Monday, August 8, 2022

Saints for Today: Our Lady of Lourdes

Must Read

“La Fiesta de Colores” Marks 20 Years of Hispanic Cultural Celebration

It may be one of the best-kept secrets in New Mexico. Twenty years ago, a group of artists decided to...

A History of the Spanish Colonists of San Mateo Parish

From several accounts, the village of San Mateo, New Mexico was founded in 1862. In the push of the...

When bread and wine become literal Flesh and Blood: The Lanciano Eucharistic Miracle, 1300 years later

When he said the Words of Consecration, with doubt in his soul, the priest saw the bread change into living flesh and the wine change into blood.
Dr. Jean Lee
Jean M. Lee, M.A., D.Min., is a licensed behavioral health and substance abuse counselor, founding a nonprofit, state-licensed behavior health counseling agency and Christian gift/book store. Volunteer work includes: Jail ministry, Legion of Mary membership, door-to-door evangelization, and writing a weekly newspaper column titled “Faith and Inspiration: Encyclopedia of Saints for Today.” A Catholic revert after 32 years away from the Church, she is devout in the Catholic faith, loves the saints, and lives a deeper spiritual/religious and more joyful life since returning to the Church.

Feast Day: February 11.

February 11 was approved for the Diocese of Tarbes, France, by Pope Leo XIII in 1890 to commemorate the first apparition of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes. Later, in 1908, Pope Pius X included it in the Roman Calendar. The feast is based on the apparitions to Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879) at the grotto of Massabielle from February 11, 1858, until July 16 of that same year. The Blessed Virgin Mary identified herself to Bernadette with the words: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

The Virgin Mary made 18 visits to this poor, uneducated girl in France at a time when Catholicism was still viewed with suspicion. At this time in France, there remained a residue of anti-Catholicism from the French Revolution. Processions, religious devotions, and especially shrines marking apparitions weren’t approved by the extremely secular government.

Bernadette Soubirous (canonized a saint in 1933), was a sickly child of poor parents. Their practice of the Catholic faith was scarcely more than lukewarm. Bernadette could pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Creed. She also knew the prayer of the Miraculous Medal: “O Mary conceived without sin.” Bernadette’s first apparition came on a trip to the town dump with her sisters to collect firewood. She didn’t know the woman who came to her until after her first few apparitions, when she came to know the woman dressed in white with a blue sash as “The Immaculate Conception,” a term that meant little to a girl of low intellect living in a remote Pyrenees village. In addition to asking that a shrine be built on that spot, the Virgin Mary told Bernadette to pray for the conversion of sinners. She also suggested the recitation of the Rosary, which provides material for meditation on the salvific events in the life of Christ.

Bernadette’s account of what she saw during the apparitions was “something white in the shape of a girl.” She used the word “aquero,” a dialectic term meaning “this thing.” It was “a pretty young girl with a rosary over her arm.” Her white robe was encircled by a blue girdle. She wore a white veil. There was a yellow rose on each foot. A rosary was in her hand. Bernadette was also impressed by the fact that the lady did not use the informal form of address (tu), but the polite form (vous). The humble virgin appeared to a humble girl and treated her with dignity.

For years, Bernadette underwent examinations, tests, and observations from both government leaders and the Church. Eventually, authorities determined that her apparitions were authentic. As a result, people began to flock to Lourdes from other parts of France and from all over the world. Lourdes has become a place of pilgrimage and healing, but even more of faith. Through a humble peasant girl, the Virgin Mary revitalized and continues to revitalize the faith of millions of people. Church authorities have recognized over sixty miraculous cures, although there have probably been many more. To people of faith this is not surprising. It is a continuation of Jesus’ healing miracles – now performed at the intercession of His Mother.

Prayer: God of mercy, we celebrate the feast of Mary, the sinless Mother of God. May her prayers help us to rise above our human weakness.


Foley, Leonard, O.F.M., and Pat McCloskey, O.F.M. “Saint of the Day-Updated and Expanded.” Cincinnati: Franciscan Media, 2013.
Lodi, Enzo. “Saints of the Roman Calendar-Updated and Revised Edition.” New York: Alba House, 2012.
Trigilio, Rev. John, PhD, ThD, and Rev. Kenneth Brighenti, PhD. “Saints for Dummies.” Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, 2010.erOne, 2007.

Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Aging and a Season of Fruitfulness

‘The fast pace of the world can lead seniors to implicitly accept the idea that they are useless. My uncle never succumbed to this temptation.’


Other recent stories:

How Love of the Eucharist Helps With the Challenges of Raising a Family

Here it was, my suffering, presented to me in the darling chubby cheeks of delight of the incredibly beautiful children entrusted to me.

The Eucharist and Daily Living

Jesus gifted us with the greatest gift ever offered - Himself to us in the form of Holy Communion.

Jesus is Calling You: How the Eucharist Reveals Our Vocation

When you spend privileged time with Jesus, He will invite you to follow Him more closely. And, when the time is right, He will make His call to you clear.

Mary and the Eucharist

How Our Lady points the way to her Son.


More Articles Like This