Our Lady of Lourdes. Beginning on February 11, 1858, The Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Bernadette Soubirous a total of 18 times in Lourdes, France. The final visitation occurred on July 16, 1858. Since that time, hundreds of millions of pilgrims have visited Lourdes, with crowds reaching 40,000 each day on average during busier times of year. Over 60 miraculous cures have been recorded in the grotto where the Blessed Virgin appeared, or due to the curative properties of the spring which appeared during the apparitions.
Lourdes: Personal Reflections
Lourdes: Personal Reflections: Water
Lourdes: Personal Reflections: Rock
Lourdes: Personal Reflections: Light
Lourdes: Personal Reflections: The Way of the Cross
Photos of my pilgrimage to Lourdes are also available in the gallery.
In the following weeks, I will be reposting my original series of posts on Our Lady of Lourdes and the content and history of her gracious visitations to Saint Bernadette in the holy grotto.
Saint Bernadette, Our Lady of Lourdes, delivered a message of penance and prayer, and through the simple faith of Saint Bernadette, the message of Lourdes was revealed for all people throughout the world. Our Blessed Mother reminds us to return to the Word of God through poverty, penance, prayer, and participation. We embrace our poverty of spirit, not denying our gifts or talents, but acknowledging that they are precious gifts of our Lord and Savior. This leaves us open to the word of God, willing to answer His call, and advance His glory, not our own. We strengthen our hearts of prayer, finding praise and thanksgiving to the Lord in not only our quiet moments of contemplation, but in our moments of service and witness to others. We offer penance for our sin and for those of others, not just in sacrifice and acts of penance, but true conversion of heart and return to God. This penance involves remembering what the price of allowing sin into our lives is, what we lose from separation from our Lord. It also calls us to forgiveness, both of ourselves and of others. And lastly, we are moved to participation-- not just in pilgrimage-- but as active members of our faith community, the Church. This pulls us from isolation or individual worship, and reminds us that we are members of the Church, and we share a communion with one another, with the saints who have gone before us, and with Our Blessed Mother.
Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes
O Holy Virgin, in the midst of your days of glory, do not forget the sorrows of this earth. Cast a merciful gaze upon those who are suffering, struggling against diversity, with their lips constantly pressed against life’s bitter cup.
Have pity on those who love each other and are separated.
Have pity on our rebellious hearts.
Have pity on our weak faith.
Have pity on those we love.
Have pity on those who weep, on those who pray, on those who fear.
Grant hope and peace to all.
Year 2: Day 42 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Penance for sinners; Hope and peace. The unending grace of Our Blessed Mother.
Requested Intentions: Reconciliation of a marriage (D); Assistance with a legal matter, financial freedom (R); Healing for a friend (M); For a son in medical school (H); Financial assistance (M); Successful employment (N): Freedom from mental illness for a friend (L); For successful marriage (N); For friends having and recovering from surgery; for the reduction of a brain tumor (L); For resolution of a housing crisis (P); For a brother who is struggling financially, for a son who is struggling academically (B); For financial security for a friend (C); Success in business; familial happiness and health (J); Health and recovery of a sister (I); Development of a chaste relationship pleasing to the Lord (E); Successful surgery of mother; delivery of daughters’ babies (L); For a friend suffering with depression (M); For a friend entering religious life (R); Success of a parish men’s retreat (H); For a mother who is grieving; for the soul of a dearly departed son (M); Reconciliation of a marriage (M); End to grief after death of son (B&C); End to grief (S); Successful marriage (N); For an RCIA candidate struggling with financial and family stressors (O); Freedom from anxiety regarding medical procedure (J); Return home of an ill mother, peace and financial security (J); Healing of a father following stroke (S).
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."