Family of Our Lady: a community of prayer

The Family of Our Lady of Lourdes brings together about 300 people from across Europe, America, Africa and Asia (including 40 people in Congo Kinshasa, 200 people from the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in Miami, 80 Italian parishioners from the Sanctuary via Madonna dell’Arco and 3 families from Brazil…)

In Lourdes, members meet once a month to share prayer and meals. In Miami, they meet on the 11th of every month for a time of sharing and prayer. Each group is encouraged to view the meeting, following the example of Mary and Bernadette, as a time of grace given by the Lord.

The Family of Our Lady of Lourdes has a face-to-face presence at the Parvis: the place for pilgrimage add-ons, to give the family some prominence and to support pilgrims’ prayers.

The Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception, canonically established at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes by the Bishop of Tarbes on 8th December 1872, was elevated to an Archconfraternity by Popes Pius IX, then Leo XIII, first in France, then across the whole world. Saint Pius X gave it its current title and endowed it with spiritual favours.

It aims to ensure that the grace of the apparition at the Grotto of Massabielle is always relevant, in all walks of life. Four years after the proclamation of the dogma of her immaculate conception, the Mother of God revealed her name to Bernadette, when on 25th March 1858 she told her, “I am the Immaculate Conception”. United by the bonds of prayer and charity, the persons and institutions concerned enable many people today to hear the “sound like a gust of wind”, which was heard in Lourdes on 11th February 1858. 

Family of Our Lady of Lourdes
1 avenue Mgr Theas
65108 Lourdes Cedex
Such. + 33 (0)6 22 73 30 29

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22nd August 2023: 7 years since the birth of the Family of Our Lady

The “Family” is an Archconfraternity whose foundation dates back to 8th December 1872. The Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes sees the Family as part of the mission that Mary entrusted to Bernadette in Lourdes, enabling the Church to be seen increasingly as “an oasis of mercy”, offering wounded bodies and hearts a source of healing and forgiveness.

Fr. André Cabes, then Rector of the Sanctuary, was the community’s moderator and he sent a letter every month to all the members of the Family for their time of prayer.

Fr. André Cabes, moderator of the Family of Our Lady

Born in 1950 in Tarbes, André Cabes was ordained a priest in 1977. He held various positions in Lourdes as director of youth services, chaplain, founder of the school of the Gospel of Lourdes. In 1995, he founded the Notre-Dame de l’Aurore community, attached to the monastic fraternities of Jerusalem. Rector of the Church of the Trinity of the Mountains, in Rome, from 2012 to 2015.

Rector of the Sanctuary of Lourdes from 2015 to 2019. He was chaplain to the Sisters of Saint-Frai, diocesan exorcist and member of the Presbyteral Council, spiritually supporting many people and retreats.

The Diocese and the Sanctuary remember a man of faith rooted in local religious life. His love of the Virgin, and his enthusiasm to trust her in all circumstances will have touched those who met him.

It is with deep sadness that we learned of his passing on Sunday 30th July at the age of 72.

Floral tribute on 8th December in Lourdes

In 1965, Padre Pio asked one of his spiritual daughters to present a bouquet of flowers, on December 8th, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, at the foot of the statue of the Immaculate on the Spanish Steps in Rome. Since that date, many Padre Pio Prayer Groups congregate every December 8th, to go in procession to place flowers at the foot of this statue, just as the Holy Father and many Romans do. Reviving, on their own, the request of their founding saint, on 8th December 2015 (50 years after his request), and again in the ensuing years, the Padre Pio Prayer Groups of Paris adopted the initiative of taking flowers to the foot of the statue of the Virgin in the Grotto of Lourdes, the very place where, on 25th March, 1858, the Apparition revealed her name to Bernadette Soubirous, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

In order to perpetuate the Lourdes floral homage, it was decided that, as from 2017, this should no longer be organised solely by the Padre Pio Prayer Groups but by the “Family of Our Lady of Lourdes” (to which the Padre Pio Prayer Groups belong) and to allow devotees of the Immaculate Conception to offer her a rose, including via the internet. This initiative brings together the Shrines or institutions linked to Lourdes and Saint Bernadette, and also people who have served or who are serving in the Sanctuary, and those who want to carry the mission of Lourdes in prayer, so they can be united by the grace of the encounter between Mary and Bernadette.

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Act of trust in Mary

Blessed are You, God our Father, for having created Mary in all her beauty,
and for having given Her to us as Mother at the foot of the Cross of Jesus.
Blessed are You for having called us, like Bernadette,
to see Mary in your light and to drink from the spring of your Heart.
Mary, You know the troubles and the sins in our lives and the life of the world.
We want to give ourselves to You today totally and without reserve;
through you we will be reborn daily in the power of the Spirit,
we will live out the life of Jesus as humble servants of our brothers .and sisters
Teach us, Mary, to put on the life of the Lord.
teach us the Yes of your heart.

“Thank you for all that I have received,

I embrace you all with all my heart.

We will meet again in the light of heaven,

we are one in Him who created us.”

(P. André Cabes 22nd August 2017)

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