Today the Church celebrates the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. It was at Lourdes that Our Lady called herself “The Immaculate Conception”. Our Lady asked St. Bernadette, a young peasant girl, to “pray for the conversion of sinners.” Bernadette did not understand what that meant, and when she would ask, Our Lady would just smile. During the eighteen visits of Our Lady at Lourdes, Bernadette received many messages. She was told to drink the water from a spring that suddenly sprang up at the foot of the grotto. Our Lady asked that priests should erect a church on the spot. It took a while but finally the bishop appointed a committee who studied the apparitions and declared that all was true. A church was built on the spot. Bernadette joined the Sisters of Charity and never returned to Lourdes. In 1879 Bernadette passed away, and in 1935 Pope Pius XI declared her a Saint!
When I visited Lourdes I was struck by the beauty and the solemnity the site of the apparitions. It was a cold, snowy January day when I was there but I was amazed at the number of people who were there despite the weather. Visiting the sites is an experience I will never forget.
May each and every one of us grow daily in your love for Our Lord. Perhaps today is a good day to begin to say the Rosary again – the prayer Our Lady prayed with St. Bernadette.
Pat Schifini, OSU