The Grotto, which is a cave-like structure, displays the statue of
St. Bernadette kneeling before Our Lady Of Lourds. Lourdes is a small town in France. In this
town, Bernadette Soubirous was born on January 7, 1844. She had six brothers and two sisters.
Her father was a miller, and the family lived a very simple life.
When Bernadette was 14 years old, she and her two sister were out gathering firewood. Bernadette
was left behind as her sisters crossed a small stream. She heard a sound like a storm; and looking
across the stream, she saw an apparition. She saw a lady dressed in white with a blue sash and
yellow roseon each foot. The lady did not speak, but made the sign of the cross. Then the vision
The lady did not speak until the third time she appeared to Bernadette. She asked Bernadette to
meet her theri every day for a fortnight. The lady tole Bernadette to tell the priests to have a chapel
built there. Then, the lady told Bernadette to drink at the spring. Not seeing a spring, she went to
a pool of muddy water. Bernadette scraped at the muddy ground, and eventually fresh water appeared.
Many times Bernadette asked the lady who whe was. Eventually, she said, "I am the Immaculate
Conception". For Catholics, this is now a teaching doctrine of the Church. Over the years, Bernadette
has been canonized as a saint, and the waters that flow at Lourdes are the source of many unexplained
spiritual or physical "miracles".
The story of Lourdes is difficult for many to accept. The Catholic Church does note that Mary's appearances
were indeed credible at Lourdes. It is believed that Mary was with Bernadette despite many questions,
inquiries and disbelief. Mary, our Mother, will be there for us if we only ask for her assistance in time of need.