30 Days with Mary – Day 17

Bernadette’s smile turned a nonbeliever into a believer

In 1858, Our Lady came from Heaven to Lourdes, where she said to Bernadette Soubirous: “I am the Immaculate Conception!” This occurred four years after Pius IX defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

On a certain occasion, an atheist man was strolling around Lourdes around the time of Our Lady’s apparition. He laughed to himself because he found it amusing that people said the Virgin Mary had smiled at a young girl named Bernadette.

Just to make fun and catch young Bernadette in a lie, the man went to the Soubirous’ house, where he found Bernadete sitting at the door darning some socks. Pretending to be interested, he asked Bernadette about the apparitions. With simplicity and conviction, Bernadette told the man all about the apparitions.

When Bernadette mentioned Our Lady’s smile, the man quickly protested that he could not believe the apparitions were true. Bernadette’s face became both stern and sad. She said to him, “So do you think I lied? “Well, I will try to imitate Our Lady’s smile,” she continued.

Bernadett slowly stood up and folded her hands. A heavenly reflection lit up her face, and a divine smile shown across her mortal lips. The man was amazed to see such a heavenly smile.

Saint Bernadette was still smiling as the man fell to his knees, overwhelmed by the smile of the young visionary.

Throughout the remainder of his life, the man never ceased to tell everyone that he would never forget that divine smile.


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Learn more about the history of the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima.