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Our Lady of Lourdes
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Our Lady of Lourdes
Saint of the Day for February 11
The Story of Our Lady of Lourdes
On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in the apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus. A little more than three years later, on February 11, 1858, a young lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous. This began a series of visions. During the apparition on March 25, the lady identified herself with the words: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Bernadette was a sickly child of poor parents. Their practice of the Catholic faith was scarcely more than lukewarm. Bernadette could pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Creed. She also knew the prayer of the Miraculous Medal: “O Mary conceived without sin.”
During interrogations Bernadette gave an account of what she saw. It was “something white in the shape of a girl.” She used the word aquero, a dialect term meaning “this thing.” It was “a pretty young girl with a rosary over her arm.” Her white robe was encircled by a blue girdle. She wore a white veil. There was a yellow rose on each foot. A rosary was in her hand. Bernadette was also impressed by the fact that the lady did not use the informal form of address (tu), but the polite form (vous). The humble virgin appeared to a humble girl and treated her with dignity.
Through that humble girl, Mary revitalized and continues to revitalize the faith of millions of people. People began to flock to Lourdes from other parts of France and from all over the world. In 1862 Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions and authorized the cult of Our Lady of Lourdes for the diocese. The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes became worldwide in 1907.
Lourdes has become a place of pilgrimage and healing, but even more of faith. Church authorities have recognized over 60 miraculous cures, although there have probably been many more. To people of faith this is not surprising. It is a continuation of Jesus’ healing miracles—now performed at the intercession of his mother. Some would say that the greater miracles are hidden. Many who visit Lourdes return home with renewed faith and a readiness to serve God in their needy brothers and sisters.
There still may be people who doubt the apparitions of Lourdes. Perhaps the best that can be said to them are the words that introduce the film The Song of Bernadette: “For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.”
Our Lady of Lourdes if the Patron Saint of:
Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes 11th of February 2015
Carrying physical and emotional baggage, U.S. military visit Lourdes
Lourdes healing hailed as ‘remarkable’ [Catholic Caucus]
Healing and Miracles at Lourdes-February 11 Feast Day
LOURDES AND ST. BERNADETTE [Catholic Caucus]
Story of The Miracle of Lourdes
Healing ‘gift’ from Lourdes visit frees ALS victim from wheelchair (Catholic Caucus)
Catholic Caucus: The Allure of Lourdes
Saint Bernadette & Our Lady of Lourdes [Catholic Caucus]
Church doctors bail out of miracle business at Lourdes? Not so fast… [Catholic Caucus]
Mary Unites Christians, Cardinal Tells Anglicans (Pilgrimage to Lourdes Called a Miracle)
Anglican archbishop comes under fire for homily at Lourdes [Ecumenical]
On the Message of Lourdes
Pope delivers anti-euthanasia message at Lourdes
At Prayer (Pope’s pilgrimage to Lourdes) [Ecumenical]
Pope Benedict XVl’s Homily at Lourdes
Pope Benedict goes to France, and to Lourdes (full coverage and links) [Catholic Caucus]
Pope to Pray for World at Feet of Our Lady (of Lourdes) [Catholic Caucus]
Papal calendar: Lourdes visit, four new saints and the Bible Synod
Lourdes and Penance(Catholic Caucus)
Vatican marks 150th anniversary of Lourdes girl’s visions of ary
Pope OKs plenary indulgence for Lourdes’ 150th anniversary [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus}
On Lent… and Lourdes (Benedict XVI’s Angelus address)
The challenge of finding peace in Lourdes
Anglicans keep Lourdes anniversary (8 bishops plan unprecedented pilgrimage)
Trips to Lourdes to Cut Time Spent in Purgatory
A Different Take On Health Care: A Trip to Lourdes (Catholic Caucus)
Catholic Church officials call for more clergy to work at Marian shrine in Lourdes
150th Anniversary of Our Lady of Lourdes (Catholic Caucus)
Pope: From Lourdes to Seoul, I entrust the world’s sick and suffering to Mary [Catholic Caucus] (Locked)
fear and loathing at Lourdes (French bishops shudder ‘avec peur’)
Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes
Woman whose healing is 67th Lourdes miracle tells her story
Catholic Church vets 67th Lourdes ‘miracle’
Our Lady of Lourdes – February 11
Our Lady of Lourdes
Paralyzed Woman Cured at Lourdes Shrine
Lourdes Has Its 66th Officially Recognized Miracle
Information: Our Lady of Lourdes
Feast Day: February 11
Saturday, February 11
Liturgical Color: Green
Today is the optional memorial
of Our Lady of Lourdes. Here
Our Lady made 18 appearances
to St. Bernadette in 1858. A
basilica was built over the grotto
where Mary appeared. More
than 200 million pilgrims have
visited the site since 1860.
Ordinary Time: February 11th
Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes
February 11, 2017 (Readings on USCCB website)
Grant us, O merciful God, protection in our weakness, that we, who keep the Memorial of the Immaculate Mother of God, may with the help of her intercession, rise up from our iniquities. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Old Calendar: Apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes
Today marks the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858 to fourteen-year-old Marie Bernade (St. Bernadette) Soubirous. Between February 11 and July 16, 1858, the Blessed Virgin appeared eighteen times, and showed herself to St. Bernadette in the hollow of the rock at Lourdes. On March 25 she said to the little shepherdess who was only fourteen years of age: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Since then Lourdes has become a place of pilgrimage and many cures and conversions have taken place. The message of Lourdes is a call to personal conversion, prayer, and charity.
Our Lady of Lourdes
The many miracles which have been performed through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin at Lourdes prompted the Church to institute a special commemorative feast, the “Apparition of the Immaculate Virgin Mary.” The Office gives the historical background. Four years after the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (1854), the Blessed Virgin appeared a number of times to a very poor and holy girl named Bernadette. The actual spot was in a grotto on the bank of the Gave River near Lourdes.
The Immaculate Conception had a youthful appearance and was clothed in a pure white gown and mantle, with an azure blue girdle. A golden rose adorned each of her bare feet. On her first apparition, February 11, 1858, the Blessed Virgin bade the girl make the sign of the Cross piously and say the rosary with her. Bernadette saw her take the rosary that was hanging from her arms into her hands. This was repeated in subsequent apparitions.
With childlike simplicity Bernadette once sprinkled holy water on the vision, fearing that it was a deception of the evil spirit; but the Blessed Virgin smiled pleasantly, and her face became even more lovely. The third time Mary appeared she invited the girl to come to the grotto daily for two weeks. Now she frequently spoke to Bernadette. On one occasion she ordered her to tell the ecclesiastical authorities to build a church on the spot and to organize processions. Bernadette also was told to drink and wash at the spring still hidden under the sand.
Finally on the feast of the Annunciation, the beautiful Lady announced her name, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
The report of cures occurring at the grotto spread quickly and the more it spread, the greater the number of Christians who visited the hallowed place. The publicity given these miraculous events on the one hand and the seeming sincerity and innocence of the girl on the other made it necessary for the bishop of Tarbes to institute a judicial inquiry. Four years later he declared the apparitions to be supernatural and permitted the public veneration of the Immaculate Conception in the grotto. Soon a chapel was erected, and since that time countless pilgrims come every year to Lourdes to fulfill promises or to beg graces.
— Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.
February 11 was proclaimed World Day of the Sick by Pope John Paul II. Therefore, it would be appropriate to celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick on this day during a Mass or Liturgy of the Word. (The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is only to be given to “those of the faithful whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age”, Roman Ritual. This Sacrament must not be given indiscriminately to all who take part in Masses for the sick.)
We pilgrims to Lourdes
Anyone who has made a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Lourdes will not have missed the opportunity to pray at the Grotto where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on the 11th of February 1858. A mystical place, similar to the welcoming “bosom” of a mother, almost a baptismal font, in which to immerse ourselves and rediscover the unrivalled beauty of being Christians: having God as our Father and Mary as our Mother!
Lourdes is one of the most important “places of grace” known to the Church. It is like a vast basin of purity where countless souls have removed the clothes of sin and put on the snow white garments of spiritual rebirth! Some, like the author, found the light necessary to embrace the call to the priesthood, others, the strength to remain faithful to this commitment.
How can we deny that the Mother is the one who knows the Will of the Son better than anyone else and that turning to Her we understand better the mysterious plan God has for each one of us? No one better than Mary can convince us to “do whatever he tells you”!
In Lourdes, like the servants at Cana, we too sincerely open our hearts to the presence of the Mother and, attentive to her words, we are captivated by the mystery of the Son. Then we see His Will for what it truly is: our path to happiness!
Bernardette actually saw the Lady dressed in white, whereas we see her not with our eyes but with our heart, which is aware in faith of her presence on our journey. In front of the Grotto of Massabielle the pilgrim’s interior vision is illuminated with a light typical of that place of grace: the light of the spiritual motherhood of Mary who gives Jesus to us as at Christmas, again and again.
Those apparitions have sustained countless souls, encouraging them on the path of conversion and personal sanctification. And their change has helped improve the world because the whole world benefits from the conversion of even one heart.
For us, pilgrims to Lourdes, Mary’s universal motherhood is a mystery to discover again and again, so she may accompany us all through life. In Lourdes this Marian light is present everywhere: when we bathe in the waters, in the evening when we mingle with thousands of others to pray the rosary at the torchlight procession; in the afternoon when we join crowds of sick persons taking part in the Blessed Sacrament Procession …
Her presence is a mystery to savor in our soul and to learn, with Mary, to honour her Son, especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The first to witness Our Lady’s presence at Lourdes was little Bernardette Soubirous, who became her intrepid messenger. Although she is buried far away in Nevers in the north of France, her body totally incorrupt, as if she were asleep, you can “meet” Saint Bernadette everywhere in Lourdes.
It is sweet to remember her and read the humble words she addressed to Our Lady: “Yes, gentle Mother, you lowered yourself, you came down to earth to appear to a helpless little girl… You, the Queen of Heaven and earth, deigned to make use of what was most humble for the world” (from her Journal dedicated to the Queen of Heaven, 1866).
The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, recalling that “this year (2008) the beginning of Lent coincides providentially with the 150th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes”, said in his Angelus reflection on the 1st Sunday of Lent “the message which Our Lady still offers at Lourdes recalls the words Jesus said at the beginning of his public mission and that we hear so often in these first days of Lent: ‘Convert and believe in the Gospel, pray and do penance. Let us respond to the call of Mary who echoes that of Christ and let us ask Her to help us ‘enter’ Lent with faith and live this season of grace with deep joy and generous commitment” (Benedict XVI, Angelus 10 February 2008). (Agenzia Fides 13/2/2008; righe 47, parole 662)
— Mgr. Luciano Alimandi
Patron: Bodily ills.
Symbols: The Blessed Virgin (“The Immaculate Conception”) who wears a white dress, blue belt, and a rose on each foot.
Things to Do:
Watch The Song of Bernadette, a masterpiece filmed in 1943.
Bring flowers (roses would be appropriate) to your statue of Our Lady at your home altar, especially if you have a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Obtain some Lourdes holy water and give the parental blessing to your children (see link).
Give extra care to the sick in your community — cook dinner for a sick mother’s family, bring your children to the local nursing home (the elderly love to see children), send flowers to a member of your parish community who is ill.
Meditation: Mark 8:1-10
Our Lady of Lourdes (Optional Memorial)
They . . . were satisfied. (Mark 8:8)
Do you know people who are remarkably generous? It seems like every time you turn around, they are giving, whether it’s sharing time, making a large donation, or giving wonderful gifts. In Scripture, we see that God is just like this, only on a much more extravagant scale.
In today’s Gospel, for example, Jesus doesn’t give just a few people only a mouthful of food. He feeds four thousand people until their stomachs are filled. That’s extravagance! What’s more, just before performing this miracle, we see Jesus freeing a young girl from a demon and healing a deaf man with a speech impairment. Both of them were Greek, outsiders who were considered undeserving of God’s favor! But Jesus showed that God’s generosity surpasses all boundaries, even the one between Jews and Gentiles. Later, he took the time to pray over another man twice—just to make sure he could see perfectly.
In his parables, Jesus also portrayed God as a lavishly generous Father: think of the father of the prodigal son or the king who forgives the equivalent of millions of dollars of debt or the employer who pays a day’s wages for just an hour’s work. And if that’s not enough, remember his most generous act of all: Jesus laid down his life for us on the cross. That’s what generosity looks like!
Yet for all these stories, we can still think differently about our heavenly Father: “Look at how many times I have failed. God can never be happy with me. It’s no use to ask for his forgiveness or his help. I don’t deserve them anyway.” It’s as if we are programmed to think this way, and we need to be reminded over and over again that it just isn’t true.
Today in prayer, imagine yourself sitting with the four thousand. Jesus is looking on all of you with compassion. Imagine him pausing before you and looking into your eyes. He has so much love for you! He wants nothing more than to convince you that you have a generous Father in heaven. This is a wonderful place to be—and you can experience it every day. What a loving, generous God we have!
“Father, thank you for your generosity to me. Lord, I trust in you!”
Psalm 90:2-6, 12-13
Marriage = One Man and One Woman Until Death Do Us Part
Daily Marriage Tip for February 11, 2017:
As Valentine’s Day approaches, give your spouse a gift of memory. If you haven’t already, memorize your wedding vows. Few people like to memorize but it’s a way to keep your vows always in mind.
Saturday of the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time
In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat, he summoned the disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.” His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied. He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also. They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over — seven baskets. There were about four thousand people. He dismissed them and got into the boat with his disciples and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, how quickly I lose faith and begin to trust more in things that I can touch and see than in your promises and strength. But I do believe in you, that you are the Bread of Life, and that only you can satisfy the deepest longings of my heart. As you are my Creator, you know what I need and provide for me each day. As you are my Redeemer, you lead me along the pathway of the cross and forgiveness. I want to follow you more closely.
Petition: Lord, strengthen my faith, so that I can be magnanimous like you.
“I feel sorry for all these people.” Jesus shows compassion for the crowd, even for their temporal needs. He knows how earthly they can be, seeking only to satisfy their need for bread and water. In another passage he says, “Why worry about what you are to eat, or drink, or what you are to wear? … All these things the pagans seek” (Matthew 6:25-33) –– “pagans,” that is, those with no faith or trust in the heavenly Father. Our Lord does not worry about food and clothing for himself, although he does seek to provide them for others. But his charity doesn’t end there. He sincerely desires their greatest good, and for this reason gives them much more than a passing meal. Together with bread and water, he gives them the gift of faith. After all, man does not live on bread alone” (Luke 4:4).
“Where could anyone get bread to feed these people in a deserted place like this? The apostles ask a very human question, revealing the poverty of their faith in Jesus. Such a question, without faith, would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Since the task seems impossible, why try at all? How often does this way of thinking rein us in from doing great things for God and expecting great things from him? How often do we resign ourselves to defeat, content to mourn and lament seemingly hopeless situations, as if God were not almighty and willing to help us? We need the faith of the Blessed Virgin, who believed the impossible and became the mother of all who believe.
“They ate as much as they wanted and they collected seven basketfuls of the scraps left over.” Jesus offers the fullness of life and love, an abundance of goodness and grace, to all who follow him. His ways are the ways of life. He allows us to suffer want in this life so that we will tap into the true source of abundance through faith, hope and love. Those who seek themselves by seeking purely material goods — which are limited by definition — will always be in want and will always feel the threat of losing what they have. Those who seek Christ and his grace — which is unlimited by definition — will never fear when they lose their earthly goods. That is why Jesus says that to anyone who has (faith, hope, love, grace, the gifts of the spiritual life), more will be given, and from the one who has not (none of these spiritual gifts), even what he seems to have (material possessions which are here today and gone tomorrow, always decaying and coming to an end) will be taken away (Luke 8:18).
Conversation with Christ: Lord, give me the gift of compassion, so that I may serve others with your heart. Give me the gifts of faith, hope and love so that I will understand that your goodness knows no bounds or limits, and that you wish to pour out your grace on all until our cups are overflowing.
Resolution: I will be magnanimous in my charity towards others today.
One Bread, One Body
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