The Apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes

 

From December 8, 2007 through December 8, 2008, the Church celebrated the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes, France to the 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous. The first took place on February 11, 1858, and was followed by seventeen more through July 16, 1858. The official feast day of these apparitions is observed on February 11. In celebration of the apparitions, Pope Benedict visited Lourdes from September 13 to September 15, 2008.

On that cold day in February, young Bernadette was out gathering driftwood and other sticks for firewood with her sister and a friend. They left her behind and crossed a cold river, but she was reluctant to follow due to her constant poor health. Just as she was about to follow them, she heard a rustling noise, turned, and saw a vision of a beautiful young lady in a hollow of the Massabielle rock. During this first apparition, Bernadette fell to her knees and prayed the Rosary, the figure following along with beads she held in her hands. Once the five decades were said the figure smiled and disappeared. Upon her return to the grotto a few days later, Bernadette saw the figure again while saying the Rosary, though none of those who had accompanied her this time were able to see it. Some were convinced she had seen a soul from purgatory.

The third apparition took place on February 18, when the Lady asked Bernadette to come back every day for the next two weeks, which Bernadette agreed to do. The Lady also told Bernadette that she did not promise to make her happy in this life, but in the next. On Sunday February 21, after having seen the vision, Bernadette was questioned by the imperial agent who determined that she was sincere but delusional. The same day, the commissary of police questioned her as well, telling her to stay away from the grotto and that it was becoming a public disturbance. The following day she initially did not intend to return to the grotto, partially out of obedience to her mother, but felt herself being pulled there later in the day. There was no sighting that day, the 22nd, but she knew she had to keep her promise to the Lady, and continued to go each day.

On February 25, while being watched by the large crowd that had been growing over the past week, Bernadette crawled on her knees into the grotto, where she began to scratch at the ground. She had been told by the vision to drink and wash in a spring there, although there was initially only a small amount of muddy water. After digging and getting three separate scoops of water, each too muddy to drink, she was able to drink the fourth. Many jeered at her for this, because when she turned to face the crowd after drinking the water, her face was muddy and she was chewing grass that the Lady had told her to eat. People who had previously thought her a pious and blessed girl now began to think she might simply be crazy. By the end of the day, however, the spring there had reached the nearby Gave river, and within a matter of days it began to be the source of many miraculous events. The water still flows today, and continues to heal people of various ailments.

Bernadette saw the apparition each day of the fifteen days she had been told to come through March 4, with the exception of one Monday and one Friday. During one of sightings, the Lady told Bernadette to have the priests build a church at the site, but they did not listen right away because they didn't believe it was real, and wanted to see a miracle and to know who it was that was appearing. Each time Bernadette had asked the Lady her name, she just smiled but did not answer. After the end of the fifteen days, Bernadette did not know if she would see the Lady again, but continued visiting the grotto. On March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, she felt compelled to go, and Mary appeared to her again. This time, Bernadette asked three times for the Lady's name, to which she finally responded in the local dialect Bernadette knew, “Que soy era Immaculado Conceptiou,” or “I am the Immaculate Conception.” The dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary had only been declared four years before this, and Bernadette had never heard of it, but ran and told the priest what she had heard. This proved that it was Mary who had been appearing to Bernadette.

Mary once again appeared to Bernadette on April 7, during which there were reports that the flame of a candle Bernadette had brought with her burned her hand for several minutes – yet she had no marks or damages on her hand. The final apparition took place July 16, the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, when Bernadette was once again drawn to the spot. By this time the grotto had been blocked from the public and Bernadette had to look from the far side of the Gave river, yet when Mary appeared she looked no further away than she had all the other times.

The apparitions received pastoral approval by the Bishop in 1862 after a lengthy investigation, and in 1876, a church was consecrated upon the Massabielle rock, and less than a decade later construction began on another church when the first was not large enough for the multitudes of people who visited the grotto. This Basilica of the Rosary was consecrated in 1901. In the same year, Pope Leo XIII allowed a special office and Mass for the occasion, and in 1907 the observance of the feast was extended to the whole Church by Pope Pius X.

Today the site remains as popular as ever, being the most visited pilgrimage site and a favorite shrine dedicated to Our Lady. Visited by many especially those looking to be miraculously healed from an ailment or disease, the water at the grotto often helps those who drink from it or bathe in it.

 

This article is adapted from Butler's Lives of the Saints.

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5x7mm Brown Lourdes Rosary 5x7mm Brown Lourdes Rosary

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This rosary features 5mm x 7mm brown beads with crucifix and Our Lady of Lourdes center made of oxidized silver. Overall rosary length is 21 inches. Plastic gift box is included. Imported.


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Our Lady of Lourdes 24in. Outdoor Statue Our Lady of Lourdes 24in. Outdoor Statue
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This 24 inch Our Lady of Lourdes statue features a faux patina finish and is designed for outdoor use. It is made of a polymer and fiberglass compound here in the U.S.


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8mm Crystal and Blue Rosary 8mm Crystal and Blue Rosary

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This rosary features 8mm crystal crackle beads with blue 'Our Father' beads. It has crucifix and Our Lady of Lourdes center made of oxidized silver. Deluxe gift box is included.


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Lady of Lourdes and Bernadette Demetz Hand Carved Linden Wood Italian Statue Our Lady of Lourdes and Bernadette Demetz Hand Car
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Our Lady of Lourdes and Bernadette Italian statue is meticulously carved in linden wood. Full round figure and hand painted every detail in traditional colors. This statue can be made in 3/4 relief version and if possible a "fake" bracket will be added below the base. This is available in sizes ranging from 36 inches to 72 inches. If you do not want a colored finish statue, you can …


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Our Lady of Lourdes Our Lady of Lourdes
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  This is one of a series of plaques depicting different roles of Our Lady.  Any of these would surely be a great gift idea.


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All Capped Dark Blue Rosary All Capped Dark Blue Rosary

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This lovely rosary features 7mm dark blue glass beads with metal cap. Crucifix and Our Lady of Lourdes center is made of pewter. Deluxe gift box is included.


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Lady of Lourdes and Bernadette Demetz Fiberglass Italian Statue Our Lady of Lourdes and Bernadette Demetz Fibergla
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Our Lady of Lourdes and Bernadette Italian statue is cast in fiberglass and polyester resin. Full round figure and hand painted every detail in traditional colors. This statue can be made in 3/4 relief version and if possible a "fake" bracket will be added below the base. This is available in sizes ranging from 36 inches to 72 inches. If you do not want a colored finish, you can …


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Our Lady of Lourdes Statue Our Lady of Lourdes Statue
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This is an admirable statue of Our Lady of Lourdes made of plaster, hand-painted and imported from South America. This measures 11.2 inches long. Ships within 6 - 8 weeks.


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Woman Clothed with the Sun A Woman Clothed with the Sun
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Eight Great Apparitions of Our Lady
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Through the centuries, Our Blessed Lady has appeared frequently on earth with messages of warning, hope, and consolation for humanity--but never more frequently than in the last two centuries. Heralded as the Marian Age, the past two hundred years have been blessed with numerous appearances of Our Lady, each one offering messages of inspiration and hope and urging the world to return to the …


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5x7mm Black Lourdes Rosary 5x7mm Black Lourdes Rosary

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This rosary features 5mm x 7mm black beads with crucifix and Our Lady of Lourdes center made of oxidized silver. Overall rosary length is 19 inches. Plastic gift box is included. Imported.


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Our Lady of Lourdes Medium Gold Filled Medal Our Lady of Lourdes Medium Gold Filled Medal
3/4 inch X 1/2 inch
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This Our Lady of Lourdes Medium Gold Filled Medal measures 3/4in. x 1/2in. The medal comes with a 18in. gold filled chain in a gray velvet gift box. This item comes with a lifetime guarantee. If the item ever breaks or cannot be polished just send it back for repair or replacement. This guarantee takes precedence over our standard return policy.


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Cloisonné Rosary Stretch Bracelet w/ Lourdes Water Cloisonné Rosary Stretch Bracelet w/ Lourdes Water

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Back side of Lourdes Apparition charm holds a capsule of Lourdes Water Bracelet has 9 Hail Mary beads and one Our Father bead, a Miraculous Medal charm and a Benedict Cross charm Coating of epoxy applied to capsule to ensure longevity of the Lourdes Water. Guaranteed for 5 years Made in Italy.


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