Lourdes Apparitions & Message

Lourdes is a town in France that attracts over 6 million visitors per year, with over 80,000 sick pilgrims visiting to seek healing. Lourdes is known for the apparitions of Mary to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Mary appeared to Bernadette 18 times between February 11 and July 16, 1858, at Massabielle Grotto. Mary's message was summarized in three words (prayer, penance, and conversion).

Lourdes Apparitions & Message


  • Apparitions: 1858
  • 7,000 cases of unexplained cures
  • 70 cures recognized as miraculous
  • 13,389 inhabitants (2017)
  • 6 million visitors per year
  • over 80,000 sick pilgrims per year
  • 189 hotels[1]
  • 3 basilicas: Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (consecrated in 1876), Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary (consecrated in 1901), and Basilica of Saint Pius X (consecrated in 1958).
View from the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Lourdes France
View from the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception


Date: February 11–July 16, 1858

Massabielle Grotto Lourdes France
Massabielle Grotto

Mary appeared at Massabielle Grotto 18 times between February 11 and July 16, 1858, to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous. On February 11, Bernadette was gathering firewood along the bank of the River Gave when Mary appeared to her as a beautiful young girl of around 17 years old. Bernadette described Mary as

dressed in a white robe, girded at the waist with a blue ribbon. She wore upon her head a white veil which gave just a glimpse of hair. Her feet were bare but covered by the last folds of her robe and a yellow rose was upon each of them. She held on her right arm a rosary of white beads with a chain of gold shining like the two roses on her feet.
Bernadette Soubirous kneeling with rosary in her hands
St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1861

Historical Background

The French Revolution (1789–1799) rejected Christendom and established a constitutional church. Catholic priests were invited to pledge allegiance to the State. Those who did not do so were persecuted alongside Catholics in general.

Following the French Revolution, a series of apparitions of Our Lady took place in France. She appeared

You may ask: why France? Russian theology teaches that

when the world would fight against the Savior, he would send ̉his Mother to save us.

When people rejected Christ, God sent his Mother. This might be an explanation of why Mary repeatedly came to France in the wake of the French Revolution.

The place where Mary stood at Massabielle Grotto with the inscription of her message I am the Immaculate Conception Lourdes France
The place where Mary stood at Massabielle Grotto

Message of Lourdes

We can summarize the message of Lourdes in two words: prayer and repentance. In her 8th apparition, Mary said:

Repentance, repentance, repentance! Pray to God for sinners. Kiss the ground as an act of penance for sinners!

We must engage in prayer and repentance, which involves turning towards God and our fellow human beings.

  1. Lourdes is second only to Paris in the number of hotels per square kilometer in France. Read here.