Saturday, February 11th
This feast recalls the 18 appearances of the Blessed Virgin Maryto a young French girl, Bernadette Soubirous, from February 11 to July 16, 1858, near a grotto at Lourdes, France. Bernadette did not know the identity of “the beautiful lady in white” and asked who she was. Mary said, “I am the Immaculate Conception,” the title Pope Pius IX had defined as dogma four years earlier. In 1890, Pope Leo XIII allowed the local Diocese of Tarbes to celebrate this feast; Pope Pius X made it a universal feast in 1907.
Lourdes is perhaps the most famous Marian shrine in Western Europe, where many go to invoke God’s healing grace through the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes.