At Daily Mass, Father Avelino described how he made a pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1998 to pray for help in discerning his vocation to the priesthood. As he lay down in the water, he committed himself to the church in a second baptism. Then during the 150 anniversary year in 2008, he celebrated Mass in Our Lady's Chapel.
I heard this whole homily while pacing in the back with baby Maria. I remembered my prayer to Our Lady on Dec 31, 1999 and how it ended with a rich family life and a wiggly baby in my arms. It's unbelievable there are so many "taps" into the priesthood, religious life, and married life in the late 1990s. It makes me think the church is ready for a new springtime in Faith.
Then we had a simple Our Lady of Lourdes Tea with a new friends from our parish. Marissa came over with two of her four girls. We had pretzel sticks for St. Bernadette's "wood" and flower butter cookies for the yellow roses on Our Lady's feet.
Last year we shared this feast day with Maria from Ordinary Time and she shared with us her visit to see the uncorrupted body of St. Bernadette at Nevers. This year our guest Marissa shared with us the impact of seeing a real miracle happen at Lourdes.
Here's Marissa's story: "we saw this severely disabled boy get plunged in the water and come out saying "Mama." You could tell by the families reaction that they had never heard their son speak before. Then this group of priest came out and ushered the family into a quiet chapel to deal with this miracle. They were all organized about it, you could that sort of thing happened all the time."
I loved Marissa's observation that these miracles happen all the time at Lourdes. There are priests just "hanging out" by the fountain--ready to to help you deal the amazing miracle of your kid talking for the first time in ten years. What wonderful gifts of Faith our guests bring!
This year I'm reading "Bernadette Speaks: A Life of Saint Bernadette Soubrous in Her Own Words" by Rene Laurentin. This is a rigorous history done by a priest published by the Pauline Sisters. Reading this book feeds by brain and my heart.
If you haven't seen "Bernadette" by French filmmaker Jean Delannoy, rent it from Netflix. This is the movie that made this vision come alive for me. Jon & I saw so much of ourselves in the less than perfect Soubirous parents. I love it when Louise Sourbirous points to the mildewed walls of the family home & shouts "All this trouble and now this! My daughter is now seeing things and going crazy in her mind!" That would probably be my first response to my daughter informing me that she's been the recipient of the incredible gift of a Holy Vision of the Mother of God. The Soubirous are a real inspiration that all parents can work with God's Will to make their children into Saints.