Lourdes, France, is the site of a shrine to Mary, the mother of Jesus, who is believed by Catholic Christians to have appeared there on eighteen different occasions in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant girl. Miraculous healings have been attributed to wading in a spring that appeared at the site. By 1862 the local authorities of the Catholic Church had recognized the belief by building a church above the grotto.
From 1883 to 1901 a magnificent new church named the Church of the Rosary was constructed. It is the destination of millions of pilgrims, many seeking cures for ailments by wading in or submerging themselves in water from the spring. The Catholic Church has authenticated only a few of the many claimed cures.
Be blessed, O most pure Virgin, for having vouchsafed to manifest your shining with life, sweetness and beauty, in the Grotto of Lourdes, saying to the child, St. Bernadette: "I am the Immaculate Conception." A thousand times we congratulate you upon your Immaculate Conception. And now, O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of mercy, Health of the sick, Refuge of sinners, Comforter of the afflicted, you know our wants, our troubles, our sufferings deign to cast upon us a look of mercy.
By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary, whence you dispense your favors, and already many have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and physical. We come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. Obtain for us, O loving Mother, the granting of our request. request Through gratitude for your favors, we will endeavor to imitate your virtues, that we may one day share your glory.
Our Lady of Lourdes, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your divine son while upon earth. You have the same influence now in Heaven. Pray for us; obtain for us from your Divine Son our special requests if it be the Divine Will.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation.
- John A. Hardon, S.J., "Modern Catholic Dictionary" (1999).
- Our Lady of Lourdes