The saint for February 11
Our Lady of Lourdes
Blessed Virgin Mary
 
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Roman Calendar

IT IS MORE THAN 150 years since the birth of Bernadette Soubirous, the peasant girl whose visions led to the founding of the shrine at Lourdes in the foothills of the French Pyrenees. Nowadays four illuminated basilicas dominate the landscape, there are torchlight processions every day, and the shops are full of statuettes and relics. Five million pilgrims or religious tourists visit every year.

At the time of her vision Bernadette was fourteen years old and barely literate. On February 11, 1858, while Bernadette was out collecting wood with her sister Toinette and her friend Jeanne, they came to a place where the millstream joined the shallow river Gave by a grotto at Massabielle. The other girls waded through the water, crying because it made their feet so cold. Bernadette was a frail, asthmatic, so she hung back, not wanting to get wet.The others drew away, a Bernadtte was attracted to the grotto by sounds she described as a rustling.She and went to investigate and found a rosebush moving as though windblown, but there was no breeze.

She reported: "I raised my head and looked towards the grotto. I saw a Lady dressed in white, wearing a white dress, a blue girdle and a yellow rose on each foot, the same color as the chain of her rosary: the beads of her rosary were white." The beautiful lady motioned for Bernadette to approach, and they prayed the Rosary together.

Over the next six months Berrnadette came to the grotto and met with Mary 18 times, but she did not know who the beautiful visitor was until the last visitation, although she had earlier thrown holy water at the apparition and asked it (Aquero) to go if it was not from God, but to stay if it was.The beautiful lady was not offended at this, and in fact, nodded and smiled approval.

The spring did not exist at the time that the apparitions began. On the occasion of the ninth appearance, on the 25th of February, Mary instructed Bernadette to dig a hole at a certain spot and to drink and bathe in it. The hole became a spring, and Mary promised that it would heal those who used its water.

At the time of the 16th apparition, on March 25th, 1858, the Virgin told her, "Que soy era Immaculado Conceptiou" (I am the Immaculate Conception). Bernadette was nearly illiterate, and was completely unaware of the recently promulgated doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. When she told her parish priest what the Lady had said, he was staggered.

The Virgin's last appearance to Bernadette occurred on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16th, 1858. Since that time over five thousand cures have been reported among the millions of visitors to Lourdes since then, with 65 having been rigorously examined and verified by the Church as miraculous. The apparitions were determined to be genuine in 1862, and the site has become one of the major pilgrimage sites of Christians, and the most popular of all marian shrines worldwide.

Litany of Our Lady of Lourdes

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy.

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

Christ hear us, Christ graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.

Holy Mother of God, pray for us.

Mother of Christ, pray for us.

Mother of our Savior, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, help of Christians, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, source of love, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of the poor, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of the handicapped, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of orphans, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of all children, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of all nations, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of the Church, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, friend of the lonely, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, comforter of those who mourn, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, shelter of the homeless, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, guide of travelers, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, strength of the weak, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, refuge of sinners, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, comforter of the suffering, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, help of the dying, pray for us. pray for us.

Queen of heaven, pray for us.

Queen of peace, pray for us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, spare us O Lord.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Christ hear us, Christ graciously hear us.

Grant us, your servants, we pray you, Lord God, to enjoy perpetual health of mind and body. By the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, may we be delivered from present sorrows, and enjoy everlasting happiness. Through Christ our Lord.

Amen.
Patroness of the sick
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