A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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to a call from the side of the rocks. She made a sign of assent and began to walk once more, but this time towards the grotto, not towards the ' Gave \ to the left corner of the excavations. After going about three-quarters of the way she stopped and cast a troubled look around, raised her head as if to question the Lady, and then bent down and began to scratch the earth. The cavity which she hollowed out became full of water, and she drank of it and washed her face in it. When the bystanders saw her come away with muddied features they immediately concluded that she was out of her mind. That afternoon, however, people who revisited the spot noticed what they had not seen before, a little stream of water, flowing down the hillside and increasing in volume every moment. This is the fountain which flows there to this day.
Lourdes is situated in a country where springs abound. The soil in the grotto of Massabieille had always been damp and plants which require a great deal of moisture grew there. In the lower part of the sandy floor, which was higher at the back of the grotto than at the entrance, there had always been a pool plainly to be seen. In 1879 Abbe Richard, a famous hydrographist, who spent a week at Lourdes examining the springs of the district, said that if he had seen the Massabieille rock and the little hill above it he would have expected to have found water there ; and even if he had never heard of the ' Appearances ' or of the spring, and had come by the railway which passes the grotto a few hundred metres away, he would have said that there was a spring of water there. The spring was a typical phenomenon of the district and, as a consequence, Abbe Richard came to the conclusion that the miracle lay in its discovery by Bernadette. This term is only justified, however, if it be realized that what is meant