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Image depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary appearing to Saint Bernadette Soubirous, by unknown author.

Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes


On February 11, 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to fourteen-year-old Bernadette Soubirous in the hollow rock of Massabielle in southern France.  That year Bernadette would report a total of 18 apparitions of a woman she described as “lovelier than I have ever seen.”  The woman in the vision revealed herself as the “Immaculate Conception,” in confirmation of this dogma of the Catholic faith which was infallibly defined by the Holy Father just four years previous.

Our Lady told Bernadette to drink from an unseen fountain at the grotto, and called for a chapel to be built there.  When Bernadette scratched at the ground, a stream of pure spring water surged forth.  This stream demonstrated healing properties, and it continues to draw pilgrims to the grotto from around the globe.  A basilica was built upon the rock of the Massabielle in response to Our Lady’s request, and in 1876 it was consecrated as the “Church of the Rosary.”

Since that time, seventy officially recognized cures and hundreds of “unofficial” healings have been reported at Lourdes.  Due to these multitudes of medically documented miraculous healings, the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the world.

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Mary is the one who believed and, from her womb, rivers of living water have flowed forth to irrigate human history. The spring that Mary pointed out to Bernadette here in Lourdes is the humble sign of this spiritual reality. From her believing heart, from her maternal heart, flows living water which purifies and heals.”

Pope Benedict XVI
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes

I do not promise to make you happy in this life, but in the next.”

Our Lady of Lourdes to Saint Bernadette

Jesus came on earth to be my model. I want to follow him and walk generously in his footsteps.”

Saint Bernadette Soubirous

Our Lady of Lourdes

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Be not afraid!  And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always.  Holy Family, pray for us.  Amen.

The Holy Family, Murillo
The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities (c. 1675-82) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 – 1682)

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