Our Lady of Lourdes
This feast recalls the 18 appearances of Mary to a young French girl, Bernadette Soubirous, from Feb. 11 to July 16, 1858, near a grotto at Lourdes, France. Bernadette did not know the identity of “the beautiful lady in white,” and asked who she was. Mary said, “I am the Immaculate Conception,” the title Pope Pius IX had defined as dogma four years earlier. In 1890 Pope Leo XIII allowed the local Diocese of Tarbes to celebrate this feast; Pope Pius X made it a universal feast in 1907. Lourdes is still the most famous Marian shrine in Western Europe.
Text and photo | CNS Saints