Our Lady Of Lourdes
( Originally Published 1883 )
Some miracles which were performed at Lourdes are mentioned in an article in the "Nineteenth Century " for November. Those which are given below are taken from a book entitled, " Notre Dame de Lourdes," by Henri Lasserre, and the ninety editions which this book has gone through have been perused and believed by thousands of persons, I dare say no more inclined to credulity than Huxley or Tyndal, but who are not inclined to reject the supernatural when the facts are proved by such evidence as au intelligent enquirer is bound to accept.
M. Lasserre tells us that at a spot indicated to a little child by the vision of the Immaculate Conception, a spring of water miraculously flowed, where there had been nothing but the rock and dry sand before ; that it has flowed ever since, and still continues to flow, in a stream about the thickness of a child's arm. He tells us that the fact of there being no spring there before is as notorious to thousands of the inhabitants of Lourdes, and the neighbourhood, as the existence of the spring is now patent to every visitor to the grotto.
Of the hundreds of miracles which have taken place at this healing stream, and which have been judicially enquired into, and attested by witnesses of every rank and station of life, it will be sufficient here to mention that which occurred to Louis Bourriette. This man was a stone quarrier, and by the accidental explosion of a mine he had received a permanent injury to his right eye called an amarosis. This was pronounced by the doctors to be incurable, but by the application of the water from this miraculous source he was completely cured. This was incredible to the Doctor Dejons, who had examined the eye, who held up to his view a paper on which he had written these words : " Bouriette has an incurable amarosis, and he will never be cured." These words, to the astonishment of the doctor, were read by Bouriette with a loud voice and without the least hesitation. The doctor was a man of science, and a conscientious man. He recognised and proclaimed without hesitation that the sudden cure of an incurable disease was the work of a superior power.
This miracle of course attracted the attention of the people of Lourdes, who knew Bourriette so well from his face having been disfigured by the explosion, and the truth of it was tested by every means that ingenuity could devise ; and Henry Lasserre says : " The written conclusions of these two physicians, who, as well as Louis Bouriette, were still living, were recorded by them in two separate detailed reports, which were asked for later on by the episcopal commission, charged to examine into the occurrences at Lourdes."
It seems impossible for anyone who is prepared to believe in the existence of facts, on good and sufficient evidence, to doubt that these miraculous occurrences actually took place.
The miracles which have been related above are drawn from such a number of well-authenticated ones that they must be regarded as illustrations only of the marvellous power inherent in the Church ; and which has in every age been exercised in confirmation of her doctrines and her divine mission. There is scarcely one of the canonized saints about whom marvels as great have not been juridically proved, on the testimony of eye-witnesses, before such saint could be enrolled in her calendar. These miracles are subjected to the severest tests of hostile criticism before they are recognised as such—not the least searching of these tests being also applied to the character for heroic sanctity of those who perform them.
The only marvels which in the present day challenge the faith or the credulity of the Protestant world are the necromantic displays of the Spiritualist, produced at the séance or on the platform, and which, from their very nature and the miserable trifles with which they deal, cannot have God for their author. Yet they are paraded before thousands both here and in America.
Although nothing is more certain than that God will not force His truths upon those who have not the moral fitness to see them—although He is the rewarder only of those who diligently seek Him—and although the saints, like their Divine Master, do not many miracles because of unbelief, I shall scarcely be surprised to find, as the desire for the marvellous has its proper as well as its forbidden gratification, that there are still many of good faith in this miserable age of doubt and growing infidelity, and to whom such evidences as these miracles present have not before been offered, who will be pleased to find that in every age, since the time of our Lord, there have been, and are, prodigies in the Catholic Church, attesting in no doubtful manner the presence of the same Divine power, to whom, as well as to whose servants, the elements are still obedient, as they were to Elias and Eliseus ; and whose energy a few thousand years has had no effect in diminishing, when the faith, the simplicity or the necessities of His dear children, call for His almighty aid.