“I do not promise to make you happy in this world but in the next.”
Our Lady of the Lourdes first appeared on February 11, 1858 to 13-year old Bernadette Soubirous—the first of 18 visits. Bernadette first happened upon this miracle when she was sent to collect firewood near the Gave River. When she glanced up at the grotto on the riverbank, she noticed the cave was filled with a golden light. A lady appeared wearing a white robe with a blue sash. She had a veil on her head, a rosary clasped in her hands, and yellow roses at her feet.
When Bernadette asked the Lady’s identity, she replied: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Just four years earlier, the pope had proclaimed it was a dogma that Mary was conceived immaculate without original sin. The Blessed Virgin, through Bernadette, had come to call sinners to have a change of heart and find the truth through prayer and penance. The Lady also asked Bernadette to tell the priests to build a chapel on the site and hold processions.
Two weeks later, on February 25th, the Lady told Bernadette to dig until she hit the stream. Bernadette began to dig through the dirt with her hands. Finally, after several attempts, she found water. Although it was muddy at first, the stream became increasing clean. The stream produced over 27,000 gallons of water a day, as it still does today. As word spread, this water was given to medical patients of all kinds, and many reports of miraculous cures followed.
Bernadette’s daily visits to the grotto caused quite a stir in the countryside. Crowds of people began to gather and watch Bernadette as she obediently did the things the Lady asked of her. Initially, everyone doubted Bernadette’s visions and the purpose in her activities. But Bernadette was stubborn and determined to follow Mary’s plans for her. Eventually everyone did believe Bernadette, and the grotto at Lourdes became a place of worship The Lourdes holy water was sacred for performing miracles. Through Our Lady of Lourdes, God shows mercy on those suffering from illness.
Website: Loyola Press http://loyolapress.com/saints.htm#