The Lourdes Story
It was on 11 February 1858 that the Blessed Virgin first appeared to 14 year old Bernadette Souberous, a poor miller's daughter at a rubbish dump on the outskirts of the town of Lourdes in SW France.
Bernadette as pictured in the Sheepfold Chapel, Cite St Pierre
In the course of the next five months there were a total of eighteen apparitions during which the Blessed Virgin asked Bernadette to pray for sinners, to tell the priests to have a chapel built on the site, to bring the people here in procession.
It was not until the 16th Apparition on 25 March that Our Lady revealed her name. Bernadette recounted; "She lifted up her eyes to heaven, joined her hands as though in prayer, that were held out and open towards the ground and said to me: Que soy era Immaculada Concepciou (I am the Immaculate Conception)."
The magnificent basilica which now towers over the site of the Apparitions
The young visionary left and, running all the way, repeated continuously the words that she did not understand. These words troubled the brave Parish Priest. Bernadette was ignorant of the fact that this theological expression was assigned to the Blessed Virgin four years earlier, in 1854, when Pope Pius IX declared this a truth of the Catholic Faith (a dogma)
For a full account visit the page of the Apparitions on the Lourdes site.
Over the ensuing years Lourdes has become an important place of pilgrimage for Christians from every continent of the world with over 6,000,000 pilgrims visting the town annually.
A visit to the grotto at night
Whilst many public miraculous signs of healing have been displayed throughout the years, it is the many hundreds of thousands of private signs given to individuals in answer to prayer that most Lourdes pilgrims experience - the strenghth to cope with an illness, the graces to accept God's will, the courage to face life or even approach death with confidence!
It has often been said that if you have never been to Lourdes then no words can describe it, but if you have then no words are necessary!
Please visit our our photo gallery to have a look at Group photos in scenes familiar to Lourdes pilgrims.
Below is a You Tube customer's information on Lourdes. Please note this was not an ACROSS pilgrimage but there are some authentic and interesting contemporary images.
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