In 1858 the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France. Bernadette was instructed to dig, a stream of water miraculously appeared, and is claimed to have …healing powers. Many of the sick come from around to world in hopes of having incurable ailments cured. Many cures are documented, there is a hospital there. For more in formation: Go to you tube and type in "Lourdes: Miracle City - France" for some really good information. I'm using it for my assessment :) In 1858 a girl called Bernadette Soubirous saw Our Lady 18 times. She is now known as Saint Bernadette. Since that time millions of people have come to visit the site at which the apparitions happened. See the related link below to another question for some more information. .
Lourdes is a place of pilgrimage today because of Saint Bernadette seeing and speaking to the Virgin Mary there. Many religious experiences have taken place there and people have said to be cured by the water at Lourdes. This is a special place for Catholics. Lourdes is a place of pilgrimage because in 1858, a local village girl Bernadette Soubirous claimed to have seen visions of the Virgin Mary in a grotto near the village. A spring that subsequently gushed from the cave was said to have healing properties. Lourdes soon became a place for pilgrimage for many Catholics in the surrounding areas both for prayer and for healing in the waters. Nowadays, Lourdes is a town that is much larger. I visited Lourdes a couple of years ago partly as a holidaymaker and partly as a pilgrim, despite not being a Catholic (but still a Christian). However, nowadays Christians of all denominations descend on the town to make a pilgrimage to the grotto. The town, however, is quite horrid. Every other shop is a souvenir shop devoted to cheap plastic effigies of the Virgin Mary or other tourist tat. It is reminiscent of the traders in the Temple that Jesus drove out. However, if you can get past all this commercialism, the area surrounding the Basilica and the grotto is very different. Immediately one feels in a special place, where commercialism is left behind and instead prayer and worship happen round the clock, and where there is a real feel of God's presence and peace. Whatever the origins of the apparition of Mary the place is still very special and worthy of its place as one of the great centres for pilgrimage. As for the healing properties of the water, thousands go there every year, and, whilst not all are cured physically, invariably spiritual healing takes place. However, despite the lack of a high percentage of cures, there are many hundreds each year whose recoveries cannot be explained by normal medical science. (MORE)