Pilgrimage to Lourdes
Lourdes is a town in the south-west of France, at the foot of the Pyrenees. It is famous throughout the world for the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, an important Catholic pilgrimage site. Every year, millions of visitors go to the Massabielle cave where it is said that, in 1858, the Virgin Mary appeared to a local woman. Pilgrims can drink or bathe in the spring of water that flows from the cave
Pilgrimage to Lourdes: the stages and places to visit
The first place not to be missed during the pilgrimage to Lourdes is the cave of Massabielle, where in 1864 the statue representing the Madonna was placed as Bernadette told of having seen it during the first apparition. On the rock above, starting from 1871, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception was built: it is a large church built by the architect Hippolyte Durand in neo-Gothic style.
Two other are the main basilicas of the sanctuary of Lourdes: the Basilica of the Rosary and the Basilica of Saint Pius X. Inside the Basilica of the Rosary which has a Roman-Byzantine style and is suitable for celebrations up to 4,000 people, there are 15 chapels dedicated to the Mysteries of the Rosary.
The third and most recent basilica was consecrated in 1958 and was dedicated to San Pio X. It is an immense underground church, counted among the largest churches in the world since it can accommodate about 20,000 people at the same time. Finally, in front of the cave there are a tent and a chapel of worship. Among the most intense moments of the pilgrimage is the nocturnal procession: only the light of the candles accompanies the faithful up to the Basilica of the Rosary.