St John's Q&A

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Miracles of Lourdes

I just returned from Lourdes, France, with a group of about 300 people from the Order of Malta. What an amazing week! We took about 40-50 malades (those with physical ailments or diseases) with us, and their care and well-being was the main focus of our large group. What occurred there is hard to describe, but I will at least relay some of our experiences in the next few posts.

The story of Lourdes began when the Blessed Mother appeared to a young French girl named Bernadette in 1858. Word spread through the small town that the young girl had seen visions of a "beautiful lady", and the excitement started to grow. The legitimacy of the apparitions started to take root when the girl gave messages to a priest from the lady that Bernadette could never have created on her own. One message from the lady was in Latin: "I am the Immaculate Conception". (The dogma of the Immaculate Conception had just been declared by Rome in 1854). In her limited education, Bernadette didn't know Latin and couldn't have known about the dogma.

Mary told St. Bernadette to "drink and wash in the (spring) water". Bernadette used her hands to dig through the dirt and mud to find the spring; she was laughed at by the townspeople who thought she was crazy. But, then, a blind man washed his face with the water and found his sight. A mother bathed her dying child in the water, and the child lived. Since 1858, there have been 67 documented miracles of Lourdes and countless undocumented miracles.

People from our group witnessed one of the latter miracles. A woman went to the baths of Lourdes having suffered through years of not being able to walk because of a stroke. When her legs first touched the water, she screamed, " legs are burning!" The women near her tried to comfort her, but she pushed them away. "My legs are burning... and, this is really good!" For the first time in years, she could feel her legs!! She was able to walk out of and away from the pool, and discarded whatever device she had been using to get around.

To this point, we have not heard of any physical healing or miracle with anyone from our group (although a saintly woman with cancer said she felt cured after bathing every day at Lourdes). But, we did see spiritual healings and conversions. Several people in our group went to Confession for the first time in many years, prayed in Adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist for maybe the first time ever, prayed regularly the Liturgy of the Hours with me and another semiarian for the first time, and showed an overall new spiritual and personal lease on life at the end of the week. A conversion of the heart shows God's power more than any external miracle!

Possibly the greatest miracle for me during the trip involved someone from St Francis who has been away from the Church and for whom I've been praying a long time. I prayed hard for this person's conversion the first 2-3 days at the Grotto, saying, "Mary, please...please". Two days later, a close friend of this person sent me an email titled, "Lourdes miracle in Maryland", which explained how a conversation about the Eucharist between the two of them that night led the person to express a strong desire to come back to Church. AMAZING!!

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!


  • Nice meeting you in the sacristy at the Grotto.
    Will be praying for you in the days leading to your Ordination.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:10 AM  

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