Our Lady of Lourdes

Lourdes, France


At the Grotto of Massabielle, the Virgin showed herself 18 times to Bernadette Soubirous. Under the title "the Immaculate Conception," she called for penance and prayer for the conversion of sinners.

Jan 7, 1844

Bernadette Soubirous is born the first of four children in a financially ruined family from a small town in the Pyrenees mountains in France. She was the eldest of six children of Francis Soubirous and Louise Caserot.

Feb 11, 1858

Bernadette first encounters Our Lady in a golden cloud and prays a Rosary in her presence at the grotto. Her sister Marie told their mother all about the incident and her mother forbade Bernadette from returning to the grotto.

Feb 14, 1858

Bernadette and her sisters finally persuade her mother to let her return to the grotto. She encounters the Virgin again but the commotion the other children cause makes her mother inclined not to let her return

Feb 18, 1858

Two influential ladies, Madame Milhet and her seamstress, Antoinette Peyret, request a visit to the grotto with Bernadette in order to obtain the name of the appearing woman. Our Lady asked her to come another 15 times and promised her happiness not in this world but the next.

Feb 19, 1858

Bernadette's mother accompanies her to the grotto.

Feb 20, 1858

The Lady teaches Bernadette a secret prayer which she recited the rest of her life.

Feb 21, 1858

Bernadette is accompanied by large crowds and in particular, Dr. Pierre-Romaine Dozous, the town's most eminent doctor. He evaluates her conditions and announces that there is no indication of "nervous excitement".

Feb 22, 1858

Despite being told she was imagining everything by the imperial procurator and being called a liar by the police who threatened to imprison her, Bernadette shows up at the grotto but does not encounter Our Lady.

Feb 23, 1858

Our Lady appears to Bernadette and gives her "three wonderful secrets" which have never been revealed.

Feb 24, 1858

Our Lady stresses "Penitence" at the next apperance.

Feb 25, 1858

Bernadette is commanded to bathe in and drink from the fountain. Since there was no fountain there, Bernadette digs up some gravel and reveals a pond which she then drinks from and washes her face. This stream instantly becomes a source of healing for visitors to the grotto.

Feb 26, 1858

Bernadette is asked to "kiss the ground on behalf of sinners".

Feb 27, 1858

Bernadette is asked to tell the clergy that they should build a chapel at the grotto.

Mar 1, 1858

Bernadette is told that the people should come in procession to the chapel.

Mar 4, 1858

Twenty-thousand people gather at the apparition site. No sign is performed despite the request of the parish priest, Abbe Peyramale, to have a rosebush bloom in winter.

Mar 25, 1858

On the Feast of the Annunciation, Our Lady identifies herself: "Que soy era Immaculado Conceptiou" ("I am the Immaculate Conception")

Apr 7, 1858

Dr. Dozous observes Bernadette putting her hand through the flame of a candle without feeling pain or getting burned during ecstacy.

Jul 16, 1858

Bernadette receives a final invitation to meet the Lady at the Grotto.

July 4, 1858

Bernadette sees the Lady for the final (18th) time.


Bernadette goes to study at a hospice run by the Sisters of Nevers.

July 18, 1858

An investigative commission  is established.

Jan 18, 1862

The Bishop of the Diocese of Tarbes declares  the apparitions to be authentic.

July 4, 1866

Bernadette leaves Lourdes for the final time to join the Sisters of Nevers. She is given the name of Sister Mary Bernard and worked there as sacristan and avoided publicity as best she could. She referred to herself as "a broom which Our Lady used, but now I have been put back in my corner."


The Basilica at Lourdes was consecrated.

April 16, 1879

Bernadette dies at age 35 and is buried in St. Gildard Convent in Nevers.


The liturgical feast of Our Lady of Lourdes was established for February 11 approved by Pope Leo XIII and first granted to the Diocese of Tarbes in the year

Nov 13, 1907

Pope St. Pius X proclaimed that it be observed throughout the universal Church.


Her body is exhumed and found to be incorrupt. She was beatified in 1925 by Pope Pius X

Dec 8, 1933

Bernadette is canonized a saint by Pope Pius X on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Sept 12-15, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI makes a pilgrimage to the Lourdes for the 150th Anniversary of the apparitions. Homily

Description of the Virgin

"She has the appareance of a young girl of sixteen or seventeen. She is dressed in a white robe, girdled at the waist with a blue ribbon, which flows down all along her robe. She wears upon her head a veil which is also white; this veil gives just a glimpse of her hair then falls down at the back below her below her waist. Her feet are bare but covered by the last folds of her robe except at the point where a yellow rose shines upon each of them. She holds on her right arm a Rosary of white beads with a chain of gold shining like the two roses on her feet."

Miracles and Signs

In 1859, Professor Vergez of the Faculty of Medicine at Montpellier was appointed to examine the cures. Seven cures were recorded before 1862 promoting the argument for the recognition of the Apparitions by Bishop Laurence. Over 5,000 cures have been documented at the waters of Lourdes. The Church has vigorously investigated and validated 67 of them.


After a 4 year investigation commission  the bishop of the Diocese of Tarbes declared on January 18, 1962: " We judge that Mary Immaculate, Mother of God, really appeared to Bernadette Soubirous on February 11, 1858, and on subsequent days, eighteen times in all. The faithful are justified in believing this to be certain."

The Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes is February 4th.


O Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, you are the refuge of sinners, the health of the sick, and the comfort of the afflicted. You know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. By your appearance at the Grotto of Lourdes you made it a privileged sanctuary where your favors are given to people streaming to it from the whole world. Over the years countless sufferers have obtained the cure for their infirmities -- whether of soul, mind, or body. Therefore I come to you with limitless confidence to implore your motherly intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the grant of my requests. Through gratitude for Your favors, I will endeavor to imitate Your virtues, that I may one day share in Your glory. Amen.

August 15, 2004 - By John Paul II

Hail Mary, poor and humble Woman,
Blessed by the Most High!
Virgin of hope, dawn of a new era,
We join in your song of praise,
to celebrate the Lord’s mercy,
to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom
and the full liberation of humanity.

Hail Mary, lowly handmaid of the Lord,
Glorious Mother of Christ!
Faithful Virgin, holy dwelling-place of the Word,
Teach us to persevere in listening to the Word,
and to be docile to the voice of the Spirit,
attentive to his promptings in the depths of our conscience
and to his manifestations in the events of history.

Hail Mary, Woman of sorrows,
Mother of the living!
Virgin spouse beneath the Cross, the new Eve,
Be our guide along the paths of the world.
Teach us to experience and to spread the love of Christ,
to stand with you before the innumerable crosses
on which your Son is still crucified.

Hail Mary, woman of faith,
First of the disciples!
Virgin Mother of the Church, help us always
to account for the hope that is in us,
with trust in human goodness and the Father’s love.
Teach us to build up the world beginning from within:
in the depths of silence and prayer,
in the joy of fraternal love,
in the unique fruitfulness of the Cross.

Holy Mary, Mother of believers,
Our Lady of Lourdes,
pray for us.