In January 1858, a young girl was gathering firewood along the Gave de Pau River in southwestern France. When she sat down near a rocky outcropping to take her stockings off, she saw a mysterious lady “dressed in white with a blue belt and a yellow rose on each foot.” This was the first of eighteen times that the girl would see the mystery woman. Two months after that first encounter, the lady told the girl, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Thus began the story of St. Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes.
It is a key doctrine of the Church that Mary was conceived immaculately—that is, free from the stain of original sin. But that doesn’t...
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