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Notre-Dame de Lourdes (Lourdes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Midi-Pyrénées France)

Commemorated on February 11
Notre-Dame de Lourdes (Lourdes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Midi-Pyrénées France)
On February 11, 1858, Bernadette Soubirous, 14, went to gather firewood with her younger sister and a friend. When they came to the canal near the River Gave, the other girls waded through, but Bernadette stopped to take off her stockings. As she told the police chief ten days later, "I heard a very loud noise in the hedge above Massabielle Grotto; I looked that way and I saw the bushes moving, and behind them something white; I looked a moment, then I knelt and prayed; That One smiled at me and vanished into the Grotto." 
Over the next five months, Bernadette saw the lady she called simply That One ("Aquerò") at the Grotto 17 times more, accompanied by ever more onlookers as word spread. No one else saw the apparition, but many were convinced by the girl's radiant, angelic countenance while in ecstasy. 
On February 25, "She told me to go, drink of the spring." That One indicated some bare ground near the grotto. Bernadette dug there with her hands. "But there I only found a little muddy water. At the fourth attempt I was able to drink. She also made me eat the bitter herbs that were found near the spring, and then the vision left and went away." The 300 witnesses were disconcerted to see the angelic face covered with mud and grass. 
On March 1, Bernadette's friend Catherine Latapie regained the use of her dislocated arm after plunging it into the spring, now a torrent. It was the first of the many healings at Lourdes. 
On March 25, Bernadette asked the Lady's identity. "She lifted up her eyes to heaven, joined her hands as though in prayer, … and said to me, 'Que soy era Immaculada Concepciou,'" incorporating into the uneducated girl's Pyreneen dialect the terminology of the papal dogma issued four years before: "I am the Immaculate Conception." 
St. Bernadette became a Sister of Charity of Nevers, where her incorrupt body is now enshrined. 
Our Lady of Lourdes became the major Marian devotion of the next century, beloved as a source of spiritual and physical healing, a beacon of faith. The image of Mary as Bernadette saw her -- standing, hands folded in prayer, a long white veil over her head, a long blue sash hanging from the waist of her white gown and a long white rosary from her arm -- has been reproduced around the world in every country where Catholics have had a presence, and even the Grotto itself (Philippines, Indonesia). The Catholic Church celebrates February 11 as her feast day, though in Lourdes, the biggest pilgrimage is on the feast of the Assumption, August 15. 
Maximilien-M. François, "Sainte Bernadette et Lourdes," 


Jan 7, 1844
Bernadette Soubirous is born the first of four children in a financially ruined family from a small town in the Pyrenees mountains in France. She was the eldest of six children of Francis Soubirous and Louise Caserot.
Feb 11, 1858
Bernadette first encounters Our Lady in a golden cloud and prays a Rosary in her presence at the grotto. Her sister Marie told their mother all about the incident and her mother forbade Bernadette from returning to the grotto.
Feb 14, 1858
Bernadette and her sisters finally persuade her mother to let her return to the grotto. She encounters the Virgin again but the commotion the other children cause makes her mother inclined not to let her return
Feb 18, 1858
Two influential ladies, Madame Milhet and her seamstress, Antoinette Peyret, request a visit to the grotto with Bernadette in order to obtain the name of the appearing woman. Our Lady asked her to come another 15 times and promised her happiness not in this world but the next.
Feb 19, 1858
Bernadette's mother accompanies her to the grotto.
Feb 20, 1858
The Lady teaches Bernadette a secret prayer which she recited the rest of her life.
Feb 21, 1858
Bernadette is accompanied by large crowds and in particular, Dr. Pierre-Romaine Dozous, the town's most eminent doctor. He evaluates her conditions and announces that there is no indication of "nervous excitement".
Feb 22, 1858
Despite being told she was imagining everything by the imperial procurator and being called a liar by the police who threatened to imprison her, Bernadette shows up at the grotto but does not encounter Our Lady.
Feb 23, 1858
Our Lady appears to Bernadette and gives her "three wonderful secrets" which have never been revealed.
Feb 24, 1858
Our Lady stresses "Penitence" at the next apperance.
Feb 25, 1858
Bernadette is commanded to bathe in and drink from the fountain. Since there was no fountain there, Bernadette digs up some gravel and reveals a pond which she then drinks from and washes her face. This stream instantly becomes a source of healing for visitors to the grotto.
Feb 26, 1858
Bernadette is asked to "kiss the ground on behalf of sinners".
Feb 27, 1858
Bernadette is asked to tell the clergy that they should build a chapel at the grotto.
Mar 1, 1858
Bernadette is told that the people should come in procession to the chapel.
Mar 4, 1858
Twenty-thousand people gather at the apparition site. No sign is performed despite the request of the parish priest, Abbe Peyramale, to have a rosebush bloom in winter.
Mar 25, 1858
On the Feast of the Annunciation, Our Lady identifies herself: "Que soy era Immaculado Conceptiou" ("I am the Immaculate Conception")
Apr 7, 1858
Dr. Dozous observes Bernadette putting her hand through the flame of a candle without feeling pain or getting burned during ecstacy.
Jul 16, 1858
Bernadette receives a final invitation to meet the Lady at the Grotto.
July 4, 1858
Bernadette sees the Lady for the final (18th) time.
Bernadette goes to study at a hospice run by the Sisters of Nevers.
July 18, 1858
An investigative commission is established.
Jan 18, 1862
The Bishop of the Diocese of Tarbes declares the apparitions to be authentic.
July 4, 1866
Bernadette leaves Lourdes for the final time to join the Sisters of Nevers. She is given the name of Sister Mary Bernard and worked there as sacristan and avoided publicity as best she could. She referred to herself as "a broom which Our Lady used, but now I have been put back in my corner."
The Basilica at Lourdes was consecrated.
April 16, 1879
Bernadette dies at age 35 and is buried in St. Gildard Convent in Nevers.
The liturgical feast of Our Lady of Lourdes was established for February 11 approved by Pope Leo XIII and first granted to the Diocese of Tarbes in the year
Nov 13, 1907
Pope St. Pius X proclaimed that it be observed throughout the universal Church.
Her body is exhumed and found to be incorrupt. She was beatified in 1925 by Pope Pius X
Dec 8, 1933
Bernadette is canonized a saint by Pope Pius X on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Sept 12-15, 2008
Pope Benedict XVI makes a pilgrimage to the Lourdes for the 150th Anniversary of the apparitions. 



"She has the appareance 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 along her robe. She wears upon her head a veil which is also white; this veil gives just a glimpse of her hair then falls down at the back below her 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 shining like the two roses on her feet."


After a 4 year investigation commission, the bishop of the Diocese of Tarbes declared on January 18, 1962: " We judge that Mary Immaculate, Mother of God, really appeared to Bernadette Soubirous on February 11, 1858, and on subsequent days, eighteen times in all. The faithful are justified in believing this to be certain."


O Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, you are the refuge of sinners, the health of the sick, and the comfort of the afflicted. You know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. By your appearance at the Grotto of Lourdes you made it a privileged sanctuary where your favors are given to people streaming to it from the whole world. Over the years countless sufferers have obtained the cure for their infirmities -- whether of soul, mind, or body. Therefore I come to you with limitless confidence to implore your motherly intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the grant of my requests. Through gratitude for Your favors, I will endeavor to imitate Your virtues, that I may one day share in Your glory. Amen.
August 15, 2004 - By John Paul II
Hail Mary, poor and humble Woman,
Blessed by the Most High!
Virgin of hope, dawn of a new era,
We join in your song of praise,
to celebrate the Lord’s mercy,
to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom
and the full liberation of humanity.
Hail Mary, lowly handmaid of the Lord,
Glorious Mother of Christ!
Faithful Virgin, holy dwelling-place of the Word,
Teach us to persevere in listening to the Word,
and to be docile to the voice of the Spirit,
attentive to his promptings in the depths of our conscience
and to his manifestations in the events of history.
Hail Mary, Woman of sorrows,
Mother of the living!
Virgin spouse beneath the Cross, the new Eve,
Be our guide along the paths of the world.
Teach us to experience and to spread the love of Christ,
to stand with you before the innumerable crosses
on which your Son is still crucified.
Hail Mary, woman of faith,
First of the disciples!
Virgin Mother of the Church, help us always
to account for the hope that is in us,
with trust in human goodness and the Father’s love.
Teach us to build up the world beginning from within:
in the depths of silence and prayer,
in the joy of fraternal love,
in the unique fruitfulness of the Cross.
Holy Mary, Mother of believers,
Our Lady of Lourdes,
pray for us.
The Litany of Our Lady of Lourdes
Lord, have mercy on us. 
Christ, have mercy on us. 
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. 
Christ, graciously hear us. God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us. 
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. 
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us. 
Exalted model of all mothers, Our Lady of Lourdes, Pray for us. 
Mother who did suffer so much, Pray for us. 
Mother poor and without shelter, Pray for us. 
Mother who did bear along forgotten roads the fruit of thy womb, Pray for us. 
Who did find no other shelter for thy Son and our God than a wild cave, and no other cradle than a manger, Pray for us. 
Who did declare, "I am the Immaculate Conception," Pray for us.
Who did appear to a humble peasant girl in order to teach us humility, Pray for us. 
Who was clad in a white robe to remind us of purity, Pray for us.
Who did wear a girdle of blue to remind us of Heaven, Pray for us. 
Who did tread on a rosebush to remind us of the sufferings we must endure in order to merit Heaven, Pray for us.
Who did carry the rosary to induce us to pray, Pray for us. 
Who had thy hands joined and thy eyes raised to Heaven to draw us to penance, Pray for us. 
Who is the Star of Hope, Pray for us. 
Who prays to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for us, Pray for us. 
Who gives strength to the clergy, Pray for us. 
Who heals the sick, Pray for us. 
Who is the health of the weak, Refuge of sinners,  Pray for us. 
Comforter of the afflicted, Pray for us. 
Our Lady of Lourdes, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. 
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,  spare us, O Lord.  
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,  have mercy on us. Pray for us, Our Lady of Lourdes, Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 
Let us pray: Our Lady of Lourdes, so fruitful in miracles, protect, with that hand which nothing can resist, our Holy Father the Pope. Infuse into us the spirit of faith, hope and charity. We all believe the truth of thy apparitions, and the unlimited power with which thy Divine Son has armed thee. Hence it is that we have recourse to thee. 
Prayer to be said when using Lourdes water
Blessed be the Holy and Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us. Mother, have mercy on us. 
Our Lady of Lourdes, heal us for the greater glory of the Holy Trinity. 
Our Lady of Lourdes, heal us for the greater glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Lady of Lourdes, heal the sick, convert sinners.
Health of the sick, Help of the suffering, pray for us.
Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
St. Bernadette, pray for us!
Prayer of the Jubilee Year of 2008
God our Father
among all creatures You have formed Mary,
the perfect creature, the “Immaculate Conception”.
Here in Lourdes she proclaimed this name and Bernadette repeated it.
The Immaculate Conception; this is a cry of hope:
evil, sin, and death are no longer victors.
Mary, precursory sign, dawn of salvation!   
You, the innocence and refuge of sinners
We pray to you. 
Hail Mary……….. ! 
Lord Jesus,
You gave us Mary as our Mother.
She shared Your Passion and Resurrection.
Here in Lourdes she showed herself to Bernadette,
saddened by our sins but radiant with Your light.
Through her, we entrust to You our joys and our sorrows,
our own, those of the sick, and those of all people. 
Our sister and our mother,
our confidant, and our help
We pray to you 
Hail Mary……….. ! 
Holy Spirit, you are the Spirit of love and unity.
Here in Lourdes, through Bernadette, Mary asked
for a Chapel, and for people to come in procession.
Inspire the Church which Christ is building on Peter’s faith:
that it may be one.
Guide the pilgrimage of the Church:
that it may be faithful and daring! 
Mary, you are filled with the Holy Spirit,
you are the spouse and the servant.
You are the model for Christians, and the maternal face of the Church.v We pray to you. 
Hail Mary……….. ! 
For the many graces received here,
for all the conversions,
all the forgiveness,
all the healings,
for the vocations and promises
which you have witnessed or engendered,
for the love of serving others, which you have let us experience,
Our Lady of Lourdes
we thank you! 
With all our brothers and sisters of the human race,
with all people in need of peace and justice,
with young people in search of a way,
you who appeared so young to little Bernadette,
with all those who are in mourning, who are ill,
handicapped, or facing a setback,
with those who may have a reason for despair:
Our Lady of Lourdes
We pray to you! 
Because you are the smile of God,
the reflection of the light of Christ,
the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit,
because you chose Bernadette in her misery,
because you are the star of the morning, the gate of Heaven,
and the first resurrected creature
we praise you,
we acclaim you
and with you we sing the wonders of God.
Our Lady of Lourdes - Hymn
Hail! all Hail! great Queen of Heaven, 
Hail sweet Notre Dame de Lourde, 
Neath whose care our weary exile,
Is from countless ills secured. 
Then let men and angels praise thee,
Fount of grace to all assured, 
While in gladsome strains we are singing, 
Hail! sweet Notre Dame de Lourde Hail! 
sweet Notre Dame de Lourde.
Blessed thou above all others, 
Mary Mistress of the Spheres, 
Star of hope, serenely beaming 
Through this darksome vale of tears. 
Then let men and angels praise thee, 
Fount of grace to all assured, 
While in gladsome strains we are singing, 
Hail! sweet Notre Dame de Lourde 
Hail! sweet Notre Dame de Lourde. 
Happy angels joy to own thee, 
O'er their choirs exalted high,
Throned in blissful light and beauty,
Empress of the starry sky. 
Then let men and angels praise thee,
Fount of grace to all assured, 
While in gladsome strains we are singing, 
Hail! sweet Notre Dame de Lourde 
Hail! sweet Notre Dame de Lourde. 
As the fount is still unsealing Its pure treasures softly fair, 
May each drop be fraught with healing, 
Dearest mother, at thy prayer. 
Then let men and angels praise thee, Fount of grace to all assured, 
While in gladsome strains we are singing, 
Hail! sweet Notre Dame de Lourde 
Hail! sweet Notre Dame de Lourde.
Intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes
Blessed, most pure Virgin, you chose to manifest yourself shining with life, sweetness, and beauty, in the Grotto of Lourdes. Obtain for me, O loving Mother, this special request....(state your intention).
Our Lady of Lourdes, Mother of Christ, pray for me. Obtain from your Divine Son my special request if it be God's will.



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