Bernadette Soubiros, a 14 year old local girl is reported to have seen visions of a lady dressed in white who then told her to dig a hole in the ground, which she did. Water then sprung from the hole, the location of which has developed over the last 160 years into the pilgrimage site of Lourdes in the Pyrenees region of France. Lourdes is today visited by over five million people a year to bathe in or drink from the holy water which is said to have amazing healing powers.
The students reported the events surrounding the visions of the Virgin Mary in 1858, and then included “quotes” from eminent scholars in the field with their imagined views on the subject. For example, Sigmund Freud, the famous psychologist dismissed the experiences as “an illusion that derives from people’s psychological needs” whilst William James, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, said that he would be very keen to speak to Bernadette about her vision to include it in his forthcoming book about Religious Experience. “Bernadette has experienced union with something larger than herself and from this union she may find her greatest peace”.
Thanks to Mrs Bradley (Alison that is!) for this piece.