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Photo © Santuaries ND Lourdes P Vincent Lourdes doesn’t have a local monopoly of supernatural events. In Betharram near Lourdes some shepherds saw a vision of a ray of light which guided them to a statue of the Virgin Mary. In the early sixteenth century, a twelve-year-old shepherdess named Angleze de Sagazan claimed a vision near a spring at Garaison. Her story is strikingly similar to that of Bernadette. Pious but illiterate, she successfully convinced authorities that her vision was genuine. There are also several similarities between the apparition at La Salette near Grenade, predating Lourdes by eleven years. Bernadette’s apparitions were not recognized until 1862. The statue of Notre Dame de Lourdes was installed in the Massabeille (meaning old rock) grotto two years later. Bernadette died in Nevers convent in 1879 and was canonized in 1933. Her body was exhumed three times and found to be “incorrupt”. but only 70 recognized by the Lourdes Medical Bureau, a group of theologians and doctors charged with investigating claims. Meanwhile, as I stood watching, thousands continued to process. Three boy scouts carried a 1.5-metre-long candle. A voice intoned ”Saloe, Regina; mater misericordia, vita, dulcedo et spes nostra, saloe”. Another beside me whispered “Ave Maria Gratia plena Dominus tecum Virgo serena”. Then, as the processions of pilgrims moved another few yards: “O Mary our mother we come to this place where you who are sinless appeared full of grace.” A teenage boy processing a handicapped girl told me “You learn a lot from coming to Lourdes. One hundred countries are represented here every day. It’s a transfiguring place. You can’t help be moved and touched. Whatever your beliefs you feel belief. “ There have been over 7000 claimed “cures”
Photo © Santuaires ND Lourdes Photo Barbara Summers Lourdes Tourist Office The latest Miracle The last miracle involving Sister Bernadette Moriau happened in 2008 and was recognized in 2013. The nun was 69 years old when she visited the shrine in Lourdes and attended a blessing of the sick ceremony. She had undergone several spinal operations several decades before, had been disabled since 1980 and was confined to a wheelchair ,suffering great pain. Photo Lizandra Lerm O'Kennedy On returning to her convent in Beauvais she prayed in the Chapel and felt a feeling of well being and heard a voice tell her to remove her braces. She was soon walking and without pain. The Committee of Lourdes declared that the changes were inexplicable and a miracle.
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