The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
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The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is an area of ground surrounding the shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes in the town of Lourdes, France. This ground is owned and administrated by the Roman Catholic Church, and has several functions, including devotional activities, offices, and accommodation for sick pilgrims and their helpers.
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LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Domain includes the Grotto itself, the nearby taps which dispense the Lourdes water, and the offices of the Lourdes Medical Bureau, as well as several churches and basilicas. It comprises an area of 51 hectares, and includes 22 separate places of worship. There are six official languages of the Sanctuary: French, English, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and German.
This Sanctuary was created and remains dedicated to pilgrims who travel to Lourdes.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is founded on the area where the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin appeared to a poor, fourteen-year-old girl, Bernadette Soubiroux. There were eighteen apparitions in all, with the first occurring in February of 1858 and the last occurring in July of the same year.
On one 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 hollow. At first, the clergy were incredulous. It was only four years later, in 1862, that the bishop of the diocese declared the faithful "justified in believing the reality of the apparition."
A basilica was built upon the rock of Massabielle and 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 Feb. 11.
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