St Francis Q&A

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Miracles of Lourdes

I just returned from Lourdes, France, with a group of about 300 people from the Order of Malta. What an amazing week! We took about 40-50 malades (those with physical ailments or diseases) with us, and their care and well-being was the main focus of our large group. What occurred there is hard to describe, but I will at least relay some of our experiences in the next few posts.

The story of Lourdes began when the Blessed Mother appeared to a young French girl named Bernadette in 1858. Word spread through the small town that the young girl had seen visions of a "beautiful lady", and the excitement started to grow. The legitimacy of the apparitions started to take root when the girl gave messages to a priest from the lady that Bernadette could never have created on her own. One message from the lady was in Latin: "I am the Immaculate Conception". (The dogma of the Immaculate Conception had just been declared by Rome in 1854). In her limited education, Bernadette didn't know Latin and couldn't have known about the dogma.

Mary told St. Bernadette to "drink and wash in the (spring) water". Bernadette used her hands to dig through the dirt and mud to find the spring; she was laughed at by the townspeople who thought she was crazy. But, then, a blind man washed his face with the water and found his sight. A mother bathed her dying child in the water, and the child lived. Since 1858, there have been 67 documented miracles of Lourdes and countless undocumented miracles.

People from our group witnessed one of the latter miracles. A woman went to the baths of Lourdes having suffered through years of not being able to walk because of a stroke. When her legs first touched the water, she screamed, " legs are burning!" The women near her tried to comfort her, but she pushed them away. "My legs are burning... and, this is really good!" For the first time in years, she could feel her legs!! She was able to walk out of and away from the pool, and discarded whatever device she had been using to get around.

To this point, we have not heard of any physical healing or miracle with anyone from our group (although a saintly woman with cancer said she felt cured after bathing every day at Lourdes). But, we did see spiritual healings and conversions. Several people in our group went to Confession for the first time in many years, prayed in Adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist for maybe the first time ever, prayed regularly the Liturgy of the Hours with me and another semiarian for the first time, and showed an overall new spiritual and personal lease on life at the end of the week. A conversion of the heart shows God's power more than any external miracle!

Possibly the greatest miracle for me during the trip involved someone from St Francis who has been away from the Church and for whom I've been praying a long time. I prayed hard for this person's conversion the first 2-3 days at the Grotto, saying, "Mary, please...please". Two days later, a close friend of this person sent me an email titled, "Lourdes miracle in Maryland", which explained how a conversation about the Eucharist between the two of them that night led the person to express a strong desire to come back to Church. AMAZING!!

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!


  • I think its great you were able to go to Lourdes and see all the miracles up close!

    Need a miracle for a friend. There is a group of us who are all Cradle Catholics and we met in church. Yesterday three of us got into a discussion about the movie "The Passion of Christ" A friend (Claire-not her real name) saw it for the first time and told us how it moved her. My friend (Brittany-not her real name) said that what happened in the movie was not true and that it was just something Mel Gibson made up for shock value. Talk about Claire and myself being in shock at that comment! We tried to explain to Brittany that what happened was true and why Jesus had to undergo that horrible, horrible ordeal. I am so saddened because Brittany doesn't see Jesus any more than just a mere carpenter who had a message to deliver.
    How can we convince Brittany (or can we) that Jesus was the Messiah who died for our sins?

    Thank you in advance for any help.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:13 AM  

  • what is a craddle catholic? do you mean that because your parents were catholics thats what you became? is your friend catholic?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:09 PM  

  • Hi fellow Anonymous blogger,

    Cradle catholics are people who were born Catholics. Yes my friend is Catholic but somehow doesn't believe that Jesus was and still is the Messiah. Are you Catholic?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:51 AM  

  • I took the hint.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:39 PM  

  • Anon, thanks for your comment, and yes, it is very sad if Brittany really believes what she is saying. The Bible and 2000 years of Christian Tradition say that the Crucifixion and Resurrection are true, and that Jesus is our Messiah. They are the basis for our beliefs. What is the basis for her beliefs? What is her evidence?

    Brittany needs to be very careful because she has the wrong answer to the most important question in life (Is Jesus the Christ?) There are obvious eternal consequences to her rejection of Christ. More immediately and personally, she is rejecting Him who died for her. She is rejecting Love... Happiness... Peace... Truth.

    So, what evidence can you point her to to show her the Truth? Firstly, we look at the evidence of the Resurrection - the empty tomb, the testimony of the disciples and Apostles, the Gospel accounts, the appearances of the Risen Christ to the disciples, etc. Believing in Christ's Resurrection is a matter of faith, but there is much evidence to help us believe.

    Secondly, the evidence of the Crucifixion - the Gospel accounts, historical evidence such as the Shroud of Turin, the testimony of the disciples and Apostles, etc. The Crucifixion is an historical event - even the most ardent atheist who knows history would agree that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified around 33 A.D.

    Thirdly, Sacred Tradition. St Paul says that if Jesus isn't the Christ, then our whole faith is pointless. The Christian faith would be one big lie! If that were the case, it would have either dissolved altogether by now, or would be in serious disorder. The fact that the Church has not only survived but actually grown for 2000 years while maintaining her teachings shows serious credibility and legitimacy.

    Also, we can look at the example of the saints- so many holy men and women who have lived the love that Jesus spoke about so often. They show us the love and life of God. Certainly there are many Christians who have shown a bad example, but the saints give us evidence that Christ's love is real, and that He continues to live through them. They show us His power and love.

    Next, Sacred Scripture. All of Scripture points to Jesus as the Christ. The Old Testament writes about Christ indirectly; the New Testament refers to him directly. The OT leads us to Christ; the NT looks back on Christ. To reject Christ as the Messiah is to reject the Bible as the Word of God.

    Also, there is the evidence of miracles. Jesus worked miracles 2000 years ago, and continues to work miracles today. He has performed several miracles of the Eucharist since 700 AD. He has worked many miracles through his Blessed Mother - I was just at Lourdes last week- right up to our present day. He worked miracles through his saints. And, these have all been documented and approved by the Church - having the Church approve a miracle is arguably the strictest process on Earth.

    There is more to say, but that's enough for now! There is much basis for believing that Jesus is the Christ. One passage for Brittany to read is Luke 24:13-35. Jesus lays out to two disciples how Scripture points to Him as the Christ: "Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!"

    It all comes to faith. Either she is open to the gift of faith (which she received at Baptism) or she's not. Not even God can force her to believe. But, as Christ says, she would be a fool not to believe. He came into the world so that she might believe and have eternal life!

    By Blogger Fr Greg, at 10:58 AM  

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