IN THIS ISSUE
Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Lourdes
In 1858, Our Blessed Mother confirmed herself as the Immaculate Conception and inspired hope and faith in the hearts of millions. She appeared 18 times to young Bernadette Soubirious, a poor peasant girl who lived in Lourdes, France.
In the past 150 years, Lourdes has been transformed from a small village at the foot of the Pyrenees, to a place of pilgrimage that one Lourdes volunteer refers to as, “a premonition of heaven on earth.” As we enter this remarkable jubilee year of the miraculous apparitions in Lourdes, Christians throughout the world are embracing Our Lady’s timeless message of devotion, healing, and love. A message that is as important today as it was then.
The Missionary Oblates have a long history of affiliation with Lourdes. It was at the request of Fr. Ferdinand Gondrand, O.M.I., that Bernadette created the first written account of the eighteen apparitions she witnessed. In the years that have passed, the story of Lourdes has inspired people around the world. Today, pilgrims of all nations come with hope in their hearts to visit the blessed place where Our Lady once appeared. The Oblates at Lourdes are involved in youth ministry, pilgrimages, and reconciliation, among many other things. They welcome pilgrims young and old and help them experience Lourdes. The Oblates feel that their role in Lourdes today is a continuance of the role Fr. Gondrand played in 1861. They have been called to continue to spread the message of Our Lady of Lourdes to all of the pilgrims who come seeking comfort.
The message of Lourdes is one of faith, healing, and love for one another and for God. It is a message of faith, because Mary, whose own life exemplified tremendous faith in God, inspired faith in Bernadette and the many pilgrims who come seeking guidance in their own faith. Bob, a volunteer at Lourdes, explains, “Lourdes is a place to indulge in Christianity where pilgrims can express uninhibited prayer.”
It is a message of healing because, although Lourdes is renowned for the miraculous healings that have occurred, oftentimes, pilgrims report that they were healed in a different way than they had expected. Father Martin Moran, O.M.I., who ministers in Lourdes explains, “Much of the healing in Lourdes is the healing of hearts which is attained through reconciliation and prayer.”
Finally, if there were but one word to describe Lourdes, it would be love. Love pervades the whole atmosphere of the Shrine. Emanating from every corner, radi
ating from every smile, and saturating every pilgrim; love reigns in this glorious part of the world. Lourdes, a town transformed by the divine presence of the Blessed Mother, herself, truly is a “premonition of heaven on earth.” Our Lady’s loving message has been flourishing in the hearts of millions for 150 years. May the world continue to embrace her loving message today and always.
The Miracle of the Spring
In 1858, Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to Bernadette 18 times asking her to pray the rosary. On February 25, during her ninth visit, Our Lady asked Bernadette to dig in the ground and miraculously, a spring appeared.
Through Our Lady’s intersession, the miraculous waters of that spring has healed countless suffering people. That is why to this day, the grotto is referred to as the “Grotto of Miracles.” Millions of pilgrims come to Lourdes each year seeking Our Lady’s healing intercession through her gift of healing water.
In honor of the Lourdes 150th Jubilee, the Missionary Oblates would like to send you a gift from Our Lady, herself - the healing water of Lourdes. When you offer a donation in support of our ministries in Lourdes and throughout the world, we will send you a bottle of Genuine Lourdes Water.
The Miracle of the Candle
On April 7, 1858, during Our Blessed Mother’s 17th apparition to Bernadette, the“Miracle of the Candle” occurred. As Bernadette prayed, she held her hands around a candle. The flame flickered around her hands and fingers and eventually made direct contact with her skin for a long period of time. Those watching her were concerned that she would be seriously burned, however her flesh was completely unharmed. From that day on, candles have played an important part in the devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes.
In honor of the Lourdes
150th Jubilee, the Missionary
Oblates would like to light a
candle for you at the sacred
grotto in Lourdes, France.