“De Maria numquam satis” ‘It is impossible to ever say enough about Mary,’ they wrote. In 1858, this maternal and merciful inexhaustibility found its mirror in Lourdes; in the first apparition, Our Lady had a Crown Rosary in her hand and prayed it together with Bernadette who joined her. Because, as Pope Francis: recently said “The prayer of the faithful changes the Church”. The heart of the Church is where people pray, not primarily in activism: Lourdes miracles are a sign offered to all of us, people who received the miracle of “true” healing and those who have not.
Certainly Lourdes is a “providential grip”, to which we can cling strengthen our faith, a “doorknob” that also those who have doubts or are in search can hold. Suffice it to think that at the Sanctuary of Lourdes is situated the Bureau des Constatations médicales (Office of medical findings), where doctors of all religious convictions are invited to participate. This office examines cases of alleged miraculous healings that are defined inexplicable according to current scientific knowledge; later, after further assessments, the Catholic Church can affirm its “miraculous” nature.
And there two cases that involve two eminent scientists that give food for thought:
-Alexis Carrel, Nobel Prize winner in medicine, went to Lourdes in 1903 as an agnostic. He went there as a doctor accompanying a train of sick people and converted after he eye witnessed the inexplicable healing of a young terminally ill woman;
-Luc Montagnier, director of the Institute Pasteur, discoverer of the HIV virus, and Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, wrote: “With regard to Lourdes miracles I have studied, I actually think that there is something unexplainable… I cannot explain these miracles, but I recognize that there are cures that are still unknown to current science”.
Considering the huge number of pilgrims, the 69 unexplained and “formalized” healings are rare and the choice criterion of the miracles is inexplicable to human reason: the rich were healed instead of the poor; some of those who had been miraculously healed, later died in a minor accident. It means that those miracles are merely a sign that refers to the real healing offered there not only to a few lucky people, but to everyone. Appearing to the humble visionary Bernadette Soubirous, the Virgin has given us a great message of mercy and salvation for our humanity, echoes of the Gospel for all those who suffer in body and spirit.