The Final Apparition of the Virgin Mary to Saint Bernadette in Lourdes

16th July marks an important date in the history of Lourdes and for Catholics the world over. On that day in 1858, the Virgin Mary appeared for the final time to Bernadette Soubirous at the grotto of Massabielle. This event had a deep and lasting impact, making Lourdes a major place of pilgrimage where millions of faithful gather every year.

The Apparitions at Lourdes

Between 11th February and 16th July 1858, Bernadette Soubirous had the privilege of contemplating the Mother of God eighteen times.

During the final apparition, the Virgin did not speak, but according to Bernadette, she was more beautiful than ever.

This event sealed Lourdes’ place in history as a place of grace and healing.

Processions and pilgrimages

Since the apparitions, Lourdes has become an international place of pilgrimage. On 16th July, pilgrims take part in the various events organised by the Sanctuary, offering them the opportunity to experience a day of prayer and peace. The torchlight procession, which brings the pilgrims’ day to a close, is a time of meditation and prayer when thousands of candles light up the night, symbolising the light of faith and hope. This moment of intense devotion is accompanied by hymns and prayers, creating an atmosphere of deep spirituality and communion.

A day to renew faith

For many pilgrims, 16th July is more than just an historical commemoration; it is an opportunity for them to renew their faith and seek physical and spiritual healing.

Lourdes is famous for its many miraculous cures, and many of the faithful come to wash themselves with water from the Grotto, as Bernadette did when she was told on 25th February 1858, “Go and drink at the spring and wash yourself there.”
The final apparition of the Virgin Mary to Saint Bernadette in Lourdes on 16th July 1858 is a defining event in the life of the Catholic Church and continues to inspire generations of believers. The processions and pilgrimages that take place on this occasion bear witness to the religious fervour and deep faith that animate the pilgrims. Lourdes remains a beacon of Marian devotion, a place where spirituality manifests itself in all its splendour and diversity.
Every 16th July, the hearts and minds of the faithful converge on the Grotto of Lourdes, celebrating the Virgin Mary’s message of love and peace, and renewing their commitment to faith and prayer.

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