Our Lady of Lourdes, ‘Patroness of the Sick’

History and Prayer for Her Intercession

Patroness of the Sick

Father Salvador Espinoza offers this article on Our Lady of Lourdes, “Patroness of the Sick,” whose feast is celebrated today, February 11.

Today we celebrate Mary under the title Virgin of Lourdes, “Patroness of the Sick.” Every day of the year, pilgrims go to pray with faith to the Virgin of Lourdes, so that She will intercede before God for a miracle of healing, especially if it concerns their physical, mental, or spiritual health. Other pilgrims go in faith in search of existential answers in their lives.  There are people who go to enjoy religious tourism. And there are people who profess openly that they are atheists or agnostics. They go to Lourdes to verify for themselves, the veracity of such miracles. In some cases, there are conversions.

There is a great diversity of pilgrims, who come to the Lourdes Shrine from different parts of the world. All of them are given spiritual and religious care, with Masses in different languages, candlelit processions within a processional liturgy before afternoon-night worship. Special help is provided for people who want to be cured with “the water that springs from the grotto,” the place where the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette. For me, the visit to the Virgin of Lourdes was an unforgettable religious experience. It changes some people’s lives forever, as God works miracles through the intercession of the Virgin Mary.

We cannot forget the testimony of many Religious Congregations, who had the Virgin of Lourdes as Patroness and model of life. Many laypeople, priests, Religious and Ecclesial Communities go on pilgrimage there with much faith to have a religious experience with community prayer.

God touches the hearts of those that let themselves be guided by the Lord (Ezekiel 11:19-20), through the intercession of Mary as Virgin of Lourdes. Many people, who look after the sick and the elderly, say that many miracles have occurred while experiencing the faith and praying in Lourdes. And many people, unable to be physically present in Lourdes, have entrusted themselves to the Virgin Mary and, thanks to God’s mercy, their life changed.

A Bit of History

 In 1858, the Virgin appeared in the Massabielle Grotto of Lourdes, France to Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879)  humble, illiterate girl. She had the task, along with her sisters, of collecting wood for their home.

One morning, on the banks of the Gave de Pau river, as Bernadette was looking for wood, the Virgin Mary chose her to be Her messenger. She entrusted several things to her, as well as secrets, and introduced Herself as “the Immaculate Conception,” asking Bernadette, among other things, to build a Shrine there and to undertake a procession.

The Virgin also asked the young girl to pray for people’s conversion and the forgiveness of their sins. In one of the 18 apparitions, the Virgin Mary asked Bernadette to wash and drink the water of the stream, and to eat the grass of that place to be cured of her ailments. The girl did as she was asked.

While digging in the Grotto, a spring arose (since then that place has become holy and miraculous) and over time it has become a place of pilgrimage. Erected there was the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes.

However, as in all the Virgin’s apparitions, the truth of the apparitions was questioned, as well as Bernadette. Several Commissions were established to confirm the miracles. This went on until the Bishop of Tarbes (18/01/1968) confirmed that Bernadette was telling the truth. What moved him especially was that a young illiterate girl could pronounce Mary’s title as Mary introduced Herself: “I am the Immaculate Conception” (three years before the proclamation of this Dogma on Mary).

Prayer of Intercession to Our Lady of Lourdes for the Cure of the Sick

 Oh most kind Virgin of Lourdes, Mother of God and our Mother!

Full of affliction and with tears flowing from our eyes,

We come to your maternal heart in the bitter hours of sickness.

To ask you to shed fully

The treasure of your mercy upon us.


Because of our sins, we are unworthy that You should listen to us,

But remember that never was it said

That anyone who fled to you was abandoned.


Tender Mother! Kind Mother! Sweetest Mother!

As God works numberless cures through your hands in the prodigious Grotto of Lourdes,

Healing the pain of so many victims,

Cast a gaze of blessing on our poor sick . . . (mention the name).

Obtain for him from your Divine Son  Jesus Christ the desired heath,

If I is for the greater glory of God.


However, much more than that, obtain for all the forgiveness of our sins,

Patience and resignation in our sufferings and, above all, a great and eternal love for our God,

Prisoner for us in the Tabernacles. Amen.


Virgin of Lourdes, pray for us.

Consolation of the afflicted, pray for us.

Health of the sick, pray for us.


Pray three Hail Marys.


Translation by Virginia M. Forrester