Bernadette of Lourdes
Prayer to St. Bernadette
O Saint Bernadette, who, as a meek and pure child, did eighteen times at Lourdes contemplate the beauty of the Immaculate Mother of God and received her messages, and who afterwards wished to hide yourself from the world in the convent of Nevers, and to offer thyself there as a victim for the conversion of sinners, obtain for us the grace of purity, simplicity and mortification that we also may attain to the vision of God and of Mary in Heaven.
Lourdes, France is a renowned spiritual healing destination where miracles happen every day. The experience of visiting Lourdes is unforgettable and stays with you forever. Those who have been to Lourdes often struggle to put into words the mystical and extraordinary events that take place there.
I have been to Lourdes twice and both times I have experienced a profound spiritual awakening. It feels like layers of burden have been lifted off me, leaving me feeling lighter and rejuvenated. It's a place that offers inner peace and healing, and it never ceases to amaze me.
Located in the southwest of France, Lourdes gained international recognition when Bernadette Soubirous, a sickly and impoverished girl, claimed to have witnessed a sighting of the Virgin Mary.
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 the most unbounded confidence, to implore your maternal 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.
Born on January 7, 1844, in Lourdes, France, Bernadette came from a disadvantaged family that faced numerous challenges. As the eldest of four siblings, she battled several illnesses from a young age.
In 1848, Bernadette's father lost one of his eyes, which resulted in financial difficulties for their family. Consequently, they had to move frequently to sustain themselves. By 1856, with three more family members to feed, the situation became dire, and they became homeless. Fortunately, Bernadette's father's cousin took compassion on them and provided them with a place to stay. It was a small and uninviting space, measuring only 4 by 4 1/2 yards.
Bernadette was always known for her pleasant and good-natured personality, never complaining or being critical of anyone's behavior towards her while growing up.
Even though she wasn't able to read or write, she committed the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Apostles' Creed to memory. Her biggest aspiration was to receive her First Communion.
Bernadette was around fourteen years old when she claimed to have seen the blessed Virgin Mary for the first time on February 11, 1858. This occurred at Massabielle, which is a location featuring a large rock covering an elongated grotto.
Bernadette, her sister, and a friend went to the Gave to collect firewood. When they arrived, they saw a heap of driftwood on the opposite side of the stream. Bernadette, aware of her poor constitution, hesitated to cross the stream while her sister and friend went ahead. As she couldn't find any other options, she eventually took off her stockings and braved the icy-cold water to reach the other side
Bernadette was taking off her stockings when she suddenly felt a strong breeze and heard a noise. She turned around but everything seemed still. However, the noise persisted and when she turned around again, she saw a woman in white standing in the grotto. The woman had a white veil over her head, a sky blue girdle, and a rose on each foot. She was holding a rosary made of white beads.
Bernadette recalled that she was stunned, frightened and motionless. However, when the lady, "raised the rosary and crossed herself," she did the same. When the lady gestured her to move closer, she could not move. Immediately after that, the lady disappeared.
Each time the lady appeared, a total of eighteen visits, Bernadette would go through a physical transformation, "when she was in ecstasy- she became extremely pale, 'wax like'...smiled with such tenderness that it was a joy to behold her."
On the third apparition, the lady spoke for the first time. She told Bernadette, "I won't promise to make you happy in this world, but in the next one."
On the ninth apparition, the lady asked Bernadette to go down on her knees, kiss the ground, eat the grass, and drink and wash herself at the spring. Although she found these tasks to be difficult- "the ground was dirty, the grass was bitter and the water repugnant," she carried them out lovingly.
When she noticed that there was no spring, she started moving towards the Gave. The lady told her that it was, "below the precipice." It was there that water began to spout from the spring.
On the thirteenth apparition, the lady instructed Bernadette to go and tell the priests, "to come here in procession and erect a chapel on this spot."
On the sixteenth apparition, the lady revealed her identity. The lady of Lourdes said that she was, "The Immaculate Conception." In other words, the Virgin Mary.
In an attempt to have Bernadette retract her story, government officials, ridiculed, reprimanded, threatened and even tried to commit her to a mental institution. Each time, they were unsuccessful in doing so.
Bernadette always refused all offers made to her or her family. She would say, "I want to remain poor."
On June 3, Bernadette accomplished her dream- she made her First Communion.
On July 15, Bernadette entered a hospice managed by nuns. As her health continued to deteriorate, her religious vocation got stronger.
When she became a nun, her name was changed to Marie Bernard.
In 1878, Bernadette was diagnosed with bone cancer. A year later, she left her body.
From the day she died, April 16, 1879, to present, her body has not decay. It remains incorruptible.
At Grotto, a spiritual healing site, the water that flows from a living rock is piped into fountains for everyone to access. This water is known for its healing properties and has been the source of many miraculous experiences.
The first Church reported miracle occurred during the time of the apparitions. A young farm girl had lost the use of her fingers during a fall. While visiting the Grotto, spiritual healing place, she immersed her hand into the spring. "Immediately, a lovely warmth spread through her body, and she was able to move her fingers again." Through the years, hundreds of miracles have been reported.
In addition to the fountains, pools were built. Thousands of people flock to this spiritual place, Grotto, to take advantage of these miraculous waters that are channeled into the pools.
I have used the pools multiple times. Upon arrival at the pool area, you will be provided with a large towel and instructed to undress, wrap the towel around yourself, and choose a room to enter. There are many rooms available.
Each room contains a marble pool with a statue of the Virgin Mary in front. Inside the room, there are two or three volunteers waiting. One prays, while the others help you submerge into the waters.
During the process, you are instructed to focus on the statue of the Virgin Mary and pray. Even though the water is cold, you find yourself dismissing earthly matters and absorbing the spiritual energy in the room.
When the process is over, you feel as a new person ready to face the world on all levels.
If you are searching for a spiritual healing place to visit, this is definitely a place to go. Here, you will find peace, comfort and much more.
Without a doubt, Lady of Lourdes selected the town of Lourdes as her spiritual healing place.
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