The story can be told again and again, and I never lose interest because it speaks to each of our hearts about all of our lives. The story of Bernadette Soubirous, the saint of Lourdes, is one that can be told through the words of the Virgin Mary which Bernadette heard in that small, muddy grotto in Lourdes, France. Her story is our story, as our devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes grows and our prayers to the Virgin Mother of Lourdes deepen.
When Bernadette was a child, the Grotto at Lourdes was a dirty and damp place. There is a big difference between this unattended Grotto and the visions of the beautiful Virgin Mary, the “Immaculate Conception.” But this is where the story becomes our story! If you consider the stories in the Gospel, people encounter Jesus, the Son of God amidst the poverty, illness and sometimes selfishness of humanity. AND – so do we!
Bernadette’s story is our story. We are called to find God all around us and in all people we meet. We can often find God in those we know and love, but it is also our obligation to find God in the poor and helpless of our world. Our Lady of Lourdes calls each of us to pray to her, to pray the Rosary for our world, but Mary also calls us to help change the world by our generosity to those who have nothing. The Franciscan Friars are following Mary’s call to help change the world by our prayers and service to the poor.