Skip to comments.Our Lady of Lourdes
Posted on 02/11/2004 10:05:42 AM PST by nickcarraway
Title: Our Lady of Lourdes
Author: Gail Buckley
Date: Wednesday, February 11, 2004
The year was 1858 and the place was the French foothills of the Pyrenees. A young girl named Bernadette Soubirous, her sister Toinette and their friend Jeanne Abadie were out gathering firewood for their families. Toinette and Abadie crossed a stream to gather wood on the other side, but Bernadette hesitated, fearing that wading in the cold water would bring on an asthma attack.
When her sister and friend moved out of her sight, she decided to take a chance anyway, and started to remove her shoes. It was at that moment that she was startled by a great noise like thunder. Turning towards a grotto behind her, she saw a single rosebush swaying as if being blown by a strong wind. Almost immediately she also saw a golden cloud form over the rosebush and a young and beautiful lady appear in the cloud. The lady smiled at Bernadette and motioned for her to come closer. All the fear that Bernadette had felt a few moments earlier faded away at the sight of this lady. She felt safe as if with her mother.
The Lady was dressed in an ivory-colored robe tied at the waist with a sapphire-colored sash. A long ivory-colored mantle trimmed in gold hung in folds flowing down to her feet. On her bare feet were two golden roses than shone like the gold trim on her mantle. Bernadette was awestruck by the vision of this Lady and didnt speak, nor did the Lady. Bernadette found herself reaching for her rosary, which she always carried with her, and dropping down on her knees. It was then that Bernadette noticed the pearl rosary hanging on the Ladys right arm, which she now also took into her delicate hands. Bernadette tried to lift her hand to cross herself before reciting the rosary, however, her arm seemed paralyzed. It was only after the Lady crossed herself that Bernadette was able to move her arm and do likewise. Bernadette prayed aloud, by herself. The Lady was silent except at the end of each decade when she recited, with Bernadette, the Gloria. When Bernadette finished praying the Rosary, the Lady and the golden cloud disappeared.
Bernadette had many other visions of the Lady in the grotto. At first her parents were very upset and unbelieving of the visions. Her mother thought that either Bernadette was imagining things or that what she was seeing was demonic. Word spread in the small village about her visions of this mysterious lady and crowds of people started following Bernadette to the grotto. Many ridiculed her, but some were supportive. One woman thought Bernadette might be encountering the spirit of one of her deceased friends. Bernadettes family implored her to take holy water and throw some on the Lady. She did take some with her, but poured in on the ground.
The Lady repeatedly asked Bernadette to pray for the conversion of sinners and asked for penance for sins. When she instructed Bernadette to wash herself and drink from a place at the base of the grotto, Bernadette was perplexed. She looked, but could find no water. The Lady told her to dig in the ground, which Bernadette did, which caused quite a stir among the onlookers. Some thought she was insane. Bernadette continued to dig in the gravel and dirt until the ground started to feel damp. Then a trickle of water appeared and more started bubbling up from the ground forming a small puddle. Following the Ladys instructions, Bernadette rubbed the water on her body and cupped some in her hands and drank it.
Still Bernadettes mother refused to believe her daughter and other family members continued to ridicule her. When Bernadette spoke to the Lady about this, the Lady replied, I do not promise to make you happy in this world, but in the next.
The next request of the Lady to Bernadette was to have a chapel built on the site of her visits. For Bernadette, a shy, 14 year-old girl, this was an impossible task. She felt compelled, though, to go to the parish priest with the request. She received a curt dismissal from him with these words: Tell the beautiful Lady that the Cure of Lourdes is not in the habit of dealing with mysterious strangers. If she wants a chapel and has the right to one, she must reveal her identity.
On the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1858, Bernadette got the answer to her question. I am the Immaculate Conception, replied the beautiful Lady. Bernadette was so excited to have an answer for the priest that she immediately set out for the rectory, repeating the words over and over to herself so as not to forget them. Although Bernadette didnt understand the words, when she repeated them to the priest he was convinced that the mysterious Lady was the Blessed Virgin Mary. He knew that Bernadette, a poor, uneducated young girl, could not have been aware of the term "Immaculate Conception, especially since this was a newly-proclaimed dogma in the Church that most people were not familiar with.
In 1864, Bernadette entered the order of the Sisters of Nevers and went to live in a convent. Two years later a chapel was erected and dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. The puddle that had appeared when Bernadette scratched at the soil continued to get larger and larger and today produces 32,000 gallons of water daily. Thousands of pilgrims visit Lourdes each year to bathe in the miraculous waters. Today Lourdes is the most well-known healing and pilgrimage site in the world.
Lessons - Our Lady of Lourdes
On January 18, 1862, the Church officially confirmed the apparitions at Lourdes. Sixteen years later, in 1879, Sister Bernadette died. Her body, however, on display in the Sisters Chapel, has never decomposed. Bernadette was canonized on December 8, 1933.
Prayer: Blessed Mother, our Lady of Lourdes, we thank you for appearing to the child Bernadette so as to show the world the power of God. The miracles brought forth then and even until now are a great testimony of His Love and Mercy. Thank you, Mother, not only for the miraculous healing power of the waters of Lourdes but also for the love and compassion that prevails there. We thank our Father in heaven for you, dear Mother and also for Saint Bernadette and we implore your intercessions for us that we will always be like little children, docile and loving and open to His Will. Amen.
BTTT on February 11, 2005, in memory of Our Lady of Lourdes.
|February 11, 2005
Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes
Old Calendar: Apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes
The many miracles which have been performed through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin at Lourdes prompted the Church to institute a special commemorative feast, the "Apparition of the Immaculate Virgin Mary." The Office gives the historical background. Four years after the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (1854), the Blessed Virgin appeared a number of times to a very poor and holy girl named Bernadette. The actual spot was in a grotto on the bank of the Gave River near Lourdes.
The Immaculate Conception had a youthful appearance and was clothed in a pure white gown and mantle, with an azure blue girdle. A golden rose adorned each of her bare feet. On her first apparition, February 11, 1858, the Blessed Virgin bade the girl make the sign of the Cross piously and say the rosary with her. Bernadette saw her take the rosary that was hanging from her arms into her hands. This was repeated in subsequent apparitions.
With childlike simplicity Bernadette once sprinkled holy water on the vision, fearing that it was a deception of the evil spirit; but the Blessed Virgin smiled pleasantly, and her face became even more lovely. The third time Mary appeared she invited the girl to come to the grotto daily for two weeks. Now she frequently spoke to Bernadette. On one occasion she ordered her to tell the ecclesiastical authorities to build a church on the spot and to organize processions. Bernadette also was told to drink and wash at the spring still hidden under the sand.
Finally on the feast of the Annunciation, the beautiful Lady announced her name, "I am the Immaculate Conception."
The report of cures occurring at the grotto spread quickly and the more it spread, the greater the number of Christians who visited the hallowed place. The publicity given these miraculous events on the one hand and the seeming sincerity and innocence of the girl on the other made it necessary for the bishop of Tarbes to institute a judicial inquiry. Four years later he declared the apparitions to be supernatural and permitted the public veneration of the Immaculate Conception in the grotto. Soon a chapel was erected, and since that time numberless pilgrims come every year to Lourdes to fulfill promises or to beg graces. The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
February 11 was proclaimed World Day of the Sick by Pope John Paul II. Therefore, it would be appropriate to celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick on this day during a Mass or Liturgy of the Word. (The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is only to be given to "those of the faithful whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age", Roman Ritual. This Sacrament must not be given indiscriminately to all who take part in Masses for the sick.)
Patron: Bodily ills.
Symbols: The Blessed Virgin ("The Immaculate Conception") who wears a white dress, blue belt, and a rose on each foot.
Things to Do:
February 11, 2005
Our Lady of Lourdes
On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in the apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus. A little more than three years later, on February 11, 1858, a young lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous. This began a series of visions. During the apparition on March 25, the lady identified herself with the words: I am the Immaculate Conception.
Bernadette was a sickly child of poor parents. Their practice of the Catholic faith was scarcely more than lukewarm. Bernadette could pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Creed. She also knew the prayer of the Miraculous Medal: O Mary conceived without sin.
During interrogations Bernadette gave an account of what she saw. It was something white in the shape of a girl. She used the word aquero, a dialect term meaning this thing. It was a pretty young girl with a rosary over her arm. Her white robe was encircled by a blue girdle. She wore a white veil. There was a yellow rose on each foot. A rosary was in her hand. Bernadette was also impressed by the fact that the lady did not use the informal form of address (tu), but the polite form (vous). The humble virgin appeared to a humble girl and treated her with dignity.
Through that humble girl, Mary revitalized and continues to revitalize the faith of millions of people. People began to flock to Lourdes from other parts of France and from all over the world. In 1862 Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions and authorized the cult of Our Lady of Lourdes for the diocese. The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes became worldwide in 1907.
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There is a Diocescan pilgrimage to Lourdes from my Diocese every year.
One of these days I'll go as a helper with the handicapped childrens trust.
Thank you for this post.
You are welcome.
Thank you for the post. I love Our Lady of Lourdes! Even though I have never been to the shrine, I have asked her to carry my prayers to her divine Son many times, and she always has. Thanks to Our Lady of Lourdes for prayers answered.
That would be a neat trip to take!
BTTT on the Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11, 2006.
BTTT of February 11, 2007!
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