Our Lady of Lourdes
It was on February 11, 1858, that a beautiful lady first appeared to Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes, France. Bernadette was a sickly girl. Her family was so poor they lived in a cellar that had once been a jail. Even though she was fourteen, Bernadette still could not read or write. She never could remember her catechism lessons, but she was a good girl. She loved God very much. Although her memory was poor, Bernadette kept trying hard to learn all she could about God. She was pure and obedient, too.
The beautiful lady Bernadette saw wore a white dress and a light blue sash. A white veil covered her head and fell over her shoulders to the ground. On her feet were two lovely golden roses. Her hands were joined and a rosary hung from her right arm. Its chain and cross shone like gold. The lovely lady encouraged Bernadette to say the Rosary. She appeared eighteen times to St. Bernadette. She asked her to tell the people to pray, to do penance and to recite the Rosary for sinners.
During the last apparition, Bernadette asked the beautiful lady who she was. The lady replied, "I am the Immaculate Conception." She was Mary, the Mother of God.
A large church called a basilica was built where Bernadette saw Our Lady. Although the apparitions took place over a hundred years ago, miracles still happen there. Many people are cured of sicknesses.
Crippled people walk again. Blind people see again. Lonely, broken people find hope again. There, where she once appeared to St. Bernadette, Our Lady still shows her love for us.
As we celebrate this feast day of the Blessed Mother, we ask her prayers to "help us rise above our human weakness."