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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 September 23, 2019

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine wil...

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September 23

 

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine will.
Adore and bless it,
especially in the things which are the hardest for you.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Offering himself as a victim for the end of the war, Padre P...

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St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Francesco was born in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887. His parents, Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppa Di Nunzio, were peasant farmers, but they recognized their son was close to God. When he was only five years old, he solemnly consecrated himself to Jesus. It is said he often spoke with Our Lord, Our Lady and his guardian angel, who defended him against attacks by the devil. He joined the Capuchin Franciscans at the age of fifteen, and took the name Pio with his religious vows. After seven years of study he was ordained to the priesthood in 1910.

During the same month he was ordained, Padre Pio was praying in the chapel when Our Lord and His Blessed Mother appeared and gave him the Stigmata. However, the wounds soon faded and then disappeared. “I do want to suffer, even to die of suffering,” Padre Pio told Our Lady, “but all in secret." Soon after, he experienced the first of his spiritual ecstasies.

Pio was in the military for a short time, but was discharged due to poor health. Upon his return to the monastery, he became a spiritual director. He had five rules for spiritual growth: weekly confession, daily Communion, spiritual reading, meditation, and examination of conscience. He often advised, "Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry."

In July of 1918, Padre Pio received the visible Stigmata, the five wounds of Christ (hands, feet and side), after offering himself as a victim for the end of the war. By 1933, the holy priest was recognized by the Church and by 1934 had attracted thousands of pilgrims that attended his masses and frequented his confessional.

On September 23, 1968, Padre Pio said his final Mass, renewed his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and died in his cell after suffering from grave physical decline. Before his death, Padre Pio orchestrated and oversaw the building of the “House for the Alleviation of Suffering,” a 350-bed medical and religious center.

He was canonized on June 16, 2002 by Pope John Paul II. An estimated 300,000 people attended the canonization ceremony.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs F...

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The Power of a Picture

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. “This is a picture of Her.” The woman gasped. “I know that picture! It inspired a conversion.” She then asked excitedly, “Do you have a minute to hear the story?” 

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As Mr. Ferraz listened, he learned that the woman, Maria Vegra, had a 22-year old son who had recently passed away after three weeks in the hospital due to a fatal injury received in a car accident. While in the hospital, a priest would visit him every day to administer Holy Communion. The priest consistently offered the sacrament to the neighboring patient of Maria’s son, another young man who was also in critical condition. The young man would say, “No. I don’t believe in God.” But the priest continued to offer salvation. “Let me hear your confession and give you Holy Communion and Last Rights,” the priest said, “it will save your soul and get you to heaven.” Time after time, the young man stubbornly refused.

During the weeks of hospitalization and fruitless medical treatments, Maria had taken her son a picture of Our Lady of Fatima a friend had given her from an America Needs Fatima mailing.

She knew Our Lady’s watchful gaze would give her son peace in his last days. The day after she placed Our Lady’s picture at the foot of her son’s bed, she heard the voice of his stubborn neighbor: “please,” he said, “bring the picture closer to me. I want to look at the Lady.” 

Surprised but willing, Maria placed the picture in the middle of the two suffering men. 

After three days of letting the nearby picture of Our Lady touch his heart as he gazed into Her eyes, the suffering patient relented. “Please,” he called out, “bring me the priest. I want to receive the sacraments.”

A few days later, the young man died a Catholic. With a simple picture of Our Lady of Fatima, God touched a heart and saved a soul. 

 By Catherine Ferdinand

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“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. 

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