Our Lady of Lourdes
Each year over 2 million people make their way through the mountainous country of southeastern France to Lourdes. They come seeking cures, hoping to find answers, believing, and praying. At Lourdes, people recall the Lady dressed in white, with a blue sash, yellow roses at her feet, and a Rosary on her arm, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
On February 11, 1858, Mary appeared to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous. This was the first of 18 visits, many of them with 20,000 people present. When Bernadette asked the Lady’s identity, she replied, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Just four years earlier, the pope had proclaimed it a dogma that Mary was conceived immaculate without original sin. The Blessed Virgin, through Bernadette, had come to call sinners to a change of heart. Her message was a request for prayer and penance. She also instructed Bernadette to tell the priests that a chapel was to be built on the site and processions held.
On February 25, 1858, the Lady told Bernadette to dig in the dirt and drink of the stream. Bernadette began to dig, and after several attempts she was able to find the water to drink. The water continued to flow from where she had dug with her hands until it was producing over 32,000 gallons of water a day, as it still does today.
Suggestions to celebrate Our Lady of Lourdes:
The song “Immaculate Mary” is known also as the Lourdes hymn, used in procession at the shrine. Consider singing this song today in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Bernadette was canonized by Pius XI on December 8, 1933. One message to her from the virgin Mary was to pray the Rosary. Consider praying the Glorious Mysteries together as a family today.
Resources from: Loyola Press; Saints and Feast Days