The Lady of Lourdes had appeared to St. Bernadette as a young girl….meaning the Lady Who appeared to Bernadette was first described as a teenaged girl. I’m fairly certain that Bernadette initially described Her as wearing a skirt to her knees, ect. When she saw the statue that was sculpted of her ‘Lady’, St. Bernadette expressed disapointment and indicated that the statue looked nothing like the Lady she saw. This is not the only time something like this has happened with young visionaries.
Many of these seers (Bernadette, the children of Fatima, LaSallette, ect.), were mostly peasant children during the times when there was no radio, no tv, no internet and news did not always travel very quickly to the poorer (especially mountainous) regions of the countries where these apparitions took place.
When Our Lady appeared before St. Bernadette in the Grotto at Lourdes, She said, I am the Immaculate Conception. Before the apparitions in the Grotto at Lourdes, Bernadette had never heard of the recently proclaimed dogma of the Immaculate Conception (a dogma not shared by Orthodox Christians, due to having different viewpoint on Original Sin.) This dogma of the Catholic Church is an often misunderstood dogma which means that Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin on her soul.
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception was officially proclaimed by the Vatican on Dec. 8, 1954. The apparitions at Lourdes took place four years later. I always felt it was too much of a coincidence that Our Lady appeared just four years later and proclaimed Herself to be the Immaculate Conception. Either the Church was making up what Bernadette was saying, or the Lady was appearing to confirm the dogma. However, one author has a very different understanding of what She meant by declaring Herself to be the Immaculate Conception.