By Fr. Kevin Magner
This Thursday is the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, one of the annual Marian feast days dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This memorial came about because of a series of Marian apparitions granted to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous near the town of Lourdes, France in 1858. In those apparitions a beautiful lady appeared to Bernadette who identified herself as the Immaculate Conception.
During one of the apparitions the Lady told Bernadette to dig in the ground and drink the water that began to flow from there. At first, the water was muddy but then soon began to flow clean and pure. The water was given to medical patients and many miraculous cures began to be reported. Since that time, millions of people seeking healing have visited the shrine at Lourdes to drink or bathe in the water that flows from the spring.
Because so many people have gone to Lourdes to seek healing Pope John Paul II dedicated February 11, the date of the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, as World Day of the Sick. This happened in 1992, one year after John Paul II had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The pope had written extensively on the topic of suffering and the redeeming help it can bring about.
During these days when so many people are suffering– whether it be physically, emotionally, or spiritually– let us turn to Our Lady of Lourdes for her intercession that we all be healed of our afflictions.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.