|Lourdes South West France|
||Thursday 11th. February 1858 : the meeting
Lourdes is a little town of 15,300 inhabitants situated at the foot of the Pyrenees in the South West of France, and dominated by its castle. Each year more than five million people, of whom a great number are sick or handicapped, come to Lourdes, from every country of the world. It may be through curiosity, through a desire for a physical cure, in a movement towards belief, or to be of service to those who suffer. Each have their own reasons for visiting the Grotto of Massabielle.
Since the very beginning, a young girl of 14 years, Bernadette Soubirous, who, from the first meetings with the Virgin Mary at the Rock of Massabielle, drew with her crowds, and these crowds continue to-day in even greater numbers.
During the 18 Apparitions which lasted from Feb 21st to July 16th 1858, the Virgin Mary spoke to Bernadette, suggesting that we come here. The response of everyone of us to that invitation is made in Lourdes to-day, a Town of Friendship, world centre of pilgrimage, a special place of meeting with God and people.