Our Lady of Lourdes Novena
Our Lady of Lourdes story is intimately tied to St. Bernadette Soubirous. Bernadette was born in 1844, the first child of a poor miller in Lourdes, southern France. The family was living in the basement of a dilapidated building when on February 11, 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette in a cave above the banks of the Gave River. Bernadette, then aged 14, was a rather dull girl, but very pious. She was a sickly child, having contracted cholera during toddlerhood.
There were 18 appearances in all. As it is often the case, Bernadette’s initial reports provoked skepticism, but brought large crowds of curious people to the cave. The Lady, Bernadette explained, had instructed her to have a chapel built on the spot of the visions. There, the people were to come to wash in and drink of the water of the spring that had welled up from the very spot where Bernadette had been instructed to dig.
Bernadette described the Lady she saw being aged 16 or 17, wearing a white robe with a blue sash. Yellow roses covered her feet, a large rosary was on her right arm. In the vision on March 25, the Lady told Bernadette, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Bernadette's visions were subject to unprecedented scrutiny, from both Church authorities and the French government. Rather unhappy to be the center of attention, Bernadette entered the convent of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Nevers, where she later professed her vows. With her chronic health issues becoming more serious. Bernadette died on April 16, 1879, at the age of 35. She became Saint Bernadette in 1933, and her incorrupt body is resting in the Chapel of Saint Gildard in Nevers.
Today, Lourdes is one of the most popular Marian shrines in the world, attracting millions of visitors. The water from the miraculous spring has cured and healed many people ever since. Millions of pilgrims go to Lourdes to see the place where Mary appeared and to bathe in the spring to be healed and blessed.
Content of the Novena
For nine days, you'll receive the specific daily prayers, as well as a quote from St. Bernadette for meditation.
Picture: The Virgin of Lourdes - This mosaic image of Our Lady of Lourdes forms the apsidal backdrop to one of the outdoor chapels in the Rosary Square of the Lourdes shrine. Photograph by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P., CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes
Ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, we call upon you as Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, and Comfort to the Afflicted. You know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a sanctuary whence you dispense your favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and physical. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests (mention them here). Through gratitude for favors, I will endeavor to imitate your virtues that I may one day share your glory. Amen
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