This Monday, 11th February, is the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes. It was on this day in 1858 that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous near a stream called Massabielle, in Lourdes.
Mary appeared eighteen times to Bernadette who was the only one who saw her. She was told by Mary that she wanted a church built there and for her to drink from the spring. On the sixteenth visit after persistent requests from Bernadette to reveal her identity, she uttered the words “I am the Immaculate Conception”. She also said to Bernadette, “I want people to come in procession, to pray for sinners, to do penance, and to drink and wash in the waters of the spring”. Never anywhere did Our Lady say that people would be healed and yet people have been miraculously healed. This demonstrates when pilgrims come to Lourdes in a spirit of penance and prayer for sinners, then grace abounds and miracles can and do happen.
Monday is also World Day for the Sick, so while we pray for patience and endurance in suffering we also pray for healing with an expectant faith.