February 11 is the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes.
More than 160 years ago, 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous saw a bright light in a cave near a river in Lourdes, France. She was a poor shepherd, and as she approached the light, the Virgin Mary appeared to her. Wearing a white garment with a blue belt, Mary held a rosary and identified herself as the Immaculate Conception.
Mary appeared to Bernadette 18 times over the following months. During these occurrences, she instructed Bernadette to drink from the spring in the cave and to tell Church authorities to build a shrine there.
Since 1858, over 200 million people have visited this shrine and the same cave. Many who drink or bathe in the spring report cures of illnesses or diseases. It is one of the most famous Marian pilgrimage sites in the world — Catholics, Christians, and other seekers stream there to seek God’s presence because Mary’s appearance there, and her words to Bernadette, reveal her motherly care for us.