Saturday, May 10, 2008

May 11th: France - Our Lady of Lourdes

Feast Day: February 11th

World famous shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in the department of Hautes-Pyrénées in France. In 1858, the Blessed Virgin appeared eighteen times at Massabielle, at a grotto near Lourdes, to Bernadette Soubirous, a fourteen-year-old peasant girl. At the same time a spring appeared, miraculous healings were reported, and pilgrims began to come to the spot. In 1862 the apparitions received ecclesiastical approbation and a church was built above the grotto. Then beside it, from 1883 to 1901, was built the magnificent Church of the Rosary. Since then millions of people have visited the shrine, and a medical bureau has been established to investigate the character of the cures, of which hundreds have been fully authenticated by medical specialists. The healings generally take place after the people have bathed in the waters of the spring, or during the blessing with the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament carried in procession. Not all cures are physical, many report marvelous conversions and graces in the spiritual life. In 1891 a local feast of Our Lady of Lourdes (February 11) was established and in 1907 extended to the universal Church by Pope St. Pius X. (Fr. John A. Hardon)
You can find more about the appearance of Our Lady at Lourdes at the Mary Page and Catholic Culture. This page at Catholic Culture includes links to various articles about Lourdes.

Don't miss the official Lourdes website where you can pay a virtual visit. You can walk in the footsteps of St. Bernadette and visit the places with which she had a close connection. At the time of the apparitions she and five other members of her desperately poor family were living in the cachot, a former prison cell which measured only 12 by 15 feet. There are also links to several webcams, videos of the daily rosary and torchlight procession, and a panoramic view of the Grotto.

This page at Women for Faith and Family includes the Litany of Our Lady of Lourdes and the Lourdes Hymn, and a Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes is here at EWTN.

Catholic Cuisine, a lovely new blog full of ideas for feast day food, gives this recipe for crepes for the feast of St. Bernadette.

Below is the Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes from the website of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where there is a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes.
Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes

Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes
O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of mercy,
health of the sick, refuge of sinners,
comforter of the afflicted,
you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings;
look with mercy on me.
By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes,
you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary,
whence you dispense your favors;
and already many sufferers have obtained
the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal.
I come, therefore, with complete confidence
to implore your maternal intercession.
Obtain, O loving Mother, the grant of my requests.
Through gratitude for your favors,
I will endeavor to imitate your virtues,
that I may one day share your glory. Amen.

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