On February 11th, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. On that day 165 years ago, the Virgin Mary appeared to a fourteen year old French peasant girl, Saint Bernadette Soubirous. From February 11th to July 16th, the Blessed Mother appeared to Bernadette eighteen times.
The apparitions were only seen by Bernadette, so much scrutiny took place. After many healings, apparent strange behavior by Bernadetter (she was told to eat weeds for penance), and muddy waters turning clear, it still took four years of investigation. The Lady in white would not say her name, but after Bernadetter was told to ask, she finally declared she was the Immaculate Conception. Bernadette was uneducated and didn’t understand this, but when she repeated this to the priest, he was astonished. In 1862, the local bishop finally declared the appearances and miracles official.
Over the years, many have pilgrimed to the waters at Lourdes to be healed. Directors Thierry Demaizère and Alban Teurlai were amazed that no film had yet been made to recount the miracles and tell the story of Bernadette and the Lady she saw. They got to work immediately and have put together a production telling the story of pilgrims and their journeys to Lourdes.
The movie is playing at local theaters on Wednesday night, February 8th, in theaters around the US in French with English subtitles. On February 9th, it will be shown in Spanish with English subtitles. The film features devout Catholic Dr. Alessandro de Franciscis, a practicing physician of over 40 years and President of the Lourdes Office of Medical Observations since 2009, who has overseen and verified many healings.
“While only 70 cases to date have been declared miraculous by the church, more than 7,000 cases of unexplained cures have been investigated medically and scientifically. There is a vulnerable human person behind every one of these cases, and Lourdes fixes its gaze at some of these remarkable stories,” noted Dr. de Franciscis. “In the face of such suffering in terms of sickness, handicap, and deformity, audiences will see that there is also joy. The liturgies and daily processions at Lourdes are signs of this and of our communion as Catholics, as disciples of Jesus and common sons and daughters of his Mother.”
To find local theaters showing Lourdes, brought to you by Fathom Events, click here. Even if you can’t attend a showing, promote the film on your own social media channels. Flooding the secular theaters with Catholic movie-goers seeing Catholic films sends a strong message, one this world desperately needs heard. We are sinners. The world is full of sin. We must repent and turn back to the Lord before it is too late. If the Lord called for penance back in 1858, how much more must He be calling for it now?