While Our Blessed Mother doesn’t appear very much in the Bible, we have received the great gift of her presence here on earth many times. Through these apparitions we can hear her words, concerns, hear how much she loves us, what she wants for and expects from us, and how we can be better children to her and to the Lord.
That being said, I encourage you to learn more about the Marian apparitions. Here, I only want to tell a small anecdote about one of the visionaries who saw Our Blessed Mother, and the beauty of Her smile.
In 1858 in the small mountain village of Lourdes, Our Lady appeared to a young girl named Bernadette, a poor shepherdess who was collected sticks by the river one day. Right away, the young girl was acclaimed by everyone, receiving unwanted attention, both in her favour and against her.
Just after the last apparition (there were 18 in all), she was mending a pair of socks when an atheist came to visit her, with the intention of catching her in her lies. He was the Count of Broussard, and we hear from his own words about his time with the girl:
I went to the Soubirous' home and found Bernadette on the doorstep busy darning stockings. After long questioning about the Apparitions I said to her: 'Lastly, how did she smile, this beautiful Lady?' The little shepherdess stared at me with wonder; then after a moment's silence: 'Oh, sir, you would have to come from Heaven itself to reproduce that smile.' 'Could you not repeat it for me? I am an unbeliever and I don't believe in your apparitions.' The child's face clouded over. 'Then, sir, you think I am a liar.'
I felt disarmed. No, Bernadette was no liar, and I was on the point of going down on my knees to beg her pardon. Then she went on: 'As you are a sinner, I shall repeat the Blessed Virgin's smile for you.' The child got up very slowly, joined her hands and gave a heavenly smile such as I have never seen on any mortal lips. Her face lit up with a dazzling brilliance of light. She smiled again with her eyes raised heavenwards. I remained motionless before her, convinced that I had seen the Virgin's smile on the face of the visionary.
Since then I have treasured this heavenly memory in the depths of my soul. I have lost my wife and my two daughters. Yet it seems to me that I am not alone in this world. I live with the Virgin's smile."
Hearing this anecdote, we can use it to ask Our Blessed Mother for two graces:
1. So She smiles at us. Especially in that part of your heart that most needs it. Ask her to strengthen you by smiling there.
2. That, like St. Bernadette, you also can be somone who transmits Our Lady. May She be able to smile at her children through you.
My name is Sr. Michelle María of the Open Side of Jesus. Being a practicing catholic my whole life, I thought I was doing "pretty good." Then I met the Home of the Mother and realized that the Lord doesn't call us to be good, but to be saints. For me, that meant becoming a Servant Sister. At 22, I began this blog to share what I learned with others who've begun to see that "being good" isn't good enough.
THE HOME OF THE MOTHER YOUTH | MISSION 3
"May the tender love that you feel for the Mother of God urge you to radiate the Christian virtues in the world around you."
- St. John Paul II to the Home of the Mother Youth August 28, 1985