History of Miracle Sites Lourdes France Part 2
About Lourdes, France, history of St. Bernadette and location of the healing site of the miraculous appearances of the Virgin Mary.
Recent Miracles: What was once merely a rocky, wild grotto has become an altar to the Virgin, its walls black with soot from the candle smoke of decades and festooned with abandoned crutches. Beside it is a 60-yd. wall of spigots, like drinking fountains, to dispense water from the spring (which tests the same as Lourdes drinking water). Nearby is a neo-Byzantine, three-level basilica. Underground is another basilica, which holds 7,000 people and has a ramp for wheelchairs. It is jokingly called Bernie's Drive-in. The baths, the real focal point of Lourdes, are small cubicles full of ice-cold water from the spring, in which the sick, some terminally ill, immerse themselves in hopes of being healed. Two hospitals, which care for but do not treat the sick, are part of the complex.
Of the 3 million individuals who come to Lourdes every year, 500,000 are sick people hoping to be cured miraculously. By 1975, of the thousands of reported cures which had occurred since 1858, only 63 had been proclaimed authentic by the Church, which has a rigorous system for confirming them. There must be medical proof that the sick person was indeed sick to begin with, that the symptoms disappeared within hours, and that the cure lasted for several years. The patient is examined on the spot by a medical bureau, which sends its conclusions to the International Medical Commission of Lourdes, a group of medical specialists who meet once a year in Paris. If the commission regards the cure as authentic, the report goes to a canonical commission in the diocese from which the cured person came, and the bishop makes a pronouncement on it.
Some case histories:
Margerie Paulette, 22 years old, cured of tubercular meningitis in 1929.
Mademoiselle Dulot, cured of stomach and liver cancer in 1925 after an unsuccessful operation, in a condition so far advanced she could not eat or take liquids. When immersed in the baths, she felt pain, then strong hunger pangs.
Louise Jamain, cured in 1937 of tubercular peritonitis after receiving the Last Rites.
Jeanne Fretel, cured in 1949 of tubercular peritonitis, after a long illness in which she endured 13 operations. The miracle occurred as she received a consecrated wafer at the Altar of St. Bernadette. Her cure was confirmed by 21 doctors, and she dedicated herself thereafter to working at Lourdes.
Col. Paul Pellegrin, a veteran of several wars, cured of an abscess of the liver in 1950 while in the Lourdes baths.
Francis Pascal, cured of blindness and paralysis at the age of four in 1938.
Guy Leydet, cured of idiocy and paralysis in the baths in 1946.
Rose Martin, cured of cancer of the uterus in 1947. At the moment of cure, she felt "something moving inside--through my whole being."
Getting There Today: By train: White-Train from the Gare d'Austerlitz in Paris.
By car: Route 125 from Toulouse, then west on Route 117 to Tarbes and south on Route 21 to Lourdes. From Biarritz, Route 117 to Tarbes and south on Route 21 to Lourdes.
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