Our Lady Of Lourdes
On this date in 1858, Bernadette Soubirous, a young French peasant, first claimed to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes in southwestern France. Soubirous dug in the earth until a puddle of water formed. Legend has it that the puddle eventually became a pool that formed the sacred and healing waters of Lourdes that still spring today. Lourdes became a magnet for the sick, attracting 4 million to 6 million pilgrims a year. A huge concrete cathedral that seats 20,000 was built in 1958. The shrine's medical staff thoroughly examines reports of cures after patients visit Lourdes, verifying many of them. Pilgrims wishing for good health often bathe in pools that contain water from Bernadette's spring. Soubirous, who suffered from asthma, served as a nurse in the Franco-Prussian War.
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