Feb 19, 2008
My dear friends,
Exactly 150 years ago this month, the Virgin Mary began appearing to a poor peasant girl in a small village called Lourdes in France. The Virgin identified herself as the Immaculate Conception — an article of faith that had been proclaimed by the pope only four years earlier.
There was no way this 14-year-old peasant girl living in that isolated village could have known about that teaching. That was the first proof for the authenticity of the apparitions. Then came the miraculous cures from a mysterious fountain that had never been seen before.
Lourdes today is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the world. Thousands upon thousands come year-round to pray and wash in the healing waters. Hundreds more come for weeks at a time as volunteers, to help the sick who come in search of healing.