Ave Maria Meditations
On February 11, 1858, going with two other girls to fetch firewood, Bernadette and her companions came to the river Gave but she could not cross as the other girls did. The Saint relates what happened next:
Bernadette relates the incident: “As we could not go any further, my two companions went through the water in front of the Grotto, so I was left alone on the other side. I asked the two others to help me throw stones into the water to see if I could cross without taking off my shoes and stockings, but it was no good. So I came back in front of the Grotto.
Hardly had I taken off my first stocking when I heard a noise as if a sudden wind blew. I turned my head and looked at the meadow and I saw that the trees were still. I went on taking off my stockings and again I heard the same sound, and as I lifted up my head to look at the Grotto, I saw a Lady in white.
I was a little frightened and, thinking it must be an illusion, I rubbed my eyes, but in vain. I still saw the Lady. Then I put my hand in my pocket and took out my rosary. I wanted to make the sign of the Cross but I could not lift my hand to my forehead. Then I was seized by a great fear. The Lady took up the rosary she held in her hands and she made the Sign of the Cross. I tried again to make it and this time I could. My great fear went as soon as I had made the Sign of the Cross.
I knelt down and said the rosary before this beautiful Lady. When the rosary was ended she beckoned me to go nearer but I did not dare to. Then she disappeared. I set about taking off my other stocking so as to cross the narrow stream in front of the Grotto and went home.”
For more of the story see http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/lourbern.htm