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Lourdes France Pilgrimage

Updated on January 12, 2020
Anita Hasch profile image

Anita's main passion in life is reading and writing. She has a interest in many different subjects.


Bernadette Soubirous Sees A Vision At The Grotto

Lourdes became famous because in 1858 a young girl called Bernadette saw a radiant vision dressed in a long white dress.

The vision smiled at her and Bernadette Soubirous stared at her in a trance. Bernadette was at Massabielle or as the villagers called it ‘old rock,’ and had been collecting wood.

She ran home and told her mother about the vision that she had seen. Her mother forbade her to go there again. But some unseen force kept on drawing her back to the ‘old rock.’

After ‘The Lady’ had appeared to her a few times she eventually told Bernadette to ‘Tell the priests to build a chapel here at the Grotto.’

On another day she told Bernadette to dig at a certain place. As she dug, a spring was uncovered. The spring became a strong stream of water.

They built a rough shrine at the spring and started praying there in growing numbers. The local authorities scorned the visions and attempted to close the shrine. But then the miracles began to happen.

A blind man who washed his eyes in the spring water found that his sight was restored. One of Bernadette’s neighbors came and bathed her sick child in the waters.

The little boy not only got well but was strong and robust for the first time in his life. He had suffered from a bone disease that had completely paralyzed his legs.

The doctors had informed his mother that there was no hope for him. Once he recovered he was completely healthy within twenty four hours. His recovery amazed the doctors.

The Church decided to investigate the situation. After four years the Catholic Church finally completely vindicated Bernadette and agreed that some cures had occurred by forces unknown to medical science.

Although the Catholic Church accepted the miracle cures at Lourdes, the medical profession did not. Doctor’s pronounced Bernadette ‘hallucinated’ and said the cured patients were victims of false ‘diagnoses.

Bernadette eventually became a nun. In 1933 approximately 54 years after her death, Bernadette was canonized at St Peter’s in Rome.


At the Grotto Lourdes

Thousands of pilgrims visit Lourdes during the main pilgrimage season which starts from Easter to the end of October. When you go to the Grotto and enter the big iron gates, you join the endless stream of pilgrims. Sacred statuary stand among the shrub and grass.

The beauty and peacefulness of the countryside makes it a wonderful place to worship. As you walk you will find the shrine, three churches and the famous baths where the pilgrims come to be bathed in the waters of the spring.

Then you come to the fountains where thousands come to drink and carry away the water from Lourdes. And then you come to the Grotto. Among hundreds of flickering candles stands a statue of the Virgin.

It is estimated that between four and six million pilgrims visit Lourdes each year. How amazing. The original church which was built above the grotto in 1876 had to be rebuilt because it was overcrowded. In 1958 an enormous basilica was constructed to replace the old church.

A Cure at Lourdes

  • Many amazing cures have occurred at Lourdes. One such cure was in Sept 1936.
  • Charles McDonald was taken to Lourdes from Dublin. He had been ill for eleven years and was only thirty one years old.
  • His doctor certified that he had TB and tubercular arthritis of the left shoulder and spine. For fifteen months he had been completely bedridden. He was in constant pain and unable to sit up for more than five minutes.
  • The doctor’s could do nothing for him. During his first day at Lourdes no change in his health occurred. The following day he was bathed again and later carried to a service at the Grotto.
  • Here he began to feel the first glow of health. He had been unable to move without pain. But while he listened to the service he tried to move his arm. He felt no pain. He raised his shoulder from the pillow and still felt no pain.
  • The next morning when the doctor and nurses left the room, he got out of bed and dressed himself without help. That day he was taken to the Grotto in a wheel chair. Afterwards he walked up the steps into the Rosary Church.
  • He was completely healed. Many doctors examined him and found him in excellent health. No medical explanation can be given for his cure.

The Grotto

The water in the spring at Lourdes was tested to try and discover whether there were special properties in the water. The water was pure with no outstanding properties.

At the time Bernadette said.

'One must have faith and pray. The water will have no virtue without faith.'

The large outcrop of stone where Bernadette first saw the 'Virgin Mary' is still untouched. A statue of the 'Virgin Mary' stands where Bernadette saw the 'Virgin Mary.'

Thousands of pilgrims come to the rock daily to touch the holy rock. A row of candles burn in front of the grotto. Lourdes is known for the torchlight processions held by pilgrims singing hymns of worship and praise.


Miracles are possible even when the darkness seems overwhelming.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Anita Hasch

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