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In 1858, on February 11 in the grotto of Massabielle, near Lourdes in southern France, Our Lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, a young peasant girl.
She revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception, asked that a chapel be built on the site of the vision, and told the girl to drink from a fountain in the grotto.
There were eighteen total appearance of Our Lady to Bernadette. The last took place July 16, 1858. Bernadette often fell into an ecstasy during these apparitions, as was witnessed by the hundreds who attended the later visions, though no one except Bernadette ever saw or heard the apparition.
The mysterious vision Bernadette saw in the hollow of the rock Massabielle, where she and friends had gone to gather firewood, was that of a young and beautiful lady. “Lovelier than I have ever seen” said the child. She described the Lady as clothed in white, with a blue ribbon sash and a Rosary handing from her right arm. Now and then the apparition spoke to Bernadette.
One day, the Lady told the girl to drink of a mysterious fountain within the grotto itself, the existence of which was unknown, and of which there was no sign. But Bernadette scratched at the ground, and a spring immediately bubbled up and soon gushed forth.
On another occasion the apparition bade Bernadette go and tell the priests she wished a chapel to be built on the spot and processions to be made to the grotto. At first the clergy were incredulous. The priest said he would not believe it unless the apparition gave Bernadette her name.
After another apparition, Bernadette reported that the Lady told her, “I am the Immaculate Conception“. Though the girl was unfamiliar with the term, the Pope had declared the doctrine of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary in 1854.
Four years after Bernadette’s visions, in 1862, the bishop of the diocese declared the faithful “justified in believing the reality of the apparition” of Our Lady.
A basilica was built upon the rock of Massabielle by M. Peyramale, the parish priest. In 1873 the great “national” French pilgrimages were inaugurated. Three years later the basilica was consecrated and the statue solemnly crowned.
In 1883 the foundation stone of another church was laid, as the first was no longer large enough. It was built at the foot of the basilica and was consecrated in 1901 and called the Church of the Rosary. Pope Leo XIII authorized a special office and a Mass, in commemoration of the apparition, and in 1907 Pius X extended the observance of this feast to the entire Church; it is now observed on February 11.
(Various sources; principal source - Catholic Encyclopedia - Adult Catholic Catechism )
As a child my Mother every morning recited poetry or words of inspiration to me. This morning someone shared this note with me, the words of Howard Thurman and I wanted to jump start your day with them too. I hope that they inspire you too.
I Want To Be Better
by Howard Thurman
The concern which I lay before God today is my need to better:
I want to be better than I am in my my most ordinary day by day contacts:
With my friends
With my family
With my casual contacts
With my business relations
With my associates in work and in play
I want to be better than I am in the responsibilities that are mine:
I am conscious of my many petty resentments
I am conscious of increasing hostility toward certain people
I am conscious of the effort to be pleasing for effect, not because it is a genuine feeling on my part
I am conscious of a tendency to shift to other shoulder burdens that are clearly my own
I want to be better in the quality of my religious experience:
I want to develop an honest and clear prayer life
I want to develop a sensitiveness to the will of God in my own life.
I want to develop a charitableness towards my my fellows that is far greater than even my most exaggerated pretensions.
I WANT TO BE BETTER THAN I AM
I lay bare this need and this desire before God in the quietness of this moment
Today I am proud to be an American. I am proud to live in country that now has it’s first Black President, the son of an immigrant, it’s First Lady, the Grand Daughter of Slaves, it’s Vice President the First Catholic Vice President, A Former First Lady soon to be Secretary of State. I am so proud.
But more importantly I am proud because Our President and Vice President, Secretary of State not only campaigned on change, but hit the ground running. They change started well before taking office. During the transition, they moved forward, addressing issues, building bridges, reaching out in every arena to bring us all together. They did not promise a rose garden, but they promised to do their best to turn things around. To end what was not working and to create more that would work.
The Obama Presidency starts off facing a lot of issues, but the counrty has hope. I have hope. i beleive that times will improve, that we will become the America that we dreamed off. i finally see a real chance for Dr. King’s dream, Obama’s dream and I feel blessed.
How do you feel on this Historic Day?