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  Our Lady of Lourdes
This title of the Blessed Virgin Mary comes from the name of the French town where she appeared to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous 18 times in 1858. At first, Bernadette didn’t know who the lady in her vision was. Bernadette did, however, follow the lady’s directions. The lady told Bernadette to wash herself in a spring in the floor of the cave above which she appeared. Bernadette scratched around on the floor of the cave until she struck water. It suddenly began to flow and it continues to flow today.
Saints of the Season Winter 2018
February 11
 When Bernadette asked the lady in her vision who she was, the lady
replied, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” This title does not strike
us as unfamiliar today, but, in 1858, there was very little chance that
Bernadette would have known Our Lady by this title. The dogma of the
Immaculate Conception had only recently been proclaimed and was
known only by churchmen and the highly educated. When Bernadette repeated this title to the priests, she was taken seriously, and devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes spread rapidly.
Because the spring water is said to have miraculous healing qualities, Lourdes became a place of pilgrimage. Millions have traveled to Lourdes in search of a cure for some illness. Any claim of a cure is investigated carefully, and acceptance of a miracle is di icult to achieve. To date, several hundred healings out of the thousands claimed have been accepted as authentic miracles.
Bernadette became a religious sister and lived as Our Lady had predicted when she said, “I do not promise to make you happy in this world, but in the other.” Bernadette su ered from the skepticism and envy of some of the other sisters who felt she was a nobody who didn’t deserve to be singled out by Our Lady. The humble Bernadette would have agreed with them. She also su ered from ill health. Bernadette died in 1879 at the age of 35 and was canonized in 1933.
       A Service of
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