On this day in history, February 11, 1858, Our Lady of Lourdes first appears to St. Bernadette Soubirous

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The first of 18 apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes to St. Bernadette Soubirous successful Lourdes, France, happened connected this time successful history, Feb. 11, 1858. 

Soubirous, past a sickly 14-year-old peasant woman surviving successful poorness successful nan small municipality of Lourdes, was hunting for firewood adjacent nan Grotto of Massabielle erstwhile she heard a sound she described arsenic "like a gust of wind," according to nan website for nan Lourdes Shrine.  

Turning toward nan grotto, Soubirous saw a imagination of a "young lady," nan website besides says.

Not knowing who nan woman was, aliases if she was moreover demonic successful nature, Soubirous asked nan friends she was pinch if they had seen something. They said they did not, nan website for nan shrine says. 

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Soubirous knelt and prayed nan rosary, according to nan website.

In her written relationship of nan first apparition, "Les Ecrits de Sainte Bernadette et sa voie spirituelle," Soubirous described nan fig she saw arsenic a female "dressed successful a achromatic robe, girded astatine nan waist pinch a bluish ribbon."

She continued, "She wore upon her caput a achromatic veil, which gave conscionable a glimpse of hair. Her feet were bare but covered by nan past folds of her clothes and a yellowish roseate was upon each of them."

She added, "She held connected her correct limb a rosary of achromatic beads pinch a concatenation of golden sparkling for illustration nan 2 roses connected her feet." 

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The "young lady" vanished erstwhile Soubirous vanished nan rosary, she wrote. 

Soubirous initially doubted what she had seen, writing, "I thought I had been mistaken." 

"But arsenic we went, each nan way, they kept asking maine what I had seen. I did not want to show them. Seeing that they kept connected asking I decided to show them, connected information that they would show nobody. They promised not to tell," wrote Soubirous. 

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That promise, however, was quickly broken: Soubirous wrote that "as soon arsenic they arrived location they hastened to opportunity that I had seen a woman dressed successful white." 

At first, nan communicative by Soubirous was not believed by section authorities, though word of nan events dispersed passim nan region, according to Catholic Online. 

Many group believed she was mentally ill, while others believed she was experiencing thing supernatural — and possibly demonic. 

The apparitions continued, pinch Soubirious reporting that "the lady" said to her starting pinch nan 3rd apparition, but still had not revealed her name. 

On Feb. 25, 1858, "the lady" told Soubirous to "go and portion astatine nan outpouring and lavation myself," she wrote.

As location was nary outpouring astatine that location, Soubirous initially went to different location earlier "the lady" redirected her to a stone successful nan grotto.

"I went, and I recovered a puddle of water, which was much for illustration mud, and nan amount was truthful mini that I could hardly stitchery a small successful nan hollow of my hand," she wrote. 

"Nevertheless, I obeyed, and started scratching nan ground; aft doing that I was capable to return some. The h2o was truthful soiled that 3 times I threw it away. The 4th clip I was capable to portion it." 

The h2o from that spring, which is still flowing today, quickly became known for miraculous healing. Three days aft nan outpouring appeared, a female named Catherine Latapie felt compelled to travel to Lourdes to lavation her paralyzed manus successful its waters. 

Her paralysis was reportedly instantly cured, says nan Lourdes shrine website. 

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"The lady" requested Soubirious inquire that "a chapel should beryllium built and a convoy formed," says Catholic Online. 

That petition was initially rebuffed; yet building began connected what is now known arsenic nan Basilica of nan Immaculate Conception successful 1871. 

The Lourdes sanctuary is now location to 22 places of worship, including 3 abstracted basilicas. Mass is said an estimated 10,000 times each twelvemonth astatine nan Lourdes sanctuary, says nan shrine's website. 

It was not until nan third-to-last apparition, connected March 25, 1858, that authority figures began to judge Soubirous' stories.

On that day, Soubirous wrote, she visited nan grotto, but was still uncertain arsenic to who "the lady" really was; passim nan visions, "the lady" many times refused to show nan young woman her name. 

"With her arms down, she raised her eyes to eden and then, folding her hands complete her breast, she said, ‘I americium nan Immaculate Conception,'" wrote Soubirous. 

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Soubirious told a section leader what she'd heard from "the lady," and that she had repeated nan building "Immaculate Conception" to herself connected her measurement location truthful that she would not hide it.

Pope Pius IX had defined nan dogma of nan Virgin Mary arsenic nan "Immaculate Conception" a small little than 4 years anterior to nan apparitions. Soubirous, who was uneducated, would person had nary measurement of knowing astir this comparatively obscure dogma, says nan Lourdes shrine website. 

Following nan apparitions, Soubirous underwent a bid of investigations and was recovered to beryllium telling nan truth, says Catholic Online. 

In 1862, Pope Pius IX declared nan visions to beryllium "authentic."

Soubirous, uncomfortable pinch nan attraction she was receiving, entered nan Sisters of Charity arsenic a novice successful 1866. 

She died connected April 16, 1879, astatine property 35 and was canonized successful 1933, notes Britannica. 

Since 1858, nan Lourdes Medical Bureau has verified 70 cures arsenic "miraculous" successful quality and unexplained by science. 

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Thousands much group person reported healings from Lourdes, notes nan Lourdes website. 

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims recreation each twelvemonth to Lourdes seeking immoderate shape of healing, making it 1 of nan most-visited visit sites successful France, says recreation website TheTravel. 

In May 1992, St. Pope John Paul II declared Feb. 11 to beryllium "World Day of nan Sick." 

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