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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial February 11

Our Lady of Lourdes
February 11

For those who believe in God no explanation is necessary.
For those who do not believe in God no explanation is possible
George Seaton (Stenius) (Prologue to The Song of Bernadette)

On December 8, 1854 Pope Pius IX in Ineffabilis Deus declared the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception which defined “the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."

A little over three years later on February 11, 1858 in Lourdes, France, Bernadette Soubirous, a sickly, asthmatic girl went in search of firewood and received a remarkable vision. This humble, uneducated, uncatechized young girl, whose poverty stricken family of six lived in a jail cell that was deemed too unhealthy for prisoners was visited by The Blessed Virgin Mary in a hidden, damp grotto called the “pig’s shelter” because this was where the pigs feeding in the area took shelter from storms.

There were eighteen visions in all, the last taking place on July 16, 1858. During the third Apparition, Bernadette held out a piece of paper and a pencil to the Virgin Mary so that she might write down her name, but Our Lady replied: “What I have to say to you does not have to be written down.” The Virgin then asked Bernadette, “Would you do me the kindness of coming here for 15 days? I do not promise to make you happy in this world but in the other.”

On March 25th during the sixteenth Apparition Our Blessed Mother Mary told Bernadette her name. She said, “Que soy era Immaculada Conception.” It is highly unlikely that Bernadette ever heard of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception before these visions, but God in His perfect Wisdom and timing, chose Bernadette, a sickly, poor, meek and humble young girl to deliver His message of confirmation of Pope Pius IX Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Mother Mary.

On April 18 1925, Bernadette’s body was exhumed for the third time. She had been dead over forty six years, yet her body remained incorrupt. A crystal coffin was made for Saint Bernadette's body. She was placed in a chapel in the Church of St. Gildard at the convent in Nevers where she lived for thirteen years. She has remained undisturbed and on view in this chapel since August 3, 1925. Our Blessed Mother’s words had been true “I do not promise to make you happy in this world but in the other.”

Fr. James Kubicki, S.J.
The Apostleship of Prayer
No Explanation

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Photograph of Incorrupt Saint Bernadette taken June 6, 1997

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