"Behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed." St. Luke, 1:48
Years ago, Harpers published a book titled "THE VOYAGE TO LOURDES."
It was the work of a famous scientist, Alexis Carrel, and released six years after his death.
The story tells of a Dr. Louis Lerrac, which spells Carrel backwards. He visited Lourdes in 1903 to see for himself whether cures were really brought about there through prayer to Our Lady. Dr. Carrel told a friend that if he witnessed such a miracle, he would be converted!
Well, it happened! A certain lady, Marie Ferrand, was dying of tubercular peritonitis. Before his astonished eyes, after water from the shrine was poured on the stomach of the sick woman, the swelling subsided and her breathing and heart-beat returned to normal. Dr. Carrel was unable to explain scientifically this remarkable cure he had just witnessed and as a result, returned to the Faith of his childhood. From then on, he spent the rest of his short life, defending the many mystical experiences that take place at Lourdes and his conversion.
Most of us have read or heard of this famous place named Lourdes, which is in France. Here is a short recap of the story:
It began on February 11, 1858. On that day, a young girl of fourteen, named Bernadette Soubirous, had gone with some companions to gather wood to build a fire for her poor parents. Her friends had gone ahead, leaving her alone by a rocky cave. Suddenly she heard a sound like the wind, but looking around she noticed that the trees were not moving. Then looking at the rocky grotto, Bernadette saw a lady, a lady clothed in a white garment with a blue sash. The lady's face was sweet and smiling. At her feet were golden roses and in her hand was a rosary. This lady was none other than the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God!
That was the first vision. The last one granted to Bernadette by Mary took place on July 16, 1858, the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel [Amazing connection to Garabandal]!
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 errect a church on the spot and in one apparition, after being asked her name, Our Lady responded "I am the Immaculate Conception!"
It took awhile 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!
At Death Incorrupt
Hundreds of thousands have visited Lourdes each year and hundreds of cures have been reported, but many hundreds of spiritual cures have taken place and are not reported. Lourdes is a powerhouse of grace! A group of doctors, including even atheists, have declared certain miracles at Lourdes positively and scientifically above all the powers of nature, in other words: True Miracles!
What do we think about these miracles? The Catholic Church teaches us that it is perfectly reasonable to believe that Almighty God, who created and sustains the world, may suspend the operation of that physical order where He sees fit. God's Church also teaches us that it is entirely in keeping with the wisdom and goodness of God that certain exceptions be made to the rules of nature for the benefit, especially the spiritual benefit, of mankind. Here are some reasons for such exceptions:
God wants to remind us that He really does exist;
God wants to remind us of His power, His holiness, His mercy;
God sometimes wants to emphasize His Will with a message for us!
That was the case at Lourdes. Mary had a message for mankind, a call to prayer and a renewed spiritual life. Is it any different these days? Our Lord said "Repent, believe in the Gospel!" Our Lady says: "Pray, pray, pray!" Yes, God is working miracles, spiritual as well as physical, even today, at Lourdes and throughout the world. We just have to open our eyes to see them!
On this Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes, let us beg Mother Mary to bless us with her Motherly blessing, let us beg her to help us, like Bernadette, to one day see her face to face, gracious and beautiful and loving, to live forever with her in the company of her divine Son, Jesus. Amen!
[Adapted from an ancient manuscript, author unknown]