Lourdes: The Veil Is Thin


We took the night train from Paris and rumbled south through the countryside until we arrived in Lourdes just as day was breaking. My two friends and I were in the middle of our fall break from classes at the University of Dallas campus in Rome. When we walked out of the train station, I really didn’t know what I’d see or even, to be honest, what this whole Lourdes thing was all about. I’d just become Catholic a few months before moving to Rome. Most of what I knew about St. Bernadette and the miracles at Lourdes had come from watching the movie, “The Song of Bernadette” (Note: I still love this movie and highly recommend it). We found a room at a little hotel near the train station and had breakfast. Then we walked the few blocks to the Shrine.

Lourdes is a small village in the mountains…

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About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
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21 Responses to Lourdes: The Veil Is Thin

  1. I was given the grace to return to the practice of the Faith in the 1980’s beginning with a trip to Lourdes with a friend who suspected he had a fatal illness. My reversion began by purchasing and carrying a rosary in my pocket. After some time I began to pray a decade now and then and later the entire rosary daily. After one and one half years I was determined to be an orthodox revert. This took nearly a year of searching and discerning which priests to trust since the Catechism of the Catholic Church did not exist and there were heretical Catechisms being circulated.

  2. toadspittle says:

    “We had all come to this place out of our need for God. All of us wanted healing. All of us wanted to be touched by heaven.”
    And all of us found what we came expecting to find.
    …And why not?
    Does no harm.
    We can all dream.
    Anyway, maybe it’s all true. Who knows?

  3. johnhenrycn says:

    About 5 years ago, our parish C.E. director, Sister Lorraine S.S.N.D. (RIP) went there with Lou Gehrig, and left there with Lou Gehrig; but she never considered her pilgrimage there with Lou Gehrig a last-ditch ‘dream’ of saving her life. I know her thoughts were along the lines of: ‘Thy will be done’.

  4. toadspittle says:

    People travel to Lourdes for a variety of reasons. No doubt some go because the thought of spending another day on earth without a plastic, glow-in-the- dark “statuette” of The Virgin, beside their bed, is intolerable.

  5. Tom Fisher says:

    No doubt some go because the thought of spending another day on earth without a plastic, glow-in-the- dark “statuette” of The Virgin, beside their bed, is intolerable.

    No need for the trip then. The glow in the dark ones are available right here, and ship worldwide:

    As cheap as $39.99 US

  6. Tom Fisher says:

    But I suspect nobody has ever gone just for that reason

  7. kathleen says:

    Quite right Tom!
    Catholics travel to Lourdes because they recognise that this little mountain village was truly visited by Mary, Mother of God, to a simple shepherdess, St Bernadette, conveying messages from Heaven and the affirmation of the recently declared dogma of the Church, that she is indeed the Immaculate Conception. They want to wash in the miraculous spring that brings healing for their bodies and souls. Even if the physical cures – thousands of them (though only a fraction of these have been officially documented) – are of lesser importance than the spiritual ones.
    Not many will come away from Lourdes untouched by its beauty and blessings, or unmoved by the faith and devotion found there among the endless streams of pilgrims. Although there will always be those who care only to criticise and to find fault with the many gift shops offering souvenirs.

    By the way, the photo chosen by “tiberjudy” to illustrate this post is rather unfortunate; it appears to be of the grotto of Lourdes when it was flooded out, either in October 2012 or June 2013!!

  8. toadspittle says:

    True enough. The gift shops are faultless.

  9. Michael says:

    On the topic of Lourdes (to which I have, unfortunately, never been), there is an excellent book by Robert Hugh Benson (author of the dystopian novel ‘Lord of the World’), where he describes his experience of visiting the shrine very soon after his conversion to Catholicism. Its a powerful testimony of the effect Lourdes can have on people, as he leaves behind a very honest record of his original snobbery and hesitation to believe in the miracles there, as well as the feeling he had at the end of the visit that his appreciation of the role of Our Lady and the power of her intercession was greatly deepened. The book is simply entitled ‘Lourdes’ and is often published in one volume with ‘The Paradoxes of Catholicism’ (also worth a read).

  10. Michael says:

    P.S. I just found a couple of online copies of it too (the second breaks it down into the individual chapters, so it is a bit easier to read on screen):



  11. Some people with true devotion happen to have bad taste in art or little cash to afford great art. Fortunately, bad taste is not a sin, and true devotion to Our Lady fosters true love and obedience to God who alone can give us Eternal Life in heaven.

  12. johnhenrycn says:

    No time to read it now, Michael, but thank you for the second link, which is easier to read, and I will. Actually, something like that, I will probably print and put in a binder.

  13. johnhenrycn says:

    … because I think about the destruction of valuable online documents, either by reason of sabotage (e.g. electromagnetic pulse) or advances in technology that leave archival materials unreadable.

  14. Tom Fisher says:

    I will probably print and put in a binder

    That sounds like a good system. I used to do that when I still bought magazines and periodicals in hard copy. I’ve got hundreds of docs. saved on my computer, but I almost never refer to them. I don’t know about you but I can’t read from a screen for an extended period. And I like having full shelves. — Imagine someone comes to your home and points at the ‘memory-stick’ sitting on an empty table, ‘what’s that’?. My entire book collection – depressing!

  15. toadspittle says:

    Pointless musing whether Lourdes, Fatima, and the like are “good” or not.
    They are here and they aren’t going away. But opponents of the Church will, and do – point to them and say, “See? That’s the sort of stuff Catholics believe.” But then, they do that with a lot of other things, as well – so maybe it’s no big deal.

  16. kathleen says:

    “See? That’s the sort of stuff Catholics believe.”

    Indeed – and for a very good reason.
    If any non-Catholic were to say that to any true Catholic, it would be a good opening to begin to explain why we believe that Our Blessed Lady really did bring messages from Heaven to Mankind through the little seers, and how this is one more sign that the Catholic Church is the One True Church and only through Her can Man attain salvation. 🙂

    (It also might perhaps be a good idea to point out that not all supposed apparitions of the Mother of God have been affirmed by the Church; there will always be mimics of the true and authentic to confuse and separate.)

  17. Robert says:

    Pilgrimage, Prayer, Penance and Graces. There are unique and especially Graces given by God to those who seek out the ways of Heaven. Lourdes is a place where Heaven touches Earth and it will also always be a battle ground between Hell and Heaven.
    Lourdes “The Immaculate Conception” Without Original Sin and the sight of St Bernadette washing in mud! Adam (means Red Earth).
    Lourdes confirms Adam and Eve, The Fall and Original Sin and precisely when Evolution is surfacing.
    St Francis entire Spirtuality is God the Creator of Heave and Earth and His Creatures. Adam created in the image of Son Of God. Lourdes and The Immaculate Conception!
    Sin an its consequences spiritual sickness.

  18. Michael says:

    I don’t know about you but I can’t read from a screen for an extended period. And I like having full shelves…

    I concur. I still can’t get into the idea of reading from a screen, especially when the text is in one continuous block. Also, it starts to hurt my eyes after a while. Aside from the discomfort though, there is just something about sitting down and holding a book in one’s hands which is, whilst very hard to pinpoint, greatly preferable to ‘e-reading’. I’m always being told that I should update to a Kindle because its so more convenient, efficient, etc, etc, and I find it difficult to get across to people who see such things as key criteria in book-reading why the hard copy still remains the best option.

  19. Michael says:

    I will probably print and put in a binder

    Very good call. I have several printed copies of documents that I wanted to read, but not online, but they are in disarray. A binder is an excellent idea 🙂

  20. toadspittle says:

    But when an interested non-Catholic asks what the messages were, then what?
    “Be good, or bad things will happen to the world,”* is more or less what they boil down to. The non-Catholic might then be justified in saying, “Oh, really? I could have told you that myself -anyone could.”
    And the “false,” mimic, messages are on much the same level as the “true,” ones, it seems.

    *And we weren’t good, so the bad things did happen. In fact, we never are good, so the bad things happen like clockwork. As now.

  21. kathleen says:

    If Our Lady were to give any messages that contradicted, or added anything to that which has already been revealed to Man, and necessary for our salvation (i.e. the Deposit of Faith) that would be a sure sign that the apparition is a hoax. Revelation ‘closed its doors’ after the death of the last Apostle. Everything we need to know – IOW, all the Doctrines and Dogmas of the Catholic Church, contained, and later more clearly explained and defined, in accordance with Her Divine Mandate – we have already been given.

    Our Lady, as our Blessed Mother, who cares about the loss of so many to sin and evil, came to remind us of these vital Teachings (to make sacrifices, penance, prayer, obedience to God’s Divine Law, etc.) and to warn us of the consequences if they are ignored (evil things in this world, e.g. suffering, death, wars, etc., and eventual eternal loss of our souls). She gave certain prophesies if “men continue to offend God”, and these, like WW2, have already come about through the sins of men; others are still ‘pending’!

    Another thing you choose to continue to ignore is that in order that we may believe Mary’s apparitions were genuine in Lourdes, Fatima, Akita and a few other specially chosen places (and hence we should heed her words), Heaven has given us some amazing miracles as proof. Not even the hardened unbelievers and sceptics can explain away ‘the miracle of the sun’ at Fatima (announced months before it took place by the little seers), or the welling up of the hidden miraculous spring at Lourdes, or the weeping statue of Our Lady at Akita.

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