Lourdes Continues to Attract Pilgrims from all Over the World - Miracles Still Happen
Lourdes at Night
Numerous Cures at Lourdes
Lourdes was once a quiet little town in the French Pyrenees. Then, on February 11, 1858, a teenage girl named Bernadette Soubirous began receiving Heavenly apparitions from Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Soon, miraculous cures were reported. The first involved a young wife expecting her third child. An accident left her unable to use two fingers.
This happened within weeks of the first apparition. The woman prayed at the spot where Mary appeared. She then washed her hand in a little pool of water, which had developed after the seer was told to dig in a certain spot. Movement in her fingers was immediately restored.
The water that now flows from a spring at Lourdes is said to have healing properties. The Catholic Church has investigated some claims of miracles and found 67 instances in which people suddenly regained their health, without further medical intervention.
Thousands of other unexplained cures have been reported, but not investigated.
It's often said that even if a miracle doesn't occur, the sick who've bathed in the waters of Lourdes often develop a new-found peace regarding their illness.
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More Lourdes Miracles
The second recorded miracle at Lourdes took place shortly after the first. A man blinded in one eye applied water from the spring to his eye and immediately could see again.
About five months later, a 58-year-old French woman who was paralyzed and confined to bed. Expected to die soon, she was too sick to travel to Lourdes. But someone brought her some water from the spring. After drinking a bit and applying more to her body, she was immediately cured and was able to walk again. She survived another 11 years in good health.
Another investigated miracle involved a young man injured in an accident. He was not expected to survive either, but his mother insisted he visit Lourdes. Arriving on a stretcher, the trip seemed to deplete his last reserves. It was thought he died at the grotto. As his body was being carried away, a priest blessed him and he completely recovered.
One thing that's noteworthy is that in the late 1800s, the Vatican set up a medical bureau to investigate claims of cures at Lourdes. The doctors who examined the patients, and reported on the unexplained healings, had different religious backgrounds. Some of these doctors were even atheists.
One of the more recent cures happened in 1987, when a 51-year-old man was healed of multiple sclerosis.
Presently, there is a medical office at Lourdes staffed by one doctor. Visiting doctors and nurses are also encouraged to register when they arrive. Dozens of cases are brought before medical teams each year, but only a few of these will warrant further follow-up with the International Lourdes Medical Committee.
Lourdes is Now a Major Pilgrimage Site
Millions of people visit Lourdes every year. The sick are often in wheelchairs or even carried on stretchers, as many of them are desperately ill with terminal cancer and other serious conditions.
Volunteers known as “hospitaliers” assist the sick pilgrims and their traveling companions. Lourdes is now a big destination with many hotels and more than a dozen campsites. As in other Catholic spots destinations, there are also a large number of shops and stalls selling religious items and little bottles of Lourdes water. Water from the spring, however, is always free. (Make sure to bring a container.)
Mass is offered in many different languages to accommodate the pilgrims who come from all over.
If you can't get to Lourdes, bottles of Lourdes water are widely available on the Internet.
Where is Lourdes?
Song of Bernadette
The Story of Saint Bernadette
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, born in 1844, was the oldest of four surviving children. Her parents were desperately poor, but very committed to their Catholic faith.
One day Bernadette was out with her sister and another girl. Their mother had sent them to gather firewood. As the other girls walked ahead, Bernadette fell behind. She heard a rush of wind and saw a beautiful woman clothed in a white dress with shoes made from yellow roses.
Saint Bernadette's mother reacted very harshly to her story, and punished her severely. The parish priest also doubted her story, until the woman who appeared called herself "The Immaculate Conception" and Bernadette told him what she said.
At the time, the Immaculate Conception was a matter of theological debate at the Vatican, and Bernadette wouldn't have known about this.
Bernadette received a total of 18 visits from Our Blessed Mother. The Catholic Church has determined there is a supernatural or Heavenly character to these apparitions. Although no one is obliged to believe in them, it is a widely accepted fact among Catholics that they did happen.
There are many Catholic parishes now named "Our Lady of Lourdes." The Catholic Church also celebrates World Day of the Sick each year on February 11, the feast of Saint Bernadette's first apparition.
Bernadette became a religious sister. In the convent she suffered at the hands of an older sister who didn't believe she was telling the truth, despite the fact the Pope believed her.
The Hollywood production Song of Bernadette showed the older sister harshly accusing Bernadette of being a fraud. She repented when it came to light that Bernadette was afflicted with a painful form of tuberculosis and had suffered in silence.
Mary told Bernadette she wouldn't have happiness here on earth, but she would be happy in Heaven.
Bernadette died in 1879. She was declared a saint in 1933. Her incorrrupt body, which didn't suffer the usual effects of death, can be seen at a chapel in Never, France that is owned by her religious order.
Short Lourdes Testimony Video
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