Friday, February 11, 2011

OUR LADY OF LOURDES


Today, 11th of February is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

In 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in Lourdes, France to a fourteen year old peasant girl named Bernadette Soubirous. She made a total of 18 apparitions. Her first apparition was on February 11, 1858.


SIGNIFICANT APPARITIONS
Among our Lady's most significant apparitions were the 9th and 16th apparitions.  


1.  It was on February 25, 1858, the 9th apparition that the Lourdes miraculous spring was discovered.  In obedience to the Lady's instructions to "Go and drink from the spring," Bernadette dug a hole on the left of the Grotto, and water came out of the hole which is now the spring that cures many sickness.


2.  The Lady's 16th apparition is perhaps the most significant of all her apparitions in Lourdes.  Father Peyramale, the parish priest who was known as "the priest of the apparitions in Lourdes" requested Bernadette to get the Lady's name.  On March 25, 1858, Bernadette asked the Lady to reveal her name.  The Lady answered, "I am the Immaculate Conception."  That answer from the Blessed Virgin Mary herself served as a divine seal of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception which was declared by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854.

Divine Coincidences
It is interesting to note that there are two dates of the Lady's apparitions in Lourdes that coincides with two of the important Catholic feasts.


1.  March 25, 1858, the day when Mary told Bernadette that she is the Immaculate Conception, is also the date of the Solemnity of the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38). The Solemnity of the Annunciation is celebrated every 25th of March.


2.  July 16, 1858, the date of Mary's last apparition in Lourdes, is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated every 16th of July, for on this day in 1251, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Simon Stock, who was the Prior General of the Carmelite Order at that time.

Replica of the Lourdes Grotto at the
Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Cebu City, Philippines

Devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes spread not only in Europe but also in the Philippines.  So many churches have been built in this part of Asia in her honor.  Today, millions of pilgrims visit Lourdes each year, and a visit to Lourdes is considered incomplete without bringing home some water from the miraculous spring.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!


- Mary June D.







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