The Story of Lourdes

 

The Marian Apparitions at Lourdes were reported in 1858 by Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old miller's daughter from the town of Lourdesin southern France.

From 11 February to 16 July 1858, she reported 18 apparitions of "a Lady". Bernadette described the lady as wearing a white veil and a blue girdle; she had a golden rose on each foot and held a rosary of pearls. Despite initial skepticism from the Roman Catholic Church, these claims were eventually declared to be worthy of belief after a canonical investigation, and the apparition is known as Our Lady of Lourdes.

 

According to Bernadette, her visions occurred at the grotto of Massabielle, just outside Lourdes. On 16 July 1858, Bernadette visited the grotto for the last time and said: "I have never seen her so beautiful before." On 18 January 1860, the local bishop declared: "The Virgin Mary did appear indeed to Bernadette Bernadette." In 1958, Pope Pius XII issued the encyclical Le pèlerinage de Lourdes ("The pilgrimage to Lourdes") on the 100th anniversary of the apparitions. Pope John Paul II visited Lourdes three times; Pope Benedict XVI visited Lourdes on 15 September 2008 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the apparitions.

Bernadette Soubirous was canonized a saint in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.

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