This feast commemorates the appearances of Our Lady to Bernadette Soubiroux in France. While out collecting firewood with friends, Bernadette saw a lady she describes as being more lovely than she had ever seen. The Lady Bernadette saw in the hollow of the rock at Massabielle was clothed in white with a blue sash and a rosary hanging from her arm. After one of the apparitions, the Lady said to Bernadette: "I am the Immaculate Conception." Although the young girl did not know what this meant, the Pope declared the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in 1854.
Countless people have made and continue to make the pilgrimage to Lourdes in faith for healing. Some receive physical healing, some receive spiritual healing.
The meditation for today in Magnificat tells the story of Zelie Martin, mother of Therese of Liseux. She had made the pilgrimage to Lourdes in the hope of being healed of her ailments. When she returned home and realized that this was not to be God's will, she prayed to Our Lady for her daughters, that Our Lady would protect and watch over them. This our Blessed Mother and Our Lord surely did for each of those young girls would enter the convent where they would devote their lives to prayer and service to Christ.
May mothers today pray for their own children as Zelie Martin did for hers. Our Blessed Mother will receive those prayers into her maternal heart and take them to her Son who will refuse her nothing.