperate efforts in tempting us, knowing that little time is left him to effect our ruin. Imagine then his last hellish assaults on Gemma against whom during her whole life he had nurtured a hatred so deadly and waged such a relentless war. I read of other Saints who at the end of their days had to sustain fiendish assaults that were more or less lengthened and fierce, but they were intermittent. With Gemma the siege was continuous with only momentary intervals. 

That which more than all agonized this angel were the violent efforts of the enemy to tarnish her purity. This spirit of uncleanness knew very well with what love and care she had guarded this treasure during her whole life and with what heroism she had always fought and defeated him in her determination to defend it. Now his aim was, if not to gain a victory which he knew was impossible, to be at least avenged against her by embittering the last days of her spotless life.

From tormenting her soul he passed to torturing her body. Who could enumerate his artifices for this purpose? Her difficulty to take food had somewhat lessened, so they began to give her a little nourishment; but in vain. No sooner was it put before her than the fiend caused it to appear covered with disgusting insects and with the most repulsive things imaginable. As a natural consequence her stomach sickened immediately so that everything had to be taken away. Horrible and fetid animals, whether real or imaginary, came into her bed, crept over her limbs and tormented her in various ways so that the dear child had no means of relief. More than once full of terror she said to the Sister in attendance that she felt a serpent winding around her from head to foot and striving to crush her.

From time to time Our loving Lord came to encourage and reassure her, and, allowing her to feel His presence He spoke Divine words to her: “Why my child instead of being intimidated by those attacks of thine enemy, do you not increase thy hope in Me? Humble thyself beneath My potent hand and let not temptation weary thee. Resist always, never yield and if the temptation lasts, continue thy resistance; and thus the battle will lead thee to victory.” On other occasions it was her Angel guardian who came to comfort her.


This saintly girl did not even bestow a thought on all that concerned the bodily pains and discomforts of her malady. She never showed that she was annoyed or weary, nor displayed the least sadness of countenance, but was always smiling and contented. She never seemed alarmed at the many varied crises in her sickness; nor did she ever allow those groans or sighs to escape her that excessive pain forces from the bravest sufferers even without their knowing it.

Recourse was had to the good nursing Sisters of St. Camillus de Lellis, and these with their usual charity took every care of the invalid and remained with her to the end. This is how one of these Sisters speaks of the extraordinary patience of the Servant of God: During all the time that I had the consolation of assisting dear Gemma in her last illness I never heard her complain. I only heard her at first repeat occasionally this ejaculation: ‘My Jesus, it is more than I can bear.’ And when I had reminded her that with the grace of God everything is possible, she never again used those words; but when any of her visitors moved to pity happened to say: ‘Poor child, it is more than she can bear,’ she instantly replied: ‘O yes I can still bear a little more.’”

Once the Sister attendant said to her: “And if Jesus were to give you your choice what would it be; to go at once to Paradise and cease to suffer or remain here to suffer when this would give greater glory to God?” She answered with animation: “Better to suffer than to go to Heaven when the pain is for Jesus and to give Him glory.”

Before losing her sight she used to read occasionally. Once her Aunt seeing a book in her hand asked: “What are you reading, Gemma?” I am reading, Aunt, the Preparation for Death. O Aunt, why don’t you also read it, for you are old? At all events I am preparing for death!” “But tell me, Gemma,” continued her Aunt, “do you regret to die?” Oh no,” she answered, “I have no longer any attachment to anything in this world.” [The book Gemma was reading, Preparation for Death, almost certainly refers to the famous work of that title by St. Alphonsus Liquori.]

We have come to Wednesday in Holy Week. Gemma seems in ecstasy, she raises her eyes from time to time and fixing her gaze on Heaven, cries with an expression of intense yearning: “Jesus! Jesus!” Then at a given hour she is rapt in ecstasy just as happened so often during her life; but only for a short time.

Towards ten o’clock in the morning of Holy Thursday, the lady friend who was with her, feeling that she herself was growing faint from fatigue and loss of sleep, resolved to go to her house close by to rest a little, but Gemma said to her: “Don’t leave me until I am nailed to the Cross, I have to be crucified with Jesus. He has said to me that His children have to be crucified.” She remained, and behold soon after the suffering child entered into full ecstasy, opened her arms by degrees and remained thus until nearly half past one. Her appearance was a mixture of grief, love, desolation, and tranquility. She never spoke, but yet her silence was most eloquent. She was in agony with Jesus Crucified.

She continued to suffer the agony of death during the whole of that day, and on Good Friday, and then Saturday morning. It seemed as if she would expire from moment to moment, submerged in an ocean of excruciating torments in her body, and much more so in her soul. About eight o’clock on Holy Saturday morning she received Extreme Unction in the full exercise of all her faculties, following all the prayers of the sacred rite with singular devotion, and striving her best, though with weak voice, to repeat the answers.

The greatest suffering of Our Lord in His Agony on the Cross was, according to the Saints, His apparent abandonment by His Eternal Father; add that abandonment, too truly real, by men. Of all this He Himself complained from the Cross, and Gemma in this also had to be like Him. It would naturally be asked with some surprise, why our dying Saint in her moments of greatest need was abandoned by her confessors and directors, and spiritual guides, and that only a few pious women stood by her moved rather by charitable sympathy at the sight of so much suffering than by the desire to be of assistance to her. But it was so; because God so willed in order to put a climax to the martyrdom and merits of His faithful Servant.

As soon as her last sickness had taken a violent form she asked to have me called by telegram; but on its being made known to her in spirit that God asked this additional sacrifice at her hands, she said no more about it. And when others reminded her of me, having shown by a modest smile that she bore me in her mind, she replied: “I seek for nothing more; I have made the sacrifice of everything and of everyone to God; now I prepare to die.”

God in His turn withdrew, and allowed not a ray of light to enter His Martyr’s mind nor a spark of consolation to move her heart. In fine wasted by the violence of her disease; crushed under the weight of immense desolation; tormented in all her faculties of soul and body by the ministers of hell; without comfort from Heaven or earth, this innocent soul raised her feeble voice and said: “Now it is indeed true that nothing more remains to me, Jesus, I recommend my poor soul to Thee . . . Jesus!”

It was the Consummatum est and the In manus tuas of Our Savior dying on the Cross. These were Gemma’s last words. The victim was offered, and nothing now remained but to breathe her last breath in completion of her sacrifice. Gemma seems absorbed in peaceful thought. Then quite suddenly, while all eyes are fixed on her angelic face still beautiful despite the ravages of such a sickness, she smiled a heavenly smile, and letting her head drop on one side ceased to live—just as the Gospel tells of Our Redeemer on the Cross. No one perceived that she was really dead; for besides having no specific agony, she underwent no muscular strain in breathing her last. There was no sigh of oppression or suffocation; her last movement was like a smile of salutation and nothing more, a bidding farewell to her innocent body. In a word, her death was truly the “sleep of the just” her birth to eternal life.

This blessed death happened an hour after midday on Holy Saturday, the 11th of April, 1903. Gemma had once said to her Aunt: “I have asked Jesus to let me die on a great solemnity: what a delightful thing to die on a great Feast!”


From The Life of Gemma Galgani, by Fr. Germanus of St. Stanislaus, Passionist, pp. 288-290, available from the Spirit Daily book store.

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Sunday, July 25, 2021

How a Saint Approaches Holy Communion.

It is a question of uniting two extremes; God Who is everything and the creature who is nothing; God Who is light and the creature who is darkness; God Who is holiness and the creature who is sin”


St. Gemma Galgani (1878 – 1903) exhibited in her short life of only 25 years almost every possible mystical and charismatic gift. She suffered the Passion of Christ from Thursday through Friday, received the stigmata, the crown of thorns, shoulder wound, bloody sweat, tears of blood, and levitated while in ecstasy. She frequently and familiarly spoke to and saw Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, her guardian angel and saints. The following is from the biography written by her spiritual Director, Father Germanus, who was a witness to many of these phenomena:


Let us examine more closely the culminating point of Gemma’s devotion—Holy Communion—in which precisely the Mystery of the Love of Jesus is accomplished. Would that she who so often disclosed to me the secrets of her soul on this subject would now enable me to relate adequately and exactly what she then told me of the fire that the Divine Spouse enkindled in her heart at the Holy Table.


It was her hunger and thirst for Holy Communion that made this young girl hover like a butterfly near the Tabernacle. Her heart longed for this Divine Food only. And we have seen that even when quite a child her ardent desire to make her first Communion almost brought her to death’s door. Now I add that this hunger and thirst, far from being satisfied by her daily Communion, kept on increasing until they consumed her whole being. 


“Every morning,” she said to me, “I go to Holy Communion; the greatest and only comfort I have, although I am in no wise provided with what is needed to worthily approach Jesus. The loving treatment that Jesus bestows on me every morning in the Holy Communion excites within me an unutterable sweetness and draws to itself all the weak affections of my miserable heart.” And then she exclaimed, “Behold O Lord, my heart and my soul; come Lord, I open my breast to Thee. Send in Thy Divine Fire; burn me, consume me, come and delay no longer; I would fain be the dwelling of all Thy fires.”


This desire grew stronger every evening, and, increasing every hour, sweetly tormented her all the night so as even to make her faint. Let us hear her describe it: “Last night and the night before while thinking of Holy Communion, I felt myself growing faint, and my heart was in commotion. Yesterday evening also before going to supper I said some prayers, among others this ejaculation: Grant, O Lord, that from this small supper, I may pass to enjoy Thy immense supper (the Blessed Eucharist) I stopped a few minutes to think of this and there and then, I felt forced towards Jesus”—(that is, rapt in ecstasy). The same thing happens to me whenever I think of Jesus, particularly when He invites me to receive Him, and when He tells me that He is coming to repose in my heart.”


This went so far that her confessor, in order that she might have a few hours’ sleep, and that her health might not suffer, felt bound to forbid her stopping willfully during the night to think of her Communion of the following morning. 


She was so strongly impressed by the greatness of the action to be performed at the Altar that every other thought vanished from her mind. That will explain why she prepared so carefully for it. “It is a question,” she said, “of uniting two extremes; God Who is everything and the creature who is nothing; God Who is light and the creature who is darkness; God Who is holiness and the creature who is sin. It is a question of taking part at the Table of the Lord. There cannot be then enough preparation for it.”


Such thoughts made Gemma tremble; so much so, that if her great faith had not given her courage, although full of burning desires she would never have approached the Divine Table. In time of spiritual desolation as well as of heavenly unction, and even in the midst of the most intimate communication of the Divine Lover, this struggle agitated her incessantly, causing her intense suffering so that she even complained of it lovingly to our Lord:


Yes, I know, Jesus, it is better to receive Thee than to look at Thee, but I am afflicted because I feel that were I to prepare myself for years and years like the Angels, yet I should never be worthy to receive Thee. O Jesus, it is sweet to confess my misery before Thee. Help me, O Lord! Ah! I can still cast myself at Thy feet. I still love the Faith, and a thousand times I repeat and will continue to repeat, it is always better to receive Thee than to look at Thee.” 


From The Life of Gemma Galgani, by Fr. Germanus of St. Stanislaus, Passionist, pp. 288-290, available from the Spirit Daily book store.

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Friday, July 23, 2021

Pope Francis Falls Into His Own Trap


Here are some excerpts from a communication of July 22 from the Superior General of the SSPX, Fr. Don Davide Pagliarani. This letter is not long and is worth taking a few minutes to read. In it he explains, in the third excerpt presented below, why I believe that Pope Francis has fallen into his own trap. In his attempt to marginalize the Ancient Tridentine Mass, demoralize its supporters, and to foster its extinction, he has only made its adherents stronger and more committed. Of course the Missal of 1962 used by the SSPX is not truly the Tridentine Mass, but it is close enough as far as the progressivists are concerned.  

Full text of letter Here.

“First of all, we must remember that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the continuation in time of the most bitter struggle that has ever existed: the battle between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. This combat culminated at Calvary in the triumph of Our Blessed Lord. It was for this struggle and it was for this victory that he became incarnate. Since Our Lord's victory was through the Cross and through His Precious Blood, it is understandable that its perpetuation will also be marked by conflicts and contradictions.”

“This battle that has been waged for the past fifty years, which has just seen a highly significant event on July 16th is not a simple war between two rites: it is indeed a war between two different and opposing conceptions of the Catholic Church and of Christian life - conceptions that are absolutely irreducible and incompatible with each other. In paraphrasing Saint Augustin, one could say that the two Masses have built two cities: the Mass of All Times has built a Christian city; the New Mass seeks to build a humanist and secular city.”

“Since Almighty God has allowed all this, it is certainly for a greater good. Firstly for ourselves, who have the undeserved good fortune of knowing the Tridentine Mass and who can benefit from it! We possess a treasure with a value we do not always appreciate, and which we perhaps preserve too much out of simple habit. When something precious is attacked or scorned, we begin to appreciate better its true value. May this "shock", provoked by the harshness of the official texts of July 16th serve to renew, deepen and rediscover our attachment to the Tridentine Mass!”

“It is to Our Lady of Sorrows that we entrust these intentions. It is to her that we address our prayers, since no one has penetrated deeper than Our Blessed Lady, the mystery of the Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ and of His victory on the Cross. There is no one greater than Mary who has been so intimately associated with His sufferings and His triumph.”

Menzingen, July 22nd, 2021
Feast of Saint Mary Magdalen
Don Davide Pagliarani, Superior General 



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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Ten Commandments of the Great Reset.

Sometime around 1979 or 1980, a “small group of loyal Americans,” whose identity remains unknown to this day, commissioned a granite company in Elberton, Georgia, to build a monument reminiscent of Stonehenge. Called the “Georgia Guidestones, they are comprised of five granite slabs almost twenty feet tall, which are capped by another large slab. Written on the slabs in eight contemporary languages are ten rules, or guidelines, which some contend are the basis of the New World Order. (See online Smithsonian article from 2013). Here are the guidelines, which one conspiracy theorist describes as the outline for a “totalitarian tribal government.”

  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.

  2. Guide reproduction wisely—improving fitness and diversity.

  3. Unite humanity with a living new language.

  4. Rule passion—faith—tradition—and all things with tempered reason.

  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.

  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.

  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.

  8. Balance personal rights with social duties.

  9. Prize truth—beauty—love—seeking harmony with the infinite.

    10. Be not a cancer on the Earth – Leave room for nature – Leave room for nature.

The monument has recently been in the news, at least in Italy, when on June 2 an Italian language website reported that none other than Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano cited them in a talk, describing them as the new ten commandments for the “Great Reset.” Referring to the first guideline, the article reports this about Vigano’s speech (thanks to Google Translate:)

“And in this regard he mentions the "Guidestones", the monument of the New World Order in Georgia, in which the new "10 commandments" are written. The first point is in fact engraved: "Keep humanity under 500 million inhabitants". ViganĂ² miming states: "Does this remind you of something?", Evidently referring to the widespread theory that that elite would have in mind to decimate humanity with ongoing experimental gene therapies of which no one is able to explain the adverse events in the medium and long term term. And he cites again in the introduction the famine with which Stalin exterminated millions of Ukrainians.”

I find it interesting that there is no direct mention of God in these rules, other than a brief reference to “the infinite” in number nine, which is nothing but New-Age-speak. And number two, what else is it but a program of Darwinian eugenics, so that only the fittest and the best survive. Number four buries faith under the dominion of reason, which is contrary to Catholic teaching which holds that "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth." --Pope St. John Paul II.

The secularists can make their own Godless rules for life if they wish, but they are destined to become empty, useless, and even damaging. One can do nothing without the Lord, for in John 15:5, Jesus says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” Further, Our Lady at Fatima promised that her Immaculate Heart will Triumph. So don’t fear the Great Reset or whatever else is planned, it will fail! 


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Saturday, May 22, 2021

Converted at the mere sight of St. Bernadette of Lourdes.

I hope this selection will touch you with grace as it did me. It is from one of the earliest books about St. Bernadette and Lourdes, and was written and compiled by the Sisters of the Mother House of her Order where the Saint was cloistered: the Sisters of Charity and Christian Instruction of Nevers, France. In the book, one of St. Bernadette’s close friends from Lourdes relates the story of the time she herself personally witnessed a conversion effected by the mere sight of Bernadette.
“It was in 1862; we had staying at our hotel an English Catholic family. Their man-servant, a Catholic himself, was married to an Irish Protestant. The husband, a fervent believer, desiring above all things the conversion of his wife, went immediately upon his arrival at Lourdes to see Bernadette, and asked her prayers to this end. He had previously told me of his desire and asked my prayers for the same intention. One day he came to introduce his wife to me. She was a charming person, very ladylike, and having apparently received an education superior to her station.

“Having made her acquaintance, I invited her to take a walk to the Grotto with myself and the servants. She made no difficulty about accepting my invitation. When we arrived at the sacred rock, we all of us knelt in prayer, herself excepted. I purposely appeared to take no notice of her attitude, but when when we were on the point of leaving, I offered her some of the water to drink. She refused politely, whereupon I said: ‘If you do not care to drink, at least dip your finger in it and make the sign of the cross.’

“ ‘Please do not insist,’ she replied; ‘for I should be sorry to have to refuse a second time.’

“These words were spoken with such decision that I thought it prudent to press the matter no further.

“On our way home we were caught in a terrible thunderstorm; the rain fell in torrents, and we could find no shelter, for, at the time of which I write, there was no habitation on the road leading to the Grotto. ‘Madame J.’ said I, ‘you will be the recipient of a shower of graces no less abundant than the rain which is now falling on us.’ I was then bold enough to tackle the religious question, and reproached her gently for having refused to drink at the Grotto and even to make the sign of the cross. After having raised sundry objections, she added: ‘Mademoiselle, I am seeking for light. I promise you that when I see it, I shall not voluntarily shut my eyes.’

“On the following day it was commonly reported in town that Bernadette was at the point of death and that she had already received the Last Sacraments. As I desired intensely that Madame J. should see her, I proposed that she should accompany me to the Hospital to pay her a visit. She refused absolutely to do so, saying: ‘I have not the slightest desire to see Bernadette; she may be already dead, and, what is more, I have no time to spare; I have to leave almost immediately for Pau.’

“ ‘You may have no desire to see Bernadette,’ I replied, ‘but I have no hesitation in telling you that I am extremely anxious for you to do so; If you wish to do me a favour, you will consent to accompany me.’

“Her natural politeness, or perhaps it would be wiser to say the grace of God, got the better of her opposition and we set out for the hospital with her husband.

“The patient had been strictly forbidden to receive visitors, but the dear Sisters had not the heart to turn me away. We reached the dormitory at the very moment when Bernadette was seized with a dreadful spasm.

“Two sisters were supporting her and she had every appearance of being on the point of expiring, for she could no longer breathe. ‘Come,’ said Madame J., ‘let us go, you can see very well that she is no longer in a condition to speak.’ ‘No matter,’ said I, ‘if we cannot speak to her, we can at least see her.’ So saying, I led her to the foot of the sufferer’s bed, where she remained as if rooted to the spot.

“As soon as Bernadette was a little recovered, I went and kissed her. As I left her side, I saw my friend spring forwards and throw herself on her knees at Bernadette’s side. There she burst into tears, burying her face in her hands as if she were ashamed to betray her emotion.

“Bernadette, who up to that moment had said nothing, turned her head and said encouragingly: ‘Oh! Madame, please get up and stop crying; I cannot bear to see you so distressed.’

“I drew up a chair and begged Madame J. to take it, which she did, covering her face with her hands and continuing to weep bitterly.

“ ‘I should love,’ said Bernadette, ‘to give our friend a little souvenir; pass me my crucifix and my medals: now make her choose what she would prefer.’ My poor friend, distracted with grief, had paid not attention to what had been said. ‘Madame,’ said I, ‘Bernadette wishes to give you a souvenir and asks you to choose the object you wish.’ She rose abruptly, and falling again upon her knees, exclaimed: ‘No! No! I want nothing; I don’t deserve anything; I am not worthy of it.’ ‘Surely,’ said I, ‘you do not desire to hurt her feelings by refusing what she is so glad to offer you.’ ‘If I must accept,’ she replied, ‘let her choose for me.’

“Bernadette selected a cross and a medal, and with a tenderness that no words can render, added: ‘The cross is for you, Madame; the medal is to remind you constantly of me.’

My friend’s tears and sobs began afresh. Taking advantage of her deep emotion I reminded her of her words of the day previous. ‘You are seeking light, it is now shining clearly before your eyes; do not close them, but open your heart to the action of grace which has so markedly singled you out. Yesterday you refused to join with me in prayer; will you now consent to go down to the chapel with the Sisters? We are all going to pray for you.’ ‘Ah! Mademoiselle,’ was her reply, ‘I can refuse you nothing: I am ready to do whatever you wish.’

We took leave of Bernadette, who was greatly affected; the poor child did not suspect what God had accomplished through her agency.

“Not long after the young Irishwoman abjured Protestantism and became a fervent Catholic. Two years later God called her to Himself.

“In heaven, where she now is, she must bless the day which witnessed her meeting with Bernadette on earth, for it is certain that God employed the favorite Child of Mary as the instrument of her conversion.”

From Bernadette of Lourdes, first English edition 1914; St. Pius X Press Inc., 2012; pp. 170-173.

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