Welcome to the Sanctuaire of Lourdes


The message of Lourdes

18th february 1858: extraordinary words

During the third apparition, on 18th February, the Virgin spoke for the first time: “what I have to say to you does not have to be written down”. This means that Mary wished to communicate with Bernadette in a loving heart to heart way. From the very start, Bernadette was invited to open the depths of her heart to this message of Love.

Bernadette was overwhelmed by the second statement of the Virgin Mary: “Would you be so kind as to come here for fifteen days?” It is the first time that Bernadette was addressed in a formal way. She felt she was respected and loved, as a person in her own right. We are all worthy of respect in the eyes of God, because He loves each one of us.

The third statement of the Virgin was: “I do not promise to make you happy in this world but in the other.” When Jesus, in the Gospel, invites us to discover the Kingdom of Heaven, He invites us to discover the “another world” within our world as it is. Wherever there is love, God is present.


God is Love

In spite of her poverty, her illness and her lack of education, Bernadette was always deeply happy. That is the Kingdom of God, the world of true Love. During the first seven apparitions, Bernadette’s face always radiated joy, happiness and light. However between the eight and twelfth apparitions, everything changed: Bernadette’s face became harsh, sad, and sorrowful, and above all she performed incomprehensible gestures… She moved on her knees to the back of the Grotto. She kissed the dirty repulsive ground of the Grotto. She ate some bitter plants. She scraped the ground three times trying to drink the muddy water at the back of the Grotto. She tried to drink a little and then throwing it away, she took mud in her hands and smeared it on her face. Then the young girl turned to the crowd. They all said: “She’s mad!” During these four Apparitions, Bernadette performed the same gestures. What did all this mean? Nobody understood! Nonetheless, here we are at the heart of the “Message of Lourdes”.


Biblical dimension od the apparitions

These actions are biblical actions. Bernadette acts out the Incarnation, the Passion and the death of Christ. Moving on her knees to the back of the Grotto: this action recalls the Incarnation, God humbles himself to become human. Eating bitter herbs at the back of the Grotto recalls the Jewish tradition found in the ancient texts. Smearing her face with mud: when the prophet Isaiah speaks to us about Christ, he depicts Him as “the suffering servant”.


The Grotto hides an immeasurable treasure

During the ninth apparition, “the Lady” asked Bernadette to scrape the soil, saying to her: “Go to the spring, drink of it and wash yourself there”. By these actions, the mystery of the heart of Jesus is revealed for us: “A soldier pierced his heart with his lance and there immediately flowed out blood and water.” The herbs and the mud represent the heart of man wounded by sin. However, in the deepest recesses of that heart, there lies the very life of God signified by the Spring. Bernadette is asked: “Did the ‘Lady’ say anything to you?” She replied: “Yes, from time to time, She said: “Penance, penance, penance. Pray for sinners”. By “Penance”, one must understand “conversion”. For the Church, conversion consists of turning one’s heart towards God and towards our brothers and sisters, as Christ taught us.

During the thirteenth Apparition, Mary said to Bernadette: “Go, tell the priests and that people should come here in procession and to build a chapel here.” “Come here in procession” means accompanying our brothers and sisters in this life. “Build a chapel here.” In Lourdes, chapels were built to accommodate the crowds of pilgrims. The chapel is the “Church” that we ought to build where we are.


The Lady gives her name: “Que soy era Immaculada Counceptiou”

On 25th March 1858, the day of the sixteenth apparition, Bernadette asked the “Lady” her name. The “Lady” replied in the local dialect: “Que soy era Immaculada Counceptiou”, which means “I am the Immaculate Conception”. The Immaculate Conception is “Mary conceived without sin, by the merits of the Cross of Christ” (definition of the dogma promulgated in 1854). Bernadette went to see the Parish priest straight away to give him the name of the “Lady”. He then realized it was the Mother of God who was appearing in the Grotto. Later, Mgr Laurence, Bishop of Tarbes, authenticated this revelation.

Share this page:

Play Video
Besoin d'aide ?

Centre d’information du Sanctuaire :
+33 (0)5 62 42 20 08
Numéro d’urgence :
+33 (0)5 62 42 80 60

Vous venez seul ou en famille, vous êtes touché par le handicap ?

Le service d’accueil des personnes handicapées, animé par la fondation OCH, vous ouvre ses portes.
+33 (0)5 62 42 79 92
9h30 – 12h et 14h -18h

Venir à Lourdes
✈️ L’aéroport international de Tarbes-Lourdes (TLP) est situé à quinze minutes du Sanctuaire. Lourdes est aussi accessible grâce à l’aéroport de Pau (PUF, 45 km de distance) et celui de Toulouse-Blagnac (TLS, 180 km de distance).

🚌 Vous pouvez rejoindre Lourdes en train, au départ des principales villes de France, A votre arrivée à la gare de Lourdes, vous trouverez des bus urbains qui vous permettront de vous rendre au Sanctuaire.

🚗Vous pouvez vous rendre à Lourdes avec votre véhicule, par l’autoroute A64 depuis Toulouse ou l’A65 depuis Bordeaux. Plusieurs zones de parkings vous sont proposées dans la ville.