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LeSon Photography | profile | all galleries >> Visit ... Europe Pilgrimage 2007 >> Lourdes, France tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Lourdes, France

1844-1879 (aged 35)
18 Apparitions: Feb 11, 1858 to July 16, 1858

Canonized December 8, 1933 by Pope Pius XI
Feast of St. Bernadette Feast on 18th February(France), the world on April 16 (deceased date)

Days 05 & 06 of 14. Tuesday, Wednesday of Oct 2007.

After Burgos stay overnight, we left by 7AM to head out to Lourdes, 220M away, northeast heading crossing into France. The driver was quite skillful to maneuver the large bus through narrow streets of Lourdes and on to other EU cities, within feet without any incident.

After checking into the hotel, about a block in front of the side gate, we headed to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, or Upper Basilica, to celebrate the Mass. After Mass we had some time to go shopping in front of church grounds before dinner. The night started with the 8:45 PM procession in the Rosary Square and lasted by 10PM.

The following day, we had the walking tour to see the burial of the Soubirous family, the houses they lived. After several miles of pleasant walking in the outskirt of the basicila and also the Soubirous neighborhood, we looped back to the basilica for the Mass scheduled by the noon time, which was celebrated in a small chapel, large office-like room, on the other side of the river across the Grotto. It rained hard in the afternoon, until the night. The group had some free time after the Mass in the afternoon until dinner, and then the night procession at the regular time took place. We were down to a small group with friends to have lunch and returned for the Baths, opening from 2-4PM nearby the Grotto. The rain poured down very hard and the air was cold while we were waiting outside the bathhouse for its service hour; the bathhouse had been known for the miraculous Lourdes water which had granted grace and curing the multitudes coming from all over the world since the beginning of the apparition. Coming out of the bathhouse, we stopped by the main Rosary Basilica for the visit as the Masses were going on and around the clock until the end of the day. Some of us also went down to the underground church, Basilica of St. Pius X as the rain were pouring above ground. The Mass just started and the church filled her capacity of 25,000 people; yet it was on a regular weekday. After the Mass there was good daylight outside, we went for the Lourdes water at the lower side of the basilica, one of the most valuable keepsakes of the trip, this place was crowded with people but the waiting was light; the white plastic jugs containing the holy water in half and one gallon were most visible everywhere at numerous street vendors of Lourdes.

The candlelight of the night procession was canceled due to rain. It was cold as the air was damped with the cold front, some of us came down with the flu, so did I. This was the cold season back home, we were prepared for this by bringing lots of vitamins and medications. I doubled my vitamin intake in 500g doses twice a day. No energy on that cold night, I prayed for quick recovery otherwise my trip was a wash ruining my pilgrimage purpose. I gradually recovered in my bus seat all day en route to Italy, God was building my strength and watching me for the rest of the trip.

The next day, day 07, we left Lourdes early by 7AM. The journey continued along 800M long across Europe from the southwest France to its southern coastline, Nice, Monaco, Genova to central Italy on to the eastern coastline; the bus arrived a little yet on time and docked the 9PM ferry at Ancona.



The Bull Ineffabilis: Pope Pius IX solemnly proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, 1854 (DS 2803).

16th Appiration: the Lady responded to Bernadette in her own Occitan poor French,
"Je suis l'Immaculee conception" (I am the Immaculate Conception).
March 25th, 1858.

__________________________The Visionary of Lourdes _________________________

Famed visionary of Lourdes, was received by Mary Bernard.

She was born in Lourdes, France, on January 7, 1844, the daughter of Francis and Louise Soubirous. Bernadette, a severe asthma sufferer, lived in abject poverty. On February 11, 1858, she was granted a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a cave on the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes. She was placed in consider able jeopardy when she reported the vision, and crowds gathered when she had futher visits from the Virgin, from February 18 of that year through March 4.The civil authorities tried to frighten Bernadette into recanting her accounts, but she remained faithful to the vision.
On February 25, a spring emerged from the cave and the waters were discovered to be of a miraculous nature, capable of healing the sick and lame. On March 25, Bernadette announced that the vision stated that she was the Immaculate Conception, and that a church should be erected on the site. Many authorities tried to shut down the spring and delay the construction of the chapel, but the influence and fame of the visions reached Empress Eugenie of France, wife of Napoleon Ill, and construction went forward.

Crowds gathered, free of harassment from the anticlerical and antireligious officials. In 1866, Bernadette was sent to the Sisters of Notre Dame in Nevers. There she became a member of the community, and faced some rather harsh treatment from the mistress of novices. This oppression ended when it was discovered that she suffered from a painful, incurable illness. She died in Nevers on April 16, 1879, still giving the same account of her visions.

Lourdes became one of the major pilgrimage destinations in the world, and the spring has produced 27,000 gallons of water each week since emerging during Bernadette's visions. She was not involved in the building of the shrine, as she remained hidden at Nevers.

Bernadette was beatified in 1925 and canonized in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.

___________________Historical context of the apparitions_______________________

Far from being unique, Bernadette's visions took place against a cultural backdrop of apparitions and other supernatural events which bear some resemblance to Bernadette's experiences.

For example, in nearby B�tharram, only a few kilometres from Lourdes, some shepherds guarding their flocks in the mountains observed a vision of a ray of light which guided them to the discovery of a statue of the Virgin Mary. Two attempts were made to remove the statue to a more prominent position; each time it disappeared and returned to its original location, at which a small chapel was built for it.

More importantly, in the early sixteenth century, a twelve year old shepherdess called Angl�ze de Sagazan received a vision of the Virgin Mary near the spring at Garaison (part of the commune of Monl�on-Magnoac), somewhat further away. Angl�ze's story is strikingly similar to that of Bernadette: she was a pious but illiterate and poorly-educated girl, extremely impoverished, who spoke only in local patois, but successfully convinced authorities that her vision was genuine and persuaded them to obey the instructions of her apparitions. Like Bernadette, she was the only one who could see the apparition (others could apparently hear it). However, the apparition at Garaison's supernatural powers tended towards the miraculous provision of food, rather than healing the sick.

Mid-nineteenth century commentators noted the parallels between the events at Massabielle and Garaison, but, interestingly, interpreted the similarities as proof of the divine nature of Bernadette's claims. At the time of Bernadette, Garaison was a noted centre of pilgrimage and Marian devotion.

There are also several similarities between the apparition at La Salette, near Grenoble, and Lourdes. La Salette is many hundreds of kilometres from Lourdes, and the events at La Salette predate those in Lourdes by 11 years. However, the lady of La Salette was large and maternal, not petite and girlish, and had a darker, more threatening series of messages. It is not certain if Bernadette was aware of the events at La Salette.

__________________The Lourdes Medical Bureau____________________

For the plans of Lourdes 2008, the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes made an unexpected statement concerning the question of miracles in Lourdes. In his words: "For the Church, as well as for the believer, a pilgrimage to Mary is more than a journey to a miracle. It is a journey of love, of prayer and of the suffering community."

To ensure claims of cures were examined properly and to protect the town from fraudulent claims of miracles, the Lourdes Medical Bureau was established. Approximately 7000 people have sought to have their case confirmed as a "miracle," of which only 68 have been declared a scientifically inexplicable "miracle" by both the Bureau and the Catholic Church.


___________150 Jubilee Year of Appiration, Sept 13-15, 2008 and Pope Benedict VXI's Visit___________

For Lourdes in 2008, the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes made an unexpected statement concerning the question of miracles in Lourdes. In his words: "For the Church, as well as for the believer, a pilgrimage to Mary is more than a journey to a miracle. It is a journey of love, of prayer and of the suffering community."

In 2008, Lourdes is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first apparition with a number of events, especially during the pilgrimage season. Lourdes 2008 with Pope Benedict XVI coming in September 13-15, 2008.

Official site of Lourdes

Virtual tour of Lourdes


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Visit ...Grotto of Massabielle. Accounts of 18 Apparitions
:: Visit ...Grotto of Massabielle. Accounts of 18 Apparitions ::
From Burgos, Spain, to Lourdes of France
From Burgos, Spain, to Lourdes of France
Lourdes at 150 anniversary  ...>
Lourdes at 150 anniversary ...>
Visit...The Rosary Basilica Interior
:: Visit...The Rosary Basilica Interior ::
Visit ...Basilica Ground
:: Visit ...Basilica Ground ::
Visit ...Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, the Crypt Chapel
:: Visit ...Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, the Crypt Chapel ::
Visit ...Candle Light Procession
:: Visit ...Candle Light Procession ::
Visit ...Healing the Sick, in three-wheel carts
:: Visit ...Healing the Sick, in three-wheel carts ::
Visit ... Bios, the Houses, Neighborhood
:: Visit ... Bios, the Houses, Neighborhood ::
Visit ...Lourdes, the Town
:: Visit ...Lourdes, the Town ::
Visit ...The World Largest Underground Church
:: Visit ...The World Largest Underground Church ::
Visit  ...The Incorrupt St Bernadette Soubirous
:: Visit ...The Incorrupt St Bernadette Soubirous ::