Today, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Millions of faithful flock to Southern France every year to visit the Shrine, many seeking healing, while others travel as volunteer medical staff. Maybe you’ve never been, but most of us will have been handed a little vial of Lourdes Water as a sacramental.
What do you know about Lourdes?
1. The First Apparition – February 11, 1858
On this day, Bernadette Soubirous saw a lady dressed in a white dress and white veil, with a blue belt around her waist and a yellow rose on each of her feet. Seventeen more times, Our Lady would visit Bernadette at this same spot at Massabiele in the Pyrenees Mountains, on the bank of the Gave de Pau river.
2. It is a heavenly approval
The apparition of Our Lady gave a stamp of approval from heaven to the papal declaration which had been made four years prior by Pope Pius IX, establishing the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, because when Bernadette asked who she was, she answered “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
3. Today is also World Day of the Sick
Pope John Paul II declared on May 13, 1992 that the following year, 1993 this day will become the World Day of the Sick to commemorate all believers who “a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one’s suffering.”
4. It is known for its miraculous spring
On February 25, 1858, in the 9th visit of Our Lady she asked Bernadette to “drink from the fountain and bathe in it.” But Bernadette was puzzled, for there was no fountain to be seen. Our Lady asked her to dig, and with a little bit of uncovering she discovered a pool of water to a stream.
5. It is one of the most famous pilgrimage sites
Almost every year there are 3 million of pilgrims visiting the place and most of them are sick hoping that they will be cured in Lourdes. Over 7,000 miracles have been reported among the scores of pilgrims who’ve traveled to bathe in the spring. Of these, the Church has validated 67 through rigorous investigation.
This post was contributed to Catholic-Link by guest author, Andrew Chanco.