Next Monday, February 11, is the feast of the apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes! In case you are unfamiliar with St. Bernadette or Our Lady of Lourdes, here are some interesting facts about this great feast day!
On February 11, 1858 Bernadette Soubirous was collecting wood at a grotto when a golden cloud and a beautiful Lady appeared. She beckoned Bernadette to come closer and then prayed a rosary with her. This was only the first of eighteen times the Bernadette saw Our Lady!
“She has the appearance of a young girl of sixteen or seventeen. She is dressed in a white robe, girdled at the waist with a blue ribbon which flows down all around it. A yoke closes it in graceful pleats at the base of the neck. The sleeves are long and tight-fitting. She wears upon her head a veil which is also white. This veil gives just a glimpse of her hair and then falls down at the back below her waist. Her feet are bare but covered by the last folds of her robe except at the point where a yellow rose shines upon each of them. She holds on her right arm a rosary of white beads with a chain of gold shinning like the two roses on her feet.”
Bernadette saw Our Lady two more times a few days later and was asked to return to the grotto everyday for fifteen days. Each day Bernadette arrived, followed by more and more people.
Our Lady told her to “drink from the fountain and bathe in it;” Bernadette was confused because there had never been a natural spring in that location. But, obediently she began digging a small pool of water began to form. The next day, the pool had grown and two days later, the pool had become a full stream.
On March 25, the day of the sixteenth apparition, the beautiful Lady revealed herself to Bernadette: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
A chapel has been built at the site of the apparition and many have visited and been cured of illness by the healing waters of the miraculous stream. Bernadette joined the convent of the Sisters of Charity and died at the age of 34. Bernadette’s body was exhumed and has been found to be incorruptible and can be viewed today at the Chapel of Saint Bernadette at the motherhouse in Nevers, France. St. Bernadette was canonized a saint in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.
Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes:
O ever immaculate Virgin, Mother of mercy, health of the sick, refuge of sinners, comfort of the afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary, whence you dispense your favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities both spiritual and corporal, I come, therefore, with unbounded confidence, to implore your material intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the grant of my requests. I will endeavor to imitate your virtues, that I may one day share your glory, and bless you in eternity.