The Apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes, France (1858)
Written by: Steve Bollman
Our Lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous 18 times between February 11 and July 16, 1858. February 11th is now celebrated as the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, and July 16th is celebrated as the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
From a spiritual and practical perspective, Lourdes is big – very big. On the spiritual level, Pope Pius XII stated that Lourdes represented “a new and incomparable outpouring of the Redemption” (Le Pelerinage de Lourdes, 1957). On the practical level, it is the largest Marian shrine attracting up to 6 million people every year.
I would like to mention the hidden presence of the Holy Family at Lourdes:
– Our Lady is the only one who appeared. Her presence is still tangibly felt at the grotto and baths.
– Christ is present in the Eucharist – not only in the numerous Masses celebrated everyday in the countless chapels, but especially in the Eucharistic processions – which are themselves the source of numerous miraculous healings.
– St. Joseph loves to remain hidden. His statue is at the gate welcoming people to Lourdes. St. Joseph remains the guardian of the Holy Family.
As such, the Holy Family has, so to speak, taken up residence at Lourdes. It is a “little Nazareth.” Pope Pius XII stated that Mary “deigned to establish at Lourdes ‘the seat of her immense kindness'” (Le Pelerinage de Lourdes, 1957). It is for this reason that Paradisus Dei is so attached to Lourdes. Here families may encounter the Holy Family so that their family may find healing and experience something of the love, peace, and joy of the Holy Family.
Our Lady of Lourdes, Pray for us.