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Miracle in Lourdes

header - Our Lourdes Miracle

 

I sat by my mother, chatting over coffee that morning as so many others. I blessed this time with her, but I also worried.

For over twenty years, Mom had struggled with a sugar/adrenal condition that depleted her energy. This illness had begun with a first scary crisis. As a young teen, I remember her stretched across the bed, gray, ice cold to the touch, while a friend called an ambulance.

Fear frozen, I breathed a sigh of relief when she came back to us late that day, worn, exhausted but recovering. She and I now faced years of doctors’ visits that, eventually, taught her to manage her condition.

Sweet, yet iron-willed, Mom went about life, energy never plentiful, the dark circles around her eyes permanent. At times, there were minor and not-so-minor crises.

This day, at breakfast, as I inspected her face, I cringed at the sallow, mustardy tone of her skin, the usual for her. Cancer had been ruled out, but I so wished to see her rosy and vibrant.

Lourdes SantuaryAnd then, one year, we went to Lourdes as a family.

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Lourdes. How to describe a place that exudes healing?

To begin, there is the quaint town, and the magnificent shrine erected over the grotto of the apparitions of the Blessed Mother to young Bernadette Soubirous.  The whole ensemble is “encrusted” into fairy-like scenery of mountain-peeks, complete with an ancient castle.  Lourdes is a feast for the pilgrim’s eyes.

Driving through the streets to the hotel, one senses something utterly different about this town. There is this non-frenzy, this non-rush, this peace.

And then you can’t wait to visit the grotto. The fact that Mary was here, exerts an irresistible magnetism. You drop your bags at the hotel room, and you walk, as everything is at walking distance.

Our Lady of Lourdes StatueAnd you are not disappointed. As you look at the large natural grotto, up on the rock face, at the life-size statue of the Virgin, you marvel that such a “niche” could only have been divinely fashioned, from the beginning of time, for exactly such a purpose.

And you sit and pray. And you watch as other pilgrims, many on wheel chairs gently pushed by volunteers, pray, and light candles. Somehow, you feel this place is “extra” close to Our Lady’s heart and ear. So you pray some more.

Underneath the grotto of the apparitions flows the miraculous fountain that Bernadette dug with her own hands, at the request of Our Lady. This fountain, now channeled, supplies thousands of gallons daily for both pilgrims to take home, or to wash in the bath houses.

The day after we arrived, Mom, a sister and I were standing in line to take one such dip. The men in the family were taking their baths in the men’s section.

Everything is done with the utmost privacy, propriety and care. What an experience! The water feels like “melted ice”, and with the help of charitable volunteers, one is fully immersed.

That night, as we gathered around our hotel table enjoying delicious French fare, we bubbled with natural and spiritual joy. Everybody talked of the days’ experiences, specially that “ice-cold bath!”

And then I saw it.

My mother, glowing pink like a freshly picked rose…a spark in her eyes, a lilt in her voice, a bounce in her attitude. And there and then I knew she had been healed.

And she was. She never lacked energy like she had before. She was given a new life. And that color, that sallow, sickly color–gone.

Lourdes - Candle light prayerOurs is not an officially recognized miracle. Though beginning with the cure of Catherine Latapie in 1858, there are 7,000 claimed cures documented at Lourdes, only 69 cases are officially recognized. 

The Catholic Church is stringent when it comes to declaring a healing officially miraculous and submits such a claim to the most rigorous medical examiners, and Church authorities.

Still, besides these recorded and officially approved cases, there are thousands upon thousands of personal claims to physical and emotional healings, as well as graces and favors granted, which though not formally “stamped” are, nonetheless, personally cherished and recorded.

I like to think ours is one of these. I know Mom was healed. She knows it. We all know it. And it’s enough for us.


By Andrea F. Phillips

 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for January 21, 2021

All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easy-going...

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January 21

 

All the strength of Satan’s reign
is due to
the easy-going weakness of Catholics.


Pope St. Pius X


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Agnes

Even pagans were moved to tears at the sight of the radiant...

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St. Agnes

Agnes was born around 291 in a Christian, patrician family of Rome, and suffered martyrdom in the terrible persecution of Diocletian.

As a young maiden, she pledged herself to Christ and defended her virginity to the death.

Exceptionally beautiful, she turned down numerous suitors, but when she refused Procop, the Prefect’s own son, things became very complicated. Procop tried to win Agnes with gifts and promises but she answered: “I’m already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!”

Angered, Procop  took  the maiden before his father, and accused her of being a Christian. The Prefect tried to turn her from her Faith first by cajolements, and then by placing her in chains, but she only rejoiced.

The pagan official, set on overcoming Agnes by any means, next had her taken to a house of prostitution but she was visibly protected by an angel.

Finally, Agnes was condemned to death, but she was happy as a bride about to meet her bridegroom. Even pagan bystanders were moved to tears at the sight of the radiant maiden going to her death, and begged her to relent, to which she retorted: “If I were to try to please you, I would offend my Spouse. He chose me first and He shall have me!” Then praying, she offered her neck for the death stroke.

St. Agnes is one of seven women besides the Blessed Virgin to be mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. She is the patron of chastity, young girls, engaged couples, rape victims and virgins. She is depicted holding a lamb as her name in Latin means “lamb”, “agnus”. But the name “Agnes” is actually taken from the Greek “hagne” meaning chaste, pure, sacred.

Agnes’ relics repose beneath the high altar of the Church of Sant’Agnese Fuori le mura, built upon the place she was originally buried. This church was built in her honor by the daughter of the Emperor Constantine, and is one of the oldest in Rome.  St. Agnes’ skull is in the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone at Piazza Navona.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him h...

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Mary and the Muslim

Don Octavio del Monaco was a wealthy citizen of 17th century Naples. Like many of his class, Don Octavius had several Muslim slaves in his household. These children of Islam were amazed at the kindness of their “master.” He fed and clothed them better than they received in their native land. In return, his slaves attended to their tasks with diligence, as Don Octavius did not over work them, but assigned them duties in keeping with their dignity as children of God.

If these Muslim slaves had any reason for complaint, it was the gentle persistence with which their master and his wife exhorted them to give up their false religion and become Catholics. Don Octavius even went so far as to invite the slaves to join his family in the chapel to worship the one true God with them!

Our story today is about one young slave in particular. His name was Abel, like the slain son of Adam and Eve. He felt drawn in a peculiar way to a lamp that burned in front of a shrine to Holy Mary. Abel would purchase the oil needed to keep the lamp lit from his own meager stipend. As he continued to practice this humble devotion, he would say, “I hope that this Lady will grant me some great favor.”

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian. At first the Turk resisted. But she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and said to him: “Now no longer resist, Abel, but be baptized and called Joseph,” conferring on him a name that was very dear to her Immaculate Heart indeed.

On August the 10th, 1648, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, for on that day “Joseph” and eleven other Muslims converted to the Christian faith and were baptized. Their conversion was brought about by the kindness shown by Don Octavius and the special intercession of the Mother of God.

Our story does not end here. Even once this son of hers was safely baptized, Mother Mary delighted in visiting him. Once, after having appeared to him, she was about to depart. But the Moor seized her mantle, saying, “Oh, Lady, when I find myself afflicted, I pray you to let me see you.” In fact, she one day promised him this and when Joseph found himself afflicted he invoked her, and Mary appeared to him again saying, “Have patience", and he was consoled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.

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