The Marian Minute – Our Lady of Lourdes

On February 11, 1858, Our Lady appeared to a young peasant girl named Bernadette in a pig grotto named Massabielle.  She appeared in a rock outcropping that St. Bernadette would later associate with St. Joseph and later her in life, St. Bernadette regularly returned to that rock outcropping in spirit as she prayed in a chapel dedicated to St. Joseph.  The outcropping reminded her of the role St. Joseph played in the life of the Holy Family, always hiding them from danger under his loving, protective care.

Our Lady declared to St. Bernadette: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”  St. Bernadette did not understand the title.  It had only been declared dogmatically by Bl. Pius IX four years earlier.  It gave her credibility, however, when she explained to her parish priest that a lady named “The Immaculate Conception” wanted him to build a chapel.  He (and other officials in the Church) took some time to be convinced.

One take away for us is the instruction Our Lady gave to St. Bernadette.  She told her to clear away the leaves and mud to uncover a spring.  Furthermore, she told her to drink from the spring and it is that very spring in which millions have bathed and countless have been miraculously healed.  The lesson for us is that God’s healing love emerges especially from the muddiest places in our lives.  When we look at those places of weakness and sin in our lives, we discover that God’s love is deeper, hidden beneath the muck, and it is our Lady’s prayers especially that tenderly draw God’s love out.  Then that experience of mercy for ourselves becomes a wellspring of mercy for others too.

The humility and docility of St. Bernadette’s response to Our Lady of Lourdes continues to bless more than 5 million pilgrims every year.  The regular healings that take place there led Pope John Paul II to declare February 11 the World Day of the Sick.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.