Monday, February 11, 2013

Our Lady of Lourdes

In 1858 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a young girl named Bernadette Soubirous at the grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes, France.  The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared 18 times to Bernadette.  She announced herself as the Immaculate Conception.  This is interesting because four years earlier, Pope Piux IX declared the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception dogma in Ineffabilis Deus.  

During the apparitions, Our Lady told Bernadette to dig a hole near the grotto from which to drink water.  The people witnessing this thought that the girl had lost her mind.  There was no water, only soil.  Soon thereafter, water began to sprout from the spot where Bernadette had dug a hole.  People who touched or drank the water were cured instantly.  The Blessed Virgin Mary requested a Chapel be built on the site.  The site is now one of the largest shrines in the world and attracts people of all faiths and no faith.  Many miracles are continually occurring at the shrine.  

Last year, floods damaged the shrine and some began to question whether the site was really authentic or not.  If Our Lady appeared there and God willed it, then why would it be affected by the acts of nature?  

Moreover, some connect this to Satan who they feel is attacking the Church strongly now.  They speculate even more now that Pope Benedict XVI chose to resign on February 11, 2013 which is the day in the Liturgical calendar dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes.  Despite the conspiracies, the shrine is just a site.  What matters is our faith in God and how devotion to Mary increases it.    

St. Bernadette Soubirous would join the Sisters of Charity in Nevers after the apparitions and would be canonized a saint by Pope Pius XII in 1933.  Her body is incorrupt even to this day.  

 

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