Grotto Where Bernadette Saw Our Lady
The message of Lourdes came in 1858 when a 14 year old girl, Bernadette Soubirous, daughter of a miller, saw a vision of a woman veiled in white with a blue sash and golden rose on each foot. She was holding a rosary of pearls. This woman appeared to Bernadette 18 times from February to July 1858.
Bernadette went to religious authorities and despite their skepticism began an investigation. After much ado the wishes of the veiled woman were granted and Our Lady of Lourdes Basilica was built surrounding the spring which appeared during these apparitions.
Start your visit to Lourdes at the Information Center. Here they have staff who can direct and understand your needs for the visit in your language. There are many daily events and schedules are available. Few speak English on the Church grounds or in the community.
The Church has an upper level
and a lower level..
It was in the lower level altar where Bernadette saw her last vision of the Blessed Mother.
There is a separate building for confession and in that building English mass is conducted. Most of the pilgrims at the Church are European.
There are healing baths. To have this experience contact the Church prior to visit to ensure availability.
Candle Sites are available in the Church as well as in an outside structure past the Grotto.
Stations of the Cross are present beyond the candle structure in the picture above and to the left of the main Church.
Every evening from April to October at 9 pm there is a torchlight procession of pilgrims saying the rosary in every language and singing Marian songs.
Because my visit occurred during a Marian Holy Day, December 8th, this weekend had a Torchlight Procession. It is an extremely moving prayer event not to be missed.
Other Concerns: Dress in layers with comfortable, thick soled shoes and bring an umbrella. For those with disabilities there are ramps, however, there is much walking for those pushing wheelchairs. Outside the grounds there are many reasonable restaurants. Gift shops are also located there.
To the left side of the main church at ground level candles can be purchased and masses obtained. There are also self service carts for candle purchase throughout the grounds.
Lourdes water from the spring is available free from faucets on the grounds. Bring containers or small bottles can be purchased next to the faucets or in local gift shops.
There are many places to stay near the church. Plan ahead and use a cab as driving the streets of Lourdes is a horrific experience. The streets are narrow, crooked, and sloping. People use the street rather than sidewalk to walk. Asto transportation from Paris, HOP Airline operated by Air France is a reasonable and efficient airline or the high speed train.
Access the Lourdes website for additional information.