We continue our re-publishing of previous posts chronicling the miraculous unfolding of events that took place at Lourdes in 1858. For an introduction to the series, see here. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!
In 1858, Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at the grotto in Lourdes eighteen times, each time bringing a message of prayer, penance, poverty, and participation. Through these posts, we continue our journey with Saint Bernadette as we encounter Our Blessed Mother through her eyes, memories, and words. The first eleven visitations occurred in February (February 11, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 27, and 28), while the twelfth occurred on the first day of March. The Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Lourdes, communicated the message of Lourdes to all mankind, through Saint Bernadette. She implored us, saying, “Penance, Penance, Penance. Pray to God for sinners.” Our Blessed Mother further invited Bernadette to drink and bathe in the muddy water of the grotto, after which a clear flowing spring came forth where none had existed before. Our Lady of Lourdes commanded, “Go drink in the spring and wash yourself there,” something that faithful pilgrims continue to do each day. (For personal reflections on my experience at Lourdes, see here, here, and here).
That night, following the dispersal of the crowds, the first miraculous healing attributed to the spring at the grotto occurred. Catherine Latapie, a friend of the Soubirous family from Lourdes, went to the Grotto. She had lost the movement in her arm and hand, and with faith in the Lord, she plunged her dislocated arm into the water of the spring. Immediately, she regained the movement in her hand and arm! This was the first of over 60 miraculous cures attributed to Our Lady of Lourdes, the most recent occurring in 2005.
Saint Bernadette, your faith has grown the Church—the Church which is your family and your religious community.
Bravely, you went to tell the priests to hold a procession and build a chapel.
Once your mission was accomplished, you retreated in silence and humility.
Like Mary, in this day of Pentecost and then silence, Inspire in me, O Saint Bernadette, the same love of the Church. Support me in my prayers.
Lord, you give everyone a place in your Church. Let me answer my vocation with the same simplicity and the same generosity as Bernadette. Amen.
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."