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The Catholic Defender: Our Lady of Lourdes



On 11 February 1858, Soubirous went with her sister Toinette and neighbor Jeanne Abadie to collect some firewood. While taking off her shoes and stockings to wade through the water near the Grotto of Massabielle, she said she heard the sound of two gusts of wind (coups de vent) but the trees and bushes nearby did not move.


A wild rose in a natural niche in the grotto, however, did move.I came back towards the grotto and started taking off my stockings. I had hardly taken off the first stocking when I heard a sound like a gust of wind. Then I turned my head towards the meadow. I saw the trees quite still: I went on taking off my stockings. I heard the same sound again. As I raised my head to look at the grotto, I saw a lady dressed in white, wearing a white dress, a blue girdle and a yellow rose on each foot, the same color as the chain of her rosary; the beads of the rosary were white … From the niche, or rather the dark alcove behind it, came a dazzling light


Soubirous tried to make the sign of the cross but could not, as her hands were trembling. The lady smiled, and invited Soubirous to pray the rosary with her.


Soubirous tried to keep this a secret, but Toinette told her mother. After parental cross-examination, she and her sister received corporal punishment for their story.


Soubirous described the apparition as dressed in a flowing white robe, with a blue sash around her waist. This was the uniform of a religious group called the Children of Mary, which, on account of her poverty, Soubirous was not permitted to join (although she was admitted after the apparitions).[15] Her aunt Bernarde was a long-time member.


Today Lourdes has a population of around 15,000, but it is able to take in some 5,000,000 pilgrims and tourists every season. With about 270 hotels, Lourdes has the second greatest number of hotels per square kilometer in France after Paris.

On 16 July 1858, Soubirous visited the grotto for the last time and said: "I have never seen her so beautiful before." On 18 January 1862, the local bishop declared: "The Virgin Mary did appear indeed to Bernadette Soubirous." In 1958, Pope Pius XII issued the encyclical Le pèlerinage de Lourdes

Bernadette, 14 years old, was known as a virtuous girl though a dull student who had not even made her first Holy Communion. In poor health, she had suffered from asthma from an early age. There were 18 appearances in all, the final one occurring on the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.


From the darkness of the alcove came a “dazzling light, and a white figure”. She was dressed all in white, with a blue belt fastened around her waist and the golden yellow roses, one on each foot, the color of her rosary.


The lily of the valley was a symbol of the Virgin Mary because of its pure white flowers, sweet smell and humble appearance. It symbolized Mary's Immaculate Conception and represented the purity of body and soul by which Mary found favor with God.


She saw God, Who came to her through the Blessed Virgin Mary. “Being obedient to the Virgin, Bernadette found a stream of water, which has brought healings to thousands and thousands of people who journey to Lourdes


In southern France, Marie-Bernarde Soubirous, a 14-year-old French peasant girl, first claims to have seen the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ and a central figure in the Roman Catholic religion.


As a result of her sickly health, Bernadette was weak most of her life. A few years after entering religious life, she contracted bone cancer and was often in pain. She was confined to a wheelchair due to a tumor on her knee. Even with all this pain, Bernadette offered her suffering to God with love.


Our Lady of Lourdes is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary recalling her apparitions in 1858 in the grotto at Lourdes, France to Saint Bernadette Soubirous, a fourteen-year-old peasant girl. Our Lady instructed Bernadette to dig in the ground nearby, from which came a spring with healing properties, active to this day.


Mary is the main reason why Lourdes is so significant because it is the site where she appeared to put herself forward to heal people and set miracles. Catholics today deepen their faith through Mary who appeared near the site in 1858.


On the feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary on March 25th, the Lady at last proclaimed her identity. Speaking to Bernadette in the local Lourdes patois, she said 'I am the Immaculate Conception'. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception had been proclaimed only a few years before, in 1854.


the blue of her cloak has been interpreted to represent the Virgin's purity, symbolize the skies, and label her as an empress, for blue was associated with Byzantine royalty.


On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in the apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus. A little more than three years later, on February 11, 1858, a young lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous. This began a series of visions. During the apparition on March 25, the lady identified herself with the words: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”


Bernadette was a sickly child of poor parents. Their practice of the Catholic faith was scarcely more than lukewarm. Bernadette could pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Creed. She also knew the prayer of the Miraculous Medal: “O Mary conceived without sin.”


During interrogations Bernadette gave an account of what she saw. It was “something white in the shape of a girl.” She used the word aquero, a dialect term meaning “this thing.” It was “a pretty young girl with a rosary over her arm.”


Her white robe was encircled by a blue girdle. She wore a white veil. There was a yellow rose on each foot. A rosary was in her hand. Bernadette was also impressed by the fact that the lady did not use the informal form of address (tu), but the polite form (vous). The humble virgin appeared to a humble girl and treated her with dignity.


On her deathbed, as she suffered from severe pain and in keeping with the Virgin Mary's admonition of "Penance, Penance, Penance," Bernadette proclaimed that "all this is good for Heaven!" Her final words were, "Blessed Mary, Mother of God, Pray for me". Soubirous' body was laid to rest in the Saint Gildard Convent.


Through that humble girl, Mary revitalized and continues to revitalize the faith of millions of people. People began to flock to Lourdes from other parts of France and from all over the world. In 1862 Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions and authorized the cult of Our Lady of Lourdes for the diocese. The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes became worldwide in 1907.


A miracle at Lourdes last was declared in 2013. It involved an Italian woman who visited Lourdes in 1989, suffering severe high blood pressure and other problems. Not all declared miracles pass through Lourdes.


Bernadette herself moved away from Lourdes and joined a nunnery in Nevers, where she lived the rest of her life. She died in 1879 of tuberculosis. As part of the canonization process, her body was exhumed three separate times, in 1909, 1919, and finally in 1925, when she was moved to the crystal casket.


One of the most well-known of the incorruptible saints is St. Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes. St. Bernadette died in 1879 in Nevers, France and her body was exhumed in 1909 and found to be completely incorrupt and free of odor 30 years later.


In October of 1856, Latapie had fallen from a tree causing severe damage to her right hand. She suffered from ulnar nerve paralysis that is a consequence of a fracture of the forearm leaving two fingers in her right hand completely paralyzed.


Her last claim of a public apparition — Oct.7, 1950 — drew 30,000 people. Among them was Ron Schelfhout, who was 14 years old at the time.


On 18 January 1862, the Bishop of Tarbes Betrand Severt Laurence declared the following regarding the Marian apparitions:

"We are inspired by the Commission comprising wise, holy, learned and experienced priests who questioned the child, studied the facts, examined everything and weighed all the evidence. We have also called on science, and we remain convinced that the Apparitions are supernatural and divine, and that by consequence, what Soubirous saw was the Most Blessed Virgin. Our convictions are based on the testimony of Soubirous, but above all on the things that have happened, things which can be nothing other than divine intervention.


The first documented miracle in Lourdes occurred in 1858 when 38-year-old Catherine Latapie, a farmer's wife and mother of 4 children, 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.


Lourdes is a famous pilgrimage site in France where the waters are believed to have healing powers. In 1858, Bernadette Soubirous, a young local girl, was said to have seen the Virgin Mary at Lourdes and her friend was said to have been healed in the waters. Bernadette was made a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1933.


I come, therefore, with complete confidence to implore your maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the grant of my requests. (mention your petition) Through gratitude for your favours, I will endeavour to imitate your virtues, that I may one day share your glory, and bless you in eternity. Amen.


Approximately 7,500 people have sought to have their case confirmed as a miracle, of which 70 have been declared scientifically inexplicable by the bureau.


There are a total of 70 recognized. Seven of them were recognized in 1862 and 33 around 1908. None were acknowledged from 1908 to 1946, the period around the two World Wars. Below is a list of all cures since the apparition of Our Lady to Bernadette.


How old was Mary when Jesus died? According to Christianity.com, Mary was 46 to 49 years old when Jesus died. Britannica states that she “flourished” from 25 B.C. to A.D. 75. Assuming this is in reference to her lifespan, according to Britannica, Mary was approximately 54 to 59 years old when Jesus died.






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