On 18th January 1862, in the name of the Catholic Church, the Bishop of Tarbes, Mgr. Laurence, published his pastoral letter “passing judgment on the Apparition which took place at the Grotto of Lourdes”. Nearly 4 years after the apparitions of the Lady to Bernadette Soubirous in the grotto of Massabielle, this was the official recognition of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes.
Based on the work of the Commission of Inquiry which he set up in 1858 and which was “responsible for ascertaining the authenticity and the nature of the events which took place”, and taking into account Bernadette’s testimony of and the cures effected with water from Lourdes, the Bishop of Tarbes officially recognised the apparitions, authorised worship, and invited the building of a shrine by appealing to the generosity of donors.
“We judge that the Immaculate Mary, Mother of God, really appeared lo Bernadette Soubirous on 11th February 1858 and following days, eighteen times in the Grotto of Massabielle, near the city of Lourdes; that this Apparition possesses all the characteristics of truth and that the faithful may believe in it with certainty.”
It is from this seminal text, an extract of which is engraved in marble in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, that worship would be organised and pilgrimages would develop.
Get the pastoral letter about the Recognition of the Apparitions.
The latest addition to the “Explain Me” collection, this collection is the identical transcription of the original document kept in the archives of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes.