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The statue of the Virgin of Lourdes is 160 years old

On 4th April 1864, the feast of the Annunciation that year, the statue that stands in the Grotto of Massabielle was placed in its niche and unveiled in front of more than 10,000 people. It is still the same statue, made by Fabisch, that is displayed in the hollow of the rock and that millions of people see in Lourdes every year.

I saw a lady dressed in white

The Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Bernadette eighteen times between 11th February and 16th July 1858. In her first vision, Bernadette, then aged fourteen, described the Virgin as follows: “I saw a lady dressed in white: she wore a white dress, a white veil, a blue sash and a yellow rose on each foot.” Five years later, in September 1863, Joseph Fabisch, a sculptor from Lyon who was considered one of the masters of religious art at the time, was chosen to create a statue of the Virgin for the Grotto at Massabielle.

No, that's not right!

Once the contract had been approved, Fabisch first sent a questionnaire to Bernadette, then travelled to Lourdes to interview her. The visionary’s description allayed his fears, and even enthused him. He created a model and submitted a photograph of it to Bernadette. However, Bernadette criticised this first attempt. “The figure doesn’t look young enough, nor does it smile enough wrote Abbé Peyramale. On the right side, the veil clings to the head and neck, creating a curve from the head to the shoulder. On the left, it does not cover the shoulder, and then on both sides, it folds under the arms. According to Bernadette, the veil descended perpendicularly, covering both shoulders and the elbows. The dress is too low (…): the lower part of the neck is too exposed. The hands were more clasped, the fingers pressed together; the left foot seems a little too far forward (…). The rosary has been omitted.” Fabisch corrected it as best he could.
On 31st March 1864, the statue arrived at the presbytery in Lourdes. Bernadette was summoned In the presence of Abbé Peyramale and Father Ollivier, the Carrara marble was extracted from its straw-filled box. The young girl tried to nod, as if out of politeness. But she pulled herself together and said emphatically, “No, that’s not right!” She added later, “Anyway, you can’t recreate her the way she was.” Marble will aways be just marble.

Own your own authentic and official statue of Our Lady of Lourdes

The Sanctuary of Lourdes is offering you the chance to own an identical replica of the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Grotto of the Apparitions. These replicas have been officially certified by the Sanctuary.

Using a three-dimensional scanner, authentic replicas of the statues are reproduced with the greatest attention to detail and made available by the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Made in France from resin and hand-painted, these statues are suitable for indoor or outdoor use, and enable you to meditate and pray before the most authentic image of the statue in the hollow of the rock.

On sale at the Grotto bookshop

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