Throughout the entire Catholic world and beyond, two place names have almost universal recognition and both are associated with our Blessed Mother: Lourdes and Fatima. The Lourdes apparitions, 18 in total, confirmed the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854. When asked her name by Bernadette, Our Lady replied, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
The apparitions began on February 11, 1858, and ended on July 4, 1858. On that occasion Bernadette saw Our Lady for the last time. The liturgical feast of Our Lady of Lourdes was established by Pope Leo XIII in 1890, and St. Pius X proclaimed that it be observed throughout the universal Church on November 13, 1907.
Bernadette Soubirous joined the Sisters of Nevers in 1866 and died at the early age of 35. She was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and canonized on the feast of the Immaculate Conception 1933 by the same Holy Father. Her body was exhumed and found to be incorrupt.
In religion her name was Sister Mary Bernard, and she worked as the sacristan, avoiding publicity as much as possible. She once said she was “a broom Our Lady used, but now I have been put away.”
Over 5,000 cures have been documented at the waters of Lourdes. The Church has vigorously and rigorously investigated and validated 67 of them.
However, the greatest miracle of Lourdes is the wonderful manifestation of faith, prayer, and trusting Christian resignation to the will of God in the presence of such human suffering.