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Lourdes A place of Christian pilgrimage A place of miracles? Write the title “Lourdes” in your book with today’s date.
Lourdes, Southern France • Lourdes is a place in the South of France. • Many Christians go on pilgrimage to Lourdes. • Many sick people have been helped or even cured by their visit. • It’s a place of pilgrimage because Mary appeared there several times. • She appeared to a girl named Bernadette in 1858.
Bernadette’s Story Bernadette Soubirous was born in Lourdes, Southern France. On 11 th February 1858, when she was 14 years old, she went for a walk with her sister and a friend to collect firewood. When they came to the river, Bernadette (who was very ill) did not cross with the two girls, as she did not want to get cold and wet. While she was waiting by herself she heard a noise like a gust of wind and when she looked up at the cave, she saw a lady standing in the niche just above the cave entrance. The lady was dressed in white, with a blue sash round her waist and she had a rosary over her arm. When the sister and friend returned they did not believe Bernadette’s account of the vision she had seen.
Mary appeared to Bernadette several times, but no one else could see the vision. One day she was told by the lady to drink and wash in the water from the spring at the cave; she had to scratch in the ground, for there was little water. However, before the day was ended, what had at first been a tiny trickle, became a stream pouring out into the river.
Even the priest, did not believe Bernadette’s story. One day he asked her to ask the lady her name, which Bernadette duly did; the lady replied, ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’, meaning she (Mary, mother of Jesus) was born without original sin. As Bernadette was uneducated and did not understand what the lady had said to her, the priest knew that Bernadette could not have made the whole thing up. In total Mary appeared to Bernadette 18 times. Today a marble statue of the lady stands in the niche above the cave (in the same place that Bernadette had the visions of her). Pilgrimages and also some healings continue to this day with thousands of people visiting the area each year.
Summary • Summarise the story of Bernadette at Lourdes. • What made the priest believe Bernadette? • Some people say her story is unreliable. Why might this be? • Many people feel strengthened by their visit, even if they don’t receive a cure; why do you think this is? Be sure to answer in full sentences so that what you write makes sense when you read it back to yourself later.
Name and place Illness Age and date of cure Recognised Mrs LATAPIE Catherine: France Ulnar Paralysis due to traumatic elongation of the brachial plexus for 18 months ~38 years old 1 -3 -1858 18 -1 -1862 Mr. BOURIETTE, Louis: France 20 year old injury to the right eye with blindness for 2 years 54 years old 1858 March 18 -1 -1862 Mrs. CAZENAVE, Blaisette: France Chemosis or chronic conjunctivis with ectropion for 3 years ~50 years old 1858 March 18 -1 -1862 Mr. BUSQUET Henri: France Fistular adenitis of the base of the neck (undoubtedly Tubercular) for 15 months ~15 years old 1858 28 -4 – 18 -1 -1862 Mr. Bouhort Justin: France Chronic post-infective malnutrition with retarded motor development. Diagnosis at the time: “consumption” 2 years old 6 -7 -1858 18 -1 -1862 Mrs. RIZAN Madeleine: France Left hemiplegia for 24 years ~ 58 years old 1858 17 -10 - 18 -1 -1862 Miss MOREAU Marie: France Major diminution of vision with inflammatory lesions especially of the right eye, progressing over 10 months ~17 years old 9 -11 -1858 18 -1 -1862 Brother SCHWAGER Léo: Switzerland Multiple sclerosis for five years 28 years old 30 -4 -1952 18 -12 -1960 Mrs. COUTEAULT Alice: France Multiple sclerosis for three years 34 years old 15 -5 -1952 16 -7 -1956 Miss BIGOT Marie: France Arachnoiditis of posterior fossa (blindness, deafness, hemiplegia) 31 years old 32 years ol 1954 8 -10 -1953 10 -10 - 15 -8 -1956 Mrs NOUVEL Ginette: France Budd-Chiari disease (supra-hepatic venous thrombosis 26 years old 21 -9 -1954 31 -5 -1963 Miss ALOI Elisa: Italy Tubercular osteo-arthritis with fistulae at multiple sites in the right lower limb 27 years old 5 -6 -1958 26 -5 -1965 Miss TAMBURINI Juliette: France Femoral osteoperiostitis with fistulae, epistaxis, for ten years 22 years old 17 -7 -1959 11 -5 -1965 Mr. MICHELI Vittorio: Italy Sarcoma of pelvis 23 years old 1 -6 -1963 25 -6 -1976 Mr. PERRIN Serge: France Recurrent right hemiplegia, with ocular lesions, due to bilateral carotid artery disorders 41 years old 1 -5 -1970 17 -6 -1978 Miss CIROLLI Delizia: Italy Ewing’s Sarcoma of right knee 12 years old 1976 24 -12 - 28 -6 -1989 Which of these are convincing and which are not? Write down a few examples and explain.
Miracles Case Study Jean-Pierre Bely Make a note of this subtitle and date in your book.
Multiple Sclerosis • This is a chronic (long-lasting and progressive) disease • It’s commonly diagnosed in young adults (but it can start anywhere between 15 – 50) • It disrupts the messages between the brain, spinal cord, and the rest of the body • This leads to problems with movement and vision as well as pain
Note down 3 symptoms of MS from the following slide. What can be done for sufferers?
Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis • Blurred or double vision • Red-green colour distortion • Potential blindness in one eye • Muscle weakness in the extremities • Problems with coordination and balance • Pain or loss of feeling • Lack of concentration, attention, memory and judgement
Who suffers and what can be done? • Women are more likely to develop MS than men. • It’s slightly more likely to develop if close relatives have the disease. • It’s possible that attacks may be triggered by a virus. • Treatments such as steroids will temporarily help with the symptoms. • However, there’s no known cure.
How are miracles at Lourdes verified? What do the Catholic Church classify as a miracle?
Miracles at Lourdes, France • Many miracles have been reported at Lourdes. • All miracles must be investigated by the Lourdes Medical Office and the Lourdes International Medical Committee. • ‘It must be a sudden and permanent recovery from a terminal disease that has resisted all previous treatment. ’
Note down some key facts about the following case study… Is this an example of a miracle or not? Yes because… No because…
Jean-Pierre Bély… • Jean-Pierre Bely was a 51 years old, married father of 2 when he received a miraculous cure at Lourdes. • He was an anaesthesia and intensive-care nurse. • In 1972 he began to suffer growing neurological incapacity, which was eventually diagnosed as a severe form of multiple sclerosis. • By 1984 he was walking with a cane; by 1985 he required a wheelchair. • 2 years later, he was bedridden and needed looking after.
Jean-Pierre Bély… • Jean-Pierre Bely went on pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1987. • He received the Sacrament of the Sick on October 9 th. • He was suddenly overcome by a powerful sense of interior liberation and peace. • The following night, he woke up suddenly and found he could walk for the first time since 1984. • Bely travelled to the station in his wheelchair, so as not to appear different from his "companions in sickness“.
A miraculous experience "I was lying in the sickroom, lying on the bed and felt terribly cold like an intense chill in my bones. But slowly it got warmer and warmer until it felt like a fire burning through the whole of my body. I was overwhelmed by it. I heard this voice, like an order, 'Get up and walk!'. And then, all of a sudden, I don't know how, I found myself sitting up on the bed - my legs dangling over the edge and I started to touch the back of my hands. I realised I regained mobility and sensitivity in my spine and shoulders, which had been blocked for years. They were normal. In fact, you could say that I'd found normality again. "
Jean-Pierre Bély… • He had regained complete use of his physical faculties, and the medical reports showed no trace of illness. • He has since been seen annually by doctors, his neurologist, and the head of the Department of Neurology of the University Hospital of Poitiers. • Bishop of Angulema, Claude Dagens, wrote: "In the name of the Church, I publicly recognize the authentic character of the cure that Mr. Jean-Pierre Bely received in Lourdes on October 9, 1987. This immediate and complete cure is a personal gift of God to this person and an effective sign of Christ the Saviour through the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes. "
The Outcomes of his Claims • He is only the 66 th person whose claims have been approved by the Catholic hierarchy. • It took 12 years to investigate his case.
What the sceptics say… • Bertrand Fontaine (a neurologist in Paris) points out that MS sufferers: "sometimes people have long periods of remission", and scoffed at "talk about miraculous cures“. • Bertrand Fontaine also said: "While spiritual strength can help a patient to overcome a serious illness, it cannot make an infection or a tumour disappear, nor, in the case of multiple sclerosis, can it repair the damage to the medullary sheaths that the disease attacks. ”
How do you explain this healing? Write a paragraph explaining how you think this man received his healing?
“There is no such thing as a miracle” • This is a Part E essay homework due in two weeks time. • Talk about what a miracle is in your intro. • Make sure you include information on why some people might agree (include examples). • Also discuss why people may disagree. • Conclude with your own opinion. • As always there’s help on my website…