Skip to comments.Lourdes
Posted on 12/24/2007 7:27:50 AM PST by stfassisi
By Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
Just at the turn of the century, there was a woman married in Paris, just a good, ordinary Catholic girl, to an atheist doctor, Dr. Felix Leseur. He attempted to break down the faith of his wife and she reacted and began studying her faith. In 1905, she was taken ill and tossed on a bed of constant pain until August 1914. When she was dying, she said to her husband, "Felix, when I am dead, you will become a Catholic and a Dominican priest."
"Elizabeth, you know my sentiments. I've sworn hatred of God, I shall live in the hatred and I shall die in it."
She repeated her words and passed away. She died in her husband's arms at the early age of 47.
Rummaging through her papers, Felix found her will. She wrote:
"In 1905, I asked almighty God to send me sufficient sufferings to purchase your soul. On the day that I die, the price will have been paid. Greater love than this no woman has than she who lay down her life for her husband."
Dr. Leseur, the atheist, dismissed her will as the fancies of a pious woman. He decided to write a book against Lourdes. He went down to Lourdes to write against Our Lady.
However, as he looked up into the face of the statue of Mary, he received the great gift of faith. So total, so complete was it, that he never had to go through the process of juxtaposition and say, "how will I answer this or that difficulty?"
He saw it all. At once.
The then reigning pontiff was Benedict XV. Then came World War I. Hearing of the conversion of Dr. Leseur, Pope Benedict XV sent for him. Dr. Leseur went in the company of Fr. Jon Vinnea, orator of Notre Dame. Dr. Leseur recounted his conversion and said that he wanted to become a Dominican priest. Holy Father said, "I forbid you. You must remain in the world and repair the harm which you have done."
The Holy Father then talked to Fr. Vinnea and then again to Dr. Leseur and said:
"I revoke my decision. Whatever Fr. Vinnea tells you to do, you may do."
In the year 1924, during Lent, I, Fulton J. Sheen, made my retreat in the Dominican monastery in Belgium. Four times each day, and 45 minutes in length, I made my retreat under the spiritual guidance of Father Felix Leseur of the Order of Preachers, Catholic Dominican priest, who told me this story. 
Nota Bene: The cause of Elisabeth Leseur's canonization is proceeding in Rome. Fr. Leseur died a priest in 1950
Wonderful true story!
“However, as he looked up into the face of the statue of Mary, he received the great gift of faith. So total, so complete was it, that he never had to go through the process of juxtaposition and say, “how will I answer this or that difficulty?”
Time and again I have heard similar stories, even from my own wife; prayers before an Icon of Panagia, at an Akathist during Great Lent, always the same and always a miracle.
On a trip to Lourdes we filled a plastic bottle with water. This was about 10 years ago. My wife just showed me the water and it is still clear. Maybe this is not unusual but it sure seems that way. Also amazing is the water dries about as soon as you leave the bath. Merry Christmas.
Thank God that He had His own plans for Elizabeth and Felix.
She loved God so much that she offered up her sufferings to save her husband’s soul and that led to thousands of others being saved from atheism by reading the book published by her husband.
You might want to read it:
“Time and again I have heard similar stories, even from my own wife; prayers before an Icon of Panagia, at an Akathist during Great Lent, always the same and always a miracle.”
My favorite of this sort is:
“At the moment when the Blessed Virgin made a sign with her hand, the veil fell from my eyes; not one veil only, but all the veils that were wrapped around me disappeared, just as snow melts beneath the rays of the sun.”
“It is well known that I never opened a religious book and had never read a page of the Bible, and that the dogma of original sin, which it is either denied or forgotten by modern Jews, had never for a single moment occupied my thoughtsindeed, I doubt I had ever heard its name. How did I arrive at a knowledge of it? I know not. All I know is that when I entered that church I was profoundly ignorant of everything, and that when I came out I saw everything clearly and distinctly.”
I think she did just fine! Marriage is a sacrament and a call, IMHO, and she lived in obedience to the nature of marriage and in that state offered herself as an instrument for God’s saving work. What’s not to like?
Υπεραγία Θεοτόκε, σώσον ημάς!
A Blessed Feast of the Nativity to you and yours, Vlad!
Apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes
Thursday 25 March 1858
For the next twenty one days, Bernadette did not go to the Grotto in the early morning as she had been doing until then - she had not felt the call within herself which was her summons. But surely the matter had not reached a satisfactory conclusion - after all, the Lady had still not identified Herself, despite the child’s repeated requests.
However, the child did go to the Grotto - but alone. She would go in the late afternoon and spend long hours in prayer and contemplation. But unlike the days of the visions, Bernadette would not kneel in her usual place; instead, she would go deep into the large rock vault at the base of the Grotto. There, cloaked in the gloom of the place, she would pour out her soul to the Lady of the Apparitions - whom she saw with the eyes of her soul, if not her body. By this time, some pious people in Lourdes had set up a small altar beneath the niche - upon an old table, they had placed a small statue of the Blessed Virgin, surrounded with flowers and candles. In fact, candles burned all over the Grotto. Whenever people were gathered at the place, they would begin to sing hymns to the Queen of Heaven. Nearly all of the pilgrims there would leave a small monetary donation, which would later be used to carry out the requests of the Lady. Strangely, none of this money was ever stolen - although it was left there with no-one to watch over it.
On the evening on March 24th, Bernadette told her parents of the feeling she had that she was being called to the Grotto once more by an interior impulse - she intended to return there in the morning. It had been a long time since the Lady had visited her - more than two weeks! How long that night was - try as she might, the child was unable to sleep. As soon as the first light of dawn began to pierce the darkness of night, she rose and quickly dressed.
There were a number of people present there at the Grotto already; it seemed they too felt there may be a fresh occurrence that day. But why today, after the silence of two weeks? That was simple to answer - today was the feast of the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary - the day he saluted Her as ‘Full of Grace’.
So perhaps ....
Bernadette arrived at the Grotto at five in the morning, with her blessed candle in her hand. Her parents were with her. Even before she reached the rock, she could see the wondrous light filling the niche, in which stood her beautiful Lady.
“She was there”, said
Bernadette, “tranquil and smiling and watching the crowd just as a fond mother watches her children. When I knelt down before Her, I begged Her pardon for coming late. Still kindly towards me, She made me a sign with Her head that I had no need to apologise. Then I told Her of all my love and regard for Her and how happy I was to see Her again. And after pouring out my heart to Her I took up my beads”.
At this moment, the Figure bathed in the heavenly light moved from the niche down into the larger vault. Rising to her feet, Bernadette went into the vault to be closer to the Lady. She remained standing in front of Her and a conversation followed. Soon afterward, the oval of light moved back up into the niche once more and prayers were resumed.
Bernadette herself describes the conversation and events which followed this moment -
“Whilst I was praying, the thought of asking Her name came to my mind with such persistence that I could think of nothing else. I feared to be presumptuous in repeating a question She had always refused to answer and yet something compelled me to speak. At last, under an irresistible impulsion, the words fell from my mouth and I begged the Lady to tell me who She was.
“The Lady did as She had always done before; She bowed Her head and smiled but She did not reply.
“I cannot say why, but I felt myself bolder and asked Her again to graciously tell me Her name; however, She only smiled and bowed as before, still remaining silent.
“Then once more, for the third time, clasping my hands and confessing myself to be unworthy of the great favour I was asking of Her, I again made my request.
“The Lady was standing above the rose bush, in a position very similar to that shown on the Miraculous Medal. At my third request, Her face became very serious and She seemed to bow down in an attitude of humility. Then She joined Her hands and raised them to Her breast. She looked up to Heaven.
“Then slowly opening Her hands and leaning towards me, She said to me in a voice vibrating with emotion
‘I AM THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION’ (Que Soy Era Immaculada Conceptiou)
“She smiled again, spoke no more, and disappeared smiling”.
After the vision, Bernadette asked her aunt Lucille to allow her to keep the blessed candle which she had used throughout the Apparitions. Lucile agreed. Having obtained the necessary permission, Bernadette placed the candle between some of the rocks beneath the niche, where it slowly burned itself out.
Lucile asked why Bernadette had wanted to do this. She replied -
“The Lady asked me if I would leave the candle to burn at the Grotto - as it was your candle, I could not leave it there without your permission”.
Leaving the Grotto, the child was laughing and smiling and quietly repeating some words to herself. Some neighbours from Lourdes came toward her and asked the cause of her happiness and what it was that she was saying. The child replied -
“Oh, I’m repeating the name the Lady has just this moment given me, for fear that I might forget it. She said to me, ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’ .”
The child was mispronouncing the word ‘Conception’ and had to be corrected.
From the Grotto, the little one went directly to the Presbytery - still smiling, still repeating the words which already were spreading so quickly throughout Lourdes.
She was still repeating them when she entered the garden of the Presbytery, where Abbe Peyramale was praying his Office. He asked what she wanted today, but the child did not hear his question.
“What’s that you’re saying, you conceited little thing!”
” ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’ it’s the Lady who has just said these words to me!”
He asked if she knew what the words meant. She replied that she did not know their meaning.
“I see you are still being deceived. How can you say things you don’t understand?” he asked.
“All the way from the Grotto I have been repeating the words ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’ for fear that I would forget them.”
“Good!” added the Priest, “I shall consider what is to be done” and he entered the house, leaving the child and her aunt standing in the garden.
Later that day, the Priest admitted to a neighbour the effect of the child’s words on him
“I was so amazed by it that I felt myself stagger and I was on the verge of falling.”
Perhaps it isn’t an excellent point.
The Psalms tells us “whatever God wills, He does”.
It seems that in this case, He willed that the atheist should come to him—one that especially needed saving.
Note also that the “saved” person went on to provide God’s message to others.
This is not a story of poor choices. It is a moving story of God working in someone’s life.
As God says in Jeremiah “I have plans for you”.
We don’t have to be like the older brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son. Instead we need to always remember that there is rejoicing in heaven when a soul is saved.
Human choices alone do not become the criteria for saving grace.
I, too, have been to Lourdes.
It is true—the water always remains clear and undefiled even many years later.
It is also true that when you come out of the waters, you do not need drying.
It is also true that though thousands of people may have been dipped in the waters every day, that at the end of the day, the water always tests pure.
God alone knows why these things are true.
How could a Catholic priest allow an apparently “good” Catholic girl to marry an avowed Atheist?
Also, what kind of example is it to encourage people to marry heathens in the hope of converting them? All of you reading this who support what this lady did ought be to longing for your daughters to marry ungodly men.
I don’t get it. Something good can come from something bad, but this should never be encouraged and it was not/is not godly.
God never wanted any of his people to unite with Baal to bring them to Him. As Christians, we must be equally yoked and marry Believers.
This lady did something grotesque before God, but in the end, it appears God made something good of it.
We can never be grateful enough for what the Lord has planned for us. We always seem to want everything in black and white, but God’s ways cannot be fathomed by us, no matter how we may try.
ConservativeMind, you may have jumped in with an opinion without all the facts. It usually doesn’t work that way.
And the rush to judgment seems unnecessarily harsh.
Yes, He made something good of it.
Let it rest there.
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