Seventeenth Apparition – Wednesday 7 April 1858

Bernadette three days after Easter was again to feel an inner call to go once more to the grotto. She walked to the Grotto with a candle in her hand and the regular crowd of onlookers observed as Bernadette went into an ecstasy. There was silence until Dr Dozous, a sceptic, forced his way noisily through the crowd to be at the visionary’s side “in the name of science.”

Dr Dozous observed that the candle Bernadette held burned right down to the wick and that the flames flickered around Bernadette’s fingers for some ten minutes. When the ecstasy was over, he carefully examined her fingers, and was astonished to find that she had not been harmed in any way and that she was never aware of the flames. Dr Dozous was converted from a sceptic to a believer and supporter of the apparitions not to mention an important witness. He departed for Commissioner Jacomet’s office to record what he had seen in writing.

“Bernadette seemed to be even more absorbed than usual in the Appearance upon which her gaze was riveted. I witnessed, as did also every one else there present, the fact which I am about to narrate. She was on her knees saying with fervent devotion the prayers of her Rosary which she held in her left hand while in her right was a large blessed candle, alight. The child was just beginning to make the usual ascent on her knees when suddenly she stopped and, her right hand joining her left, the flame of the big candle passed between the fingers of the latter. Though fanned by a fairly strong breeze, the flame produced no effect upon the skin which it was touching. Astonished at this strange fact, I forbade anyone there to interfere, and taking my watch in my hand, I studied the phenomenon attentively for a quarter of an hour. At the end of this time Bernadette, still in her ecstasy, advanced to the upper part of the Grotto, separating her hands. The flame thus ceased to touch her left hand. Bernadette finished her prayer and the splendour of the transfiguration left her face. She rose and was about to quit the Grotto when I asked her to show me her left hand. I examined it most carefully, but could not find the least trace of burning anywhere upon it. I then asked the person who was holding the candle to light it again and give it to me. I put it several times in succession under Bernadette’s left hand but she drew it away quickly, saying ‘You are burning me!’. I record this fact just as I have seen it without attempting to explain it. Many persons who were present at the time can confirm what I have said.” – Dr Dozous

The Bishop and the civil authorities again ordered Bernadette to keep away from the Grotto and she returned to a near as possible normal life away from the turbulence that existed all around her in Lourdes. Things were looking up for the Soubirous family, who at last were able to leave the Cachot and Bernadette carried on completing her catechism and finally received her first Holy Communion on June 3rd 1858.

Bernadette received many visitors during this time and repeated endlessly the events to the eager listeners.