On February 11, the Church commemorates the Immaculate Virgin Mary who appeared to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, France, eighteen times between February 11 and July 16, 1858.
The memorial of Mary under the title of “Our Lady of Lourdes” was extended to the Universal Church by Pope Saint Pius X in 1907.
The apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes is one of the most celebrated events in the Catholic Church in the nineteenth century. In fact, the popularity of this devotion contributed to a renewal of the Catholic Faith in France and the shrine at Lourdes remains one of the most popular destinations for pilgrims in the world.
“Christians have always sought the smile of Our Lady, this smile which medieval artists were able to represent with such marvelous skill and to show to advantage. This smile of Mary is for all; but it is directed quite particularly to those who suffer, so that they can find comfort and solace therein. To seek Mary’s smile is not an act of devotional or outmoded sentimentality, but rather the proper expression of the living and profoundly human relationship which binds us to her whom Christ gave us as our Mother.”—Pope Benedict XVI
Oh ever immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comfortess of the Afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Look upon me with mercy. When you appeared in the grotto of Lourdes, you made it a privileged sanctuary where you dispense your favors, and where many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. My loving Mother, obtain my request. I will try to imitate your virtues so that I may one day share your company and bless you in eternity. Amen.