Mary, the Virgin Mary. The Mother of Jesus, Mary.
She seems to be more popular with Catholics than with other religious organizations. I am not sure why this is. Catholics seem to give her more credence, than say, Baptists, or Brethrens. Maybe the Catholic Religion has a higher regard for Mothers? I don’t know.
At any rate, for the past 600 years or so, people, namely Catholics, have been seeing her. All around the globe. Not statues, or paintings. Although this is true too. But no, they have actually had sightings. Apparitions. The appearance of something-remarkable-or-unexpected-apparitions.
One of the most famous, the Lady of Lourdes, happened on this date, back in 1858. On that day “a petite damsel” spoke to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous . This happened in a specific grotto about a mile from the southern French town of Lourdes. In France. Mary appeared 17 further times at that very spot. To Bernadette, and others. She revealed herself as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. During the course of these visits, she asked that a chapel be built on that spot.
Mary, then, also showed a spring to Bernadette. And she told the good people that they should drink from and wash in it. These days, thousands upon thousands of people make the pilgrimage to the site. They go to pray, or to connect. Some hope to see Mary. And then others have claimed to have been cured by the water there. In fact, the Lourdes Bureau Médical has documented around 70 miraculous healings at the site. (By the way, the town of Lourdes does not make money from the water. It is free of charge. Although Lourdes now is a major pilgrimage site, and has more hotel rooms than any other place in France, with the exception of Paris.) Good Lourdes, you might say.
At any rate. In 1933, little Bernadette was Canonized by the Catholic Church. Well. Not so little. She was completely dead by that point.
When I was reminded of all this, I thought I would list here, all the “sightings” of Mary that are accredited by the Catholic Church. Recognized as being “true” sightings of Mary. Now this is a big dang deal. The Pope doesn’t just sign a paper. Although, eventually he does. He signs lots of papers. With his Papal Pen.
Anyway. The Vatican sends out investigators to prove or debunk a sighting. I mean it. The whole thing is like some police investigation.
So when I looked them up, there were a lot. There wasn’t really one good resource that had them all in a neat little list. But there were many, many, many throughout history that have been “accepted” as true visits from the Mother Mary.
This intrigues me to no end.
And thousands upon thousands of people travel to these places every day, in homage. Albeit, thousands and thousands clamor into raceways and pay good money to watch cars go round and round too.
But I was raised Catholic. Mary played a big part in my life in the early going of things. We prayed the Rosary a lot. Which, for those of you who don’t know, it is a whole bunch of “Hail Marys” said in “decades” – with the Lord’s Prayer, and a Glory Be at either end. The Hail Marys are sandwiched in-between. We used Rosary Beads to help us keep count. But saying the Rosary is supposed to help us. All of us.
And I guess there is really only good in that. It wasn’t condemning anyone. It wasn’t passing judgement. In fact, we would invite anyone to pray it with us. It was calling on the Spirit Energy of an Extremely Powerful Woman who gave birth to Jesus Christ. And. It was merely asking for help. Not only for ourselves, but for everyone.
As time spent, it probably makes better sense than a lot of other things we do. Even if Mary doesn’t show up in an apparition. She may really be there. And who are we to know?
“All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
― Soren Kierkegaard
“I believe in intuitions and inspirations…I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am.”
― Albert Einstein