February 11 is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, which celebrates the first appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Saint Bernadette Soubirous. Over the course of five months, the Mother of God appeared to Saint Bernadette 18 times, declaring, on one visit, that "I am the Immaculate Conception!" On another, she told Saint Bernadette to drink from a fountain, which instantly appeared in the grotto where the apparitions took place. For over a century and a half, pilgrims to Lourdes have been miraculously healed by contact with the fountain's waters.
Traditionally, the Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes is prayed in the days leading up to the feast, starting on February 2. You can receive a daily reminder e-mail, with the prayers for each day of the novena, by signing up here.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!
(Statues of Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Bernadette Soubirous in the Lourdes Grotto, Saint Mary Oratory, Rockford, IL. Photo © Scott P. Richert)