Feast of our Lady of Lourdes


MANILA, Philippines – The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in France is one of the most frequented Marian shrines in the world. It was built on the spot where Bernadette, a 14-year-old peasant girl, the oldest daughter among the six children of Francois Soubrious and Louise Casterot, had an encounter with the Blessed Virgin Mary. The first encounter happened on February 11, 1858. Bernadette and her friends had gone to gather firewood when suddenly, in the hollow of the rock Massabielle, she saw a young and beautiful lady. “Lovelier than I have ever seen,” Bernadette said. She described the lady as clothed in white, with a blue ribbon sash and a Rosary on her right arm. That was the first of a series of apparitions that ended on July 16, 1858.

One day, the beautiful lady told the Bernadette to drink of a mysterious fountain within the grotto. No fountain was to be seen, but when Bernadette scratched at the ground, a spring began to flow. The water from this still-flowing spring has shown remarkable healing power. Many people who visited the grotto have been healed of various kinds of illnesses.

The lady bade Bernadette to go and tell the local priest that she wished a chapel to be built on the spot and processions to be made to the grotto. The priest said he would not believe it unless the apparition gave Bernadette her name. On March 25, 1858, Bernadette reported that the lady told her, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” At that time Bernadette did not have any idea about the term because of her young age but the Church has just declared the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary in 1854.

The Church professes that Mary is the Immaculate Conception because she was conceived in her mother’s womb without original sin because God prepared her to be the mother of His Son, Jesus our Lord. Pope Pius X then decreed the universal observance of this feast on February 11, 1907.

As we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, we remember Mary’s Immaculate Conception. We pray on this day that we may have the grace and courage to always do the will of God and reject any occasions of sin. We pray to our Blessed Mother to bring us closer to God. We also pray to God through Mary for the conversion of sinners and the forgiveness of their sins.


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