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Pope recalls Lourdes apparitions in message for World Day of the Sick

December 15, 2016

A text from the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Magnificat—“the Almighty has done great things for me”—provides the theme of Pope Francis’s message for the 25th World Day of the Sick, which will take place next February 11, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes.

In the message, the Pope reflected on the apparitions at Lourdes, France, in 1858 and life of St. Bernardette Soubirous.

“Even now, I am spiritually present at the grotto of Massabielle, before the statue of the Immaculate Virgin, in whom the Almighty has done great things for the redemption of mankind,” Pope Francis wrote in his message, which was dated December 8 and released December 15.

“Like Saint Bernadette, we stand beneath the watchful gaze of Mary,” he continued. “The Lovely Lady spoke to her with great respect and without condescension. This reminds us that every person is, and always remains, a human being, and is to be treated as such. The sick and those who are disabled, even severely, have their own inalienable dignity and mission in life.”

“The fact that the Lovely Lady asked her to pray for sinners reminds us that the infirm and the suffering desire not only to be healed, but also to live a truly Christian life, even to the point of offering it as authentic missionary disciples of Christ,” Pope Francis said, adding:

Mary gave Bernadette the vocation of serving the sick and called her to become a Sister of Charity, a mission that she carried out in so exemplary a way as to become a model for every healthcare worker. Let us ask Mary Immaculate for the grace always to relate to the sick as persons who certainly need assistance, at times even for the simplest of things, but who have a gift of their own to share with others.


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