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Our Lady of Lourdes, the Immaculate Conception (1858)

It was on 11 February 1858 that the Blessed Mother first appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, a young girl at Lourdes, France. Bernadette was a sickly little girl whose family was so poor they lived in a cellar that had once been a jail. Even though she was fourteen years old, Bernadette could not read or write. She had difficulties remembering her catechism lessons, but she was a good holy girl who loved God very much. And if her memory was weak for doctrine, she tried hard to learn all she could about God. More importantly, Bernadette was pure and obedient. It was this young maiden that our Blessed Mother chose to grace with her supernatural appearance.

The beautiful Lady whom Bernadette saw wore a white dress with a light blue sash. A white veil covered her head and fell over her shoulders to the ground. On her feet were two lovely golden roses. Her hands were joined and a Rosary hung from her right arm. Its chain and cross shone like gold. The lovely Lady invited Bernadette to pray the Rosary with her for a fortnight and to devoutly pray the Rosary every day thereafter.

The Blessed Mother appeared eighteen times to St. Bernadette and told her to tell the people to pray, to recite the Rosary often for sinners, and to do Penance, Penance, Penance! During the last apparition, out of obedience to the priest, Bernadette asked the beautiful Lady who she was. The Heavenly Lady replied, "I am the Immaculate Conception." [Just a few years earlier in 1854, Pope Pius IX had declared that dogma infallibly in his Apostolic Constitution, Ineffabilis Deus.]

At Lourdes, many miracles have taken place. A miraculous spring of water began to flow when St. Bernadette dug in the ground out of obedience to Our Lady. Many people have been cured of their sickness. Crippled people have walked and the blind see. Many Catholic pilgrims still journey to Lourdes and bring home some of its healing waters. In this small French hamlet in the Pyrenees, where Our Blessed Mother once appeared to St. Bernadette, the Ever-Virgin Mother of God continues to show her love for us.

In the pdf linked HERE, you will find a wonderful summary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Lourdes. The 15 days of apparitions asked for by our Lady parallel the Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary. This is explained in some detail in this attachment, which will hopefully fuel your meditations when praying the most Holy Rosary. With God, in His Infinite Wisdom, such subtle gems are always present. In fact, this brief explanation should really only serve as a kind of 'springboard' to help you meditate even further upon the hidden Mysteries of God. [It also helps show how flimsy the modern false 'Marian' apparitions really are.]