I have not seen Our Lady but I experience the same sensations at the grotto that I received at my conversion.Servant of God Hermann Cohen
Augustine-Mary of the Blessed Sacrament, O.C.D.
While Hermann Cohen was engrossed with the foundations at Tarasteix and Lyon in the summer of 1858, his friend, the famous Ultramontane lawyer and journalist Louis Veuillot was on a visit to the health spa at Bagnères. He was extremely influential and something of a prize-fighter in the conservative Catholic cause.
Like Cohen, Veuillot experienced a deep conversion from an irreligious lifestyle some years previously. He passed through Lourdes during the month of July and spoke to the Abbé Peyramale, Bernadette’s parish priest. After initial hostility, the priest had been won over by Bernadette’s sincerity, as had the local bishop and two others.
Veuillot interviewed Bernadette and was deeply impressed with her. He called on Cohen, and they were both disposed to believe in the apparitions. Both were afterward to defend Lourdes—Veuillot in his frequent articles in the Catholic newspaper L’Univers of which he was editor, and Cohen at the grotto itself, by leading the first pilgrimage there.
Accompanied by Abbé Rozies of Tarasteix, on September 20, 1858—just two months after the final apparition—Cohen led hundreds of people in front of the grotto, although it was still enclosed behind barricades and access was forbidden by the civil authorities.
“This musician, a convert from Judaism, whom many called a saint, had stirred up great excitement in Lourdes with his loud and hearty rendition of the Magnificat, and one of the psalms, and then by preaching at the forbidden grotto. He had made an impression on Bernadette. In February 1865, when she received his picture, she announced. ‘I’ve really wished to have this.’”
Timothy Tierney, O.C.D.
Chapter 10, Hermann Cohen and St. Bernadette Soubirous (1858)
Tierney, T 2017, A Life of Hermann Cohen: From Franz Liszt to John of the Cross, Balboa Press, Bloomington, IN