Our Lady of Lourdes

 

Immaculate Mary,
you appeared to St. Bernadette
and gave her a mission to build up Lourdes
as a sacred shrine to bring people to God.
Through your intercession,
countless graces have been given
to the thousands of people
who have flocked to Lourdes.
Some have even received the grace of physical healing.

I join my prayers to the pilgrims at your shrine
who sing thousands of Aves to you.
I place all my trust in you
and give you all my love.

[Taken from: Favorite Prayers to Our Lady, by Anthony M. Buono]

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today was easily one of the best days of my life.  Yesterday I finished my 33-day preparation for my second annual renewal of my consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  I also took some time to myself to pray the 33 meditations (short prayers to the Immaculate Heart of Mary) all over again, though I had prayed them one at a time for the 33-day period.

Today I attended the five-o’clock Mass at our parish.  I arrived well in advance, and renewed my consecration in the small chapel (which I have mentioned in a few posts over at Contemplative Haven), in front of the Blessed Sacrament and the picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and beside the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Then this evening, for the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we attended the eight-o’clock Mass and candlelight procession at the Notre Dame de Lourdes Grotto in Vanier (Ottawa).  I have been going to pray at this Grotto since I was a little girl, and the evening celebrations on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary are very beautiful.

The Grotto was filled to overflowing, and my heart was so full of gratitude that so many people had come to celebrate the Assumption and to give honour to Mary.  It is not a day of obligation in Canada.  Everyone was there out of love for Mary, pure and simple.  Pure.  And simple.  After Mass, we lit our candles and processed from our seats up the hill to the Cross, with quiet song interspersed with decades of the Rosary.  (all in French, by the way.)  At the end we sang the Magnificat, and were asked to wave our candles high in the air at each verse.  I held back from going up the hill this year, so I could try to get you some photos.  I’m not very good at night photography (at least, I haven’t figured it out yet…) but there were hundreds of people holding candles, singing and praying.

My heart had been full during the whole Mass and procession, but at the end, as I stood before the statue of Our Lady, my tears really came pouring out.  It was like the veil was lifted for a few moments, out of Mary’s graciousness to me.  I felt her telling me that I was only in one little corner of one little part of the world, and that this had been going on in pockets all over the world today, and that this is what had been taking place all day today in heaven.  As some of us stood in front of Mary, still singing alleluias, holding our candles, gazing up at her with love (some with outstretched arms), I could imagine the love that will be poured out to her when she comes in the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart, to bring in the reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  I could imagine all of us all over the world with outstretched arms and faces raised to the heavens.  Yes.  I believe today was really one of the best days of my life.

Lourdes Grotto Ottawa 1

Lourdes Grotto Ottawa 2

Lourdes Grotto Ottawa 3

Lourdes Grotto Ottawa 11

Lourdes Grotto Ottawa 13

Lourdes Grotto Ottawa 16

A Different Miracle

I recently read a very touching and inspiring article at Guideposts, entitled A Perfect Child, written by Kathleen Lukens in 1994.

It is the story of a mother and child’s very special trip to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France – with a beautiful, perhaps unusual (?) but not really surprising outcome.  Our Lady, after all, is also the Queen of Peace. 

Mary, Seat of Wisdom

O happy Virgin,
you gave birth to the Lord;
O blessed seat of Wisdom,
you cradle in our hearts
the Spirit of your Son Jesus Christ.

Our Lady of Lourdes, from India

Mid-June, over at Contemplative Haven, I posted a link to a video of the trailer/promo for the movie, Our Lady of Lourdes, written and produced by Mr. Kamalakar Rao Ponnapalli.  As well as wishing to help in some small way to spread the word about this movie, I was curious as to why Mr. Ponnapalli, a Hindu, was inspired to create a movie about a Catholic saint and the Blessed Virgin (and to dedicate ten years of his life to it).

Mr. Ponnapalli has kindly sent me an article previously printed in Lourdes Magazine, from which we can gain some further insight into the motivating forces behind the creation of the movie. If you click on the article it should expand, and you may click once more to get it to a readable size.

 

Mr. Ponnapalli was inspired by the fact that a simple girl like Bernadette could be used as an instrument of God, and he wished to express this to the people of India, so that they too would understand that wealth, roots, health and power are not necessary in the sight of God, and are not prerequisites for making a difference in this world.  It is quite exciting to read that even though Mr. Ponnapalli received guidance from both a Catholic priest and a Catholic Brother regarding the film, things did not really flow smoothly until after a visit to Lourdes in 2005. His spontaneous meetings with various people who proved to be of great benefit in the creation of the film were “encounters arranged by Mary”, Mr. Ponnapalli believes – he even uses the word miracle!  I was reflecting on all this when I happened upon a passage in my Redemptorist “Our Lady of Perpetual Help” book, which seemed to me to be quite appropriate in terms of Mr. Ponnapalli’s experience with Mother Mary:

In these pages we are not using the word “miracle” in the theological sense as when we speak of the miracles of Jesus or the miracles recognized by the Church in the process of canonization of the Saints.  Here we use the word “miracle” in a wider sense as used by the faithful.  It is not a question of dogmas of faith but rather, experiences of faith.  In this Christian sense, these “miracles” also have norms of certitude.  In the idiom of the faithful a miracle is a grace, a help, a protection, a favor asked for and received, an experience of inner peace.

Truly, Mary is Our Lady of All Nations and the Mother of All Peoples.  Thank you for sharing this inspiring story with us, Mr. Ponnapalli; the miracles of Lourdes continue!

Feastday of Our Lady of Lourdes

[Excerpt from the speech delivered in French at Lourdes by (then Cardinal and Patriarch of Venice) Pope John XXIII on March 25, 1958, for the consecration of the Church dedicated to St. Pius X. This excerpt is taken from the book, “Journal of a Soul. The Autobiography of Pope John XXIII”.]

“O holy Virgin, O Immaculate… O Queen of Lourdes, grant us, O, from the fulness of your grace grant us your gifts. Renew the miracles of a century and let new wonders follow the old. In this place add new glory to your hand and your right arm…

May the confident messages you repeated to your beloved Bernadette find here, O Immaculate Virgin, more ample proof of your generosity in the appeals you make, here and elsewhere, for the return of the scattered children to their Father’s home, which is still your home, our own precious home; may these pilgrimages continue, for the uplifting of souls, the healing of bodies and the ripening of golden fruits of patience, kindness and self-dedication…

Holy Mary Immaculate, help all who are in trouble. Help all who are in trouble: give courage to the faint-hearted, console the sad, heal the infirm, pray for the people, intercede mercifully for the clergy, have a special thought for nuns; may all feel, all enjoy your kind and powerful assistance, all who now and always render and will render you honour, and will offer you their petitions…”

For a link to the official website (where you can see a variety of lovely little videos direct from Lourdes) celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes to St. Bernadette, please see my post today at Contemplative Haven.