The beautiful month of May comes with the glorification of our Mother the Virgin Mary.
It is her Holy month where people visit Her shrines offering Her flowers and their most fervent prayers.
For the past two years, I have written “Medjugorje the heart of our Lady” in May 2017 https://majatraveling.wordpress.com/2017/05/10/medjugorje-the-heart-of-our-lady/ and “Our Lady of Monsterrat” in May 2018 https://majatraveling.wordpress.com/2018/05/02/our-lady-of-montserrat/ .
This year, our destination will be France and we will be talking about Lourdes!
I have visited this spiritual place twice; the first time was in August 2010 and the second time was in August 2012.
Lourdes is a large town in southern France in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. The city with the Sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdes is one of the world’s most important sites of pilgrimage and religious tourism.
Every year around six million visitors from all over the world come to visit Lourdes.
It is the second most important center of tourism in France, right after Paris, and the third most important site of international Catholic pilgrimage after Rome and the Holy Land.
The town has two sections:
• The international portion by the river consists of the spiritual area where we can find the Grotto and churches. It is known as “The Domaine” or “The Sanctuaries”
• The “French” portion which is centered around the marketplace & Hotel de Ville
It has all started in the evening of 11 February 1858, when a 14 year old Bernadette Soubirous, who was gathering firewood at the Massabielle grotto along with her sister Toinette and their friend Jeanne, heard the sound of a gushing wind.
A Lady, bathed in light, who was indescribably beautiful appeared to Bernadette at the grotto. When asked at first, the Lady did not tell the girl her name but she asked her to return to the grotto.
The Virgin Mary appeared 18 times at the Grotto to Bernadette where She revealed Herself to be the “Immaculate Conception” and She told the young girl to dig in the ground at a certain spot and to drink from the small spring of water that began to bubble up. Cures were reported immediately from drinking the water eventhough tests did not show any special curative properties. It is all miraculous! Today thousands of gallons of water gush from the source of the spring.
When visiting Lourdes, pilgrims take home gallons and bottles of the miraculous water and bathe in it.
During my first visit, bathing in the miraculous water was in itself a deep spiritual experience for me. There are always long lines of people waiting their turn to bathe but I can assure you that the wait is so worth it!
During the Apparitions, Bernadette Soubirous prayed the Rosary. My beloved Pope John Paul II wrote: “The Rosary of the Virgin Mary is a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness.”
Bernadette entered into religious order 8 years later and is celebrated as one of the Saints of the Church.
The Catholic Church confirmed the Apparitions in 1870. A shrine was built there and Lourdes has grown into the largest Marian pilgrimage center in the world.
May you have a Blessed month of May!
With love from the Virgin Mary,