The Catholic Defender: Miracles of Lourdes Part I
The Miracles of Lourdes has been the object of much devotion as God continues His work among His people. In the Gospels we find miracles of healing and the raising of the dead reported and throughout the history of the Catholic Church.
It only takes a spark once you have experienced God's love and His presence. The Kingdom of Heaven prays for His awakening that units us with them in the object of prayer.
The following are some examples of healing at Lourdes as reported by Jeannie Ewing:
About the author
Jeannie Ewing is a Catholic spirituality writer who writes about the moving through grief, the value of redemptive suffering, and how to wait for God’s timing fruitfully. Her books include Navigating Deep Waters, From Grief to Grace , A Sea Without A Shore , For Those Who Grieve, and Waiting with Purpose. She is a frequent guest on Catholic radio and contributes to several online and print Catholic periodicals. Jeannie, her husband, and their three daughters (plus one baby boy) live in northern Indiana. For more information, please visit her website jeannieewing.com.
Mrs. Catherine Latapie
The first documented miracle at Lourdes occurred in 1858 when Catherine Latapie felt a sudden urge to travel to Lourdes in search of healing. Two years prior, she had fallen from a tree and severely injured her right hand. The accident left two of her fingers entirely paralyzed. Latapie met Bernadette at the grotto and very simply washed her hand in the small spring that had formed. Instantaneously, the paralysis of her fingers was gone, and she could move them just as she could before her accident.
The most oft-quoted miracle related to Lourdes happened to Louis Bouriette, a gentleman of 55 years of age in 1858. Rendered blind in his right eye from a mine explosion (which killed his brother, who was at his side), Bouriette claimed that he immediately went to pray to “Our Lady of the Grotto” as soon as Bernadette scratched the soil at the dumping ground. He washed his right eye repeatedly in a very short amount of time, praying to Our Lady fervently for a cure. After washing, his vision returned completely, and in 1862 the cure was deemed “of supernatural character.”
Mrs. Blaisette Cazenave
Another cure related to restoration of vision is attributed to Blaisette Cazenave, a woman who suffered from chronic conjunctivitis and an infection that left her eyelids scaly and sore. Her condition was labeled incurable when she, at the age of 51, used the water at Lourdes as a lotion on her eyes. Immediately, the scales fell from her eyelids, and her vision was completely restored. Even the pain and inflammation she suffered was entirely gone.
Truly inspirational in nature and a testament of the young man’s faith, Henri Busquet was only 16 years old at the time of his cure. Suffering for over a year with a fever attributed to the onset of tuberculosis, Busquet subsequently developed a neck abscess that his doctor eventually lanced, but his condition only worsened. He begged his parents for a trip to Lourdes, but they refused to take him. Persistent in his faith, he turned to a neighbor and requested some healing water from Lourdes be brought to him. Once the returned to him with the vial of holy water, Busquet’s family gathered to pray together as his dressings were applied, which were soaked in water. After sleeping that night, he awoke to discover that his ulcer had scarred over and his infection was gone! The miracle was approved in 1862.
Justin was only 2 years old when he was cured at Lourdes. From birth, he was considered a “failure to thrive case,” labeled hopeless by medical standards. Shortly before his parents brought him to Lourdes, he contracted tuberculosis and was dying from it. Carrying young Justin in her arms, his mother walked to the Grotto out of desperation, knowing that she could be banished at the time, since in 1858 there was a period of time in which the public were banned from visiting the Grotto. Even so, and despite the outcries of people walking by, she prayed by the rock and then bathed Justin in the hollow recently dug by laborers. As she walked home, carrying his limp body in her arms, she realized that Justin was still breathing and then slept peacefully through the night. Justin made a full recovery and even lived to attend St. Bernadette’s canonization in 1933.
At the age of 35, Serge Perren was diagnosed with an odd neurological condition that affected his vision and left him unconscious at times. After being admitted to a neurological hospital in 1964, he continued to regress to the point of total blindness and recurrent episodes of blacking out. The prognosis was bleak. As an act of faith, Perren made a pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1969, but he returned without any progress in healing whatsoever. Discouraged, he continued treatment, but was considered a total invalid by medical standards. After his wife’s prompting, however, he returned to Lourdes in 1970 only to appease her. After he received the Anointing of the Sick, he immediately felt a physical sensation in his body and was able to see, though unclearly. Over time, he made a miraculous and complete recovery. Shortly thereafter, the Lourdes medical bureau declared his healing to be “certain, instantaneous, and lasting.”
Vittorio Micheli was a soldier in the Alpine Corps and spent a lengthy amount of time in a military hospital following an untreatable and inoperable diagnosis of sarcoma on his left hip. Physicians and surgeons tried every medical option available during 1962, but to no avail. After an entire year in the hospital, Micheli’s hip was completely deteriorated. Even so, he chose to make the pilgrimage to Lourdes with his diocese in 1963. After bathing in the spring from his hip to foot in a cast, nothing notable happened immediately to Micheli. However, curiously, he was required to return to the military hospital after the pilgrimage ended, at which point various x-rays and tests clearly showed physical improvements in his hip! In fact, the reports claimed it was a “remarkable reconstruction of his hip,” and in thanksgiving, Micheli has returned to Lourdes annually since 1963.
Declared a total invalid at age 51, Jean-Pierre Bely made a pilgrimage to the shrine in 1987. Bely was paralyzed by multiple sclerosis and had been in a medical condition that completely withstood any advancements in treatment since 1972. Without despairing, however, Bely’s faith in Our Lady as he made the pilgrimage was confirmed by his miraculous healing. Many who accompanied him to Lourdes believed he would die before completing the trip. He even received the Anointing of the Sick when he finally made it to the shrine. Afterwards, however, he could immediately walk and has since made an entire recovery.
After visiting the shrine in 1952, Anna Santaniello reported a complete healing of a fatal disease she had since childhood, rheumatic heart disease. The illness had taken the life of two of her siblings, so her prognosis was dire. At the time of her pilgrimage to Lourdes, Santaniello was 42 years old. In 1964, the Church declared her recovery as an “extraordinary healing,” and it was officially added to the registry of Lourdes miracles in 2004.
The most recently approved miracle at Lourdes occurred when Serge Francois, at the age of 56, made a pilgrimage to Lourdes for healing. His left leg was left almost completely immobile after two surgeries that left him with a herniated disc. As with most pilgrims, Francois washed his face and drank the water from the spring at Lourdes in April 2002, at which point the healing in his leg began to take place. After his full recovery in 2003, Francois approached the medical board at Lourdes to investigate his claim, which was approved in 2011 by Bishop Emmanuel Delmas of Angers, France.
When he entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel* have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” And Jesus said to the centurion, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” And at that very hour [his] servant was healed. Matthew 8:5-13