Saturday, 3 June 2006
Ruth Harris, in her excellent book on Lourdes examines how St Bernadette's description of the apparition was altered by later commentators. St Bernadette said that the "young girl" was no taller than herself. St Bernadette was 1.40m tall. Bernadette also said that she resembled a local child of about 12. Harris shows how conventional imagery of Mary and the difficulty of thinking of Mary except as a Mother has obscured the girlish character of Bernadette's Aquero, the patois word for cela (roughly "that thing").
The picture shown above from the Rosary Basilica is quite disturbing at first sight - it doesn't seem to be at all like other representations of Our Lady. But perhaps it captures something that the others miss.