Roman Catholic Feast Day, February 11 OUR LADY of LOURDES (1858)
The first of the eighteen apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the humble Bernadette Soubirous took place at Lourdes on February 11, 1858. On March 25th, when Bernadette asked the beautiful Lady Her name, She replied: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” The Church for long centuries had believed in Her Immaculate Conception, Her exemption from every trace of the original sin which through Adam, our first and common father, separated man from his God.
It was never proclaimed a dogma, however, until 1854. Mary Herself, in 1830, had asked of a Vincentian Sister at the Rue du Bac in Paris, that a medal be struck bearing Her likeness and the inscription: “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.” Our Lady by Her apparitions at Lourdes in 1858 seems to convey Her appreciation for the formal proclamation of Her great privilege, by Pius IX, in 1854. Countless and magnificent miracles of healing have occurred at Lourdes, confirmed by physicians and recorded in the Lourdes shrine “Book of Life.” To name but one: a doctor wrote a book describing the great miracle he had witnessed for a dying girl, whom he had observed on the train that was carrying handicapped persons from Paris to Lourdes. He had not expected her to survive and return home from the sanctuary.
See more details of the multiple visions Bernadette experienced at Mother Of All Peoples.
Bernadette's state of perfect preservation?
The Apparition instructed Bernadette to drink from a pool of water hidden under a rock. Those waters are credited with her preserving her body which lies in state today...
After thirty years undisturbed in the tomb, Sister Marie (Bernadette) Bernard's body was exhumed for examination. The cause for sainthood had begun. When the stone was lifted from the vault, the coffin was immediately seen. It was carried to the room prepared for it and placed on two trestles covered with a cloth. On one side was a table covered with a white cloth. The remains of Bernadette were to be placed on this table. The wooden coffin was unscrewed and the lead coffin cut open to reveal the body in a state of perfect preservation. There was not the slightest trace of an unpleasant smell. The Sisters who had buried her thirty years earlier noted only that her hands had fallen slightly to the left. The words of the surgeon and the doctor, who were under oath, speak for themselves:
"The coffin was opened in the presence of the Bishop of Nevers, the mayor of the town, his principal deputy, several canons and ourselves. We noticed no smell. The body was clothed in the habit of Bernadette's order. The habit was damp. Only the face, hands and forearms were uncovered..."
People travel from all over the world in hopes of miraculous healing from the water at Lourdes. Over 2500 healings have been reported.
In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI granted Plenary Indulgences for the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes.
If you are Roman Catholic, please visit What Every Roman Catholic Should Know.
See more on The Mother of All Peoples here.
See related article: Pope Celebrates 150th Anniversary of Lourdes' Marian Apparitions