catholic Pilgrimage to the City of Lourdes
November 20, 2017
Catholic pilgrimages are a great way for you and the people of your church to grow spiritually as you learn more about your Catholic Heritage. We help each tour group custom design their Catholic Pilgrimage and encourage you to consider Lourdes as one of your tour stops.
Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees in south-western France. Prior to the mid-19th century, the town was best known for the Château Fort de Lourdes, a fortified castle that rises up from a rocky escarpment at its center.
In 1858 Lourdes rose to prominence in France and abroad due to the Marian apparitions claimed to have been seen by the peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous, who was later canonized. The city with the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes became one of the world's most important sites of Catholic pilgrimage and religious tourism. Today, Lourdes hosts around six million visitors every year from Minneapolis and all corners of the world. This constant stream of pilgrims and tourists transformed quiet Lourdes into the second most important center of tourism in France, second only to Paris, and the third most important site of international Catholic pilgrimage after Rome and the Holy Land.
According to believers, the Virgin Mary appeared to Marie-Bernadette Soubirous on a total of eighteen occasions at Lourdes. Lourdes has become a major place of Roman Catholic pilgrimage and of miraculous healings. The 150th Jubilee of the first apparition took place on February 11, 2008 with an outdoor Mass attended by approximately 45,000 pilgrims.
On the evening of February 11, 1858, a young Roman Catholic girl, Bernadette, went to fetch some firewood with her sister and another companion when a Lady who was indescribably beautiful appeared to her at the Massabielle grotto. Although the Lady did not tell Bernadette her name when asked at first, she told her to return to the grotto. On subsequent visits, the Lady revealed herself to be the "Immaculate Conception". This was a reference to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception which had been defined only four years earlier in 1854 by Pope Pius IX, stating that the Virgin Mary herself had been conceived without sin. Bernadette, having only a rudimentary knowledge of the Catholic faith, did not understand what this meant but she reported it to her parish priest, Father Peyremale. Though initially very skeptical of Bernadette's claims, he became convinced when he heard this because he knew the young girl had no knowledge of the doctrine.
The Lady also told Bernadette to dig in the ground at a certain spot and to drink from the small spring of water that began to bubble up. Almost immediately cures were reported from drinking the water. And yet, the water has been shown through repeated testing to not have any special curative properties. Today, thousands of gallons of water gush from the source of the spring, and pilgrims are able to bathe in it. Countless purported miracle cures have been documented at this site, from the healing of nervous disorders and cancers to cases of paralysis and even of blindness.
Lourdes is one of the most important pilgrimages that a Minneapolis Catholic can take. Here at Faith Travel Experts, we are here to help you custom design a Catholic Pilgrimage including a stop in Lourdes.