Oil Dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes
The Oil Dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is in honour of the Marian apparitions that occurred in 1858 at Lourdes in France. The first of these is the apparition of 11 February 1858. Then 14-year old Bernadette Soubirous told her mother that a “lady” spoke to her in the cave of Massabielle. This happened while she was gathering firewood. Her sister and a friend were with her. Similar apparitions of the “Lady” were reported on seventeen occasions that year. Also, the final climactic revelation of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception took place.
In 1862, Pope Pius IX authorised veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes. On 3 July 1876, the same Pontiff officially granted a Canonical Coronation to the image. It used to be in the courtyard of what is now part of the Rosary Basilica. The image of Our Lady of Lourdes has been widely copied. It is often seen in shrines and homes and garden landscapes. Bernadette was later canonised as a Catholic saint.
Bernadette was ridiculed, questioned, and belittled by Church officials and other contemporaries. However, she insisted on her vision. Eventually the Church believed her. She was canonised by Pope Pius XI in 1933.
Lourdes becomes Marian shrine
Church investigations confirmed her visions. A large church was built at the site. Lourdes is now a major Marian pilgrimage site: within France.
In 1863, Joseph-Hugues Fabisch was charged to create a statue of the Virgin. The work was placed in the grotto and solemnly dedicated on 4 April 1864 in presence of 20,000 pilgrims.
Pope Pius IX granted a Canonical Coronation on the image on 3 July 1876. Later that year, a golden laurel wreath was placed at the base. Also, a stellar halo was attached to the head of the image.
The veracity of the apparitions of Lourdes is not an article of faith for Catholics. Nevertheless, all recent Popes visited the Marian shrine at some time. Benedict XV, Pius XI, and John XXIII went there as bishops. Pius XII went as papal delegate. He also issued an encyclical on the one-hundredth anniversary of the apparitions in 1958. John Paul II visited Lourdes three times during his pontificate. Also, he visited twice before as a bishop.
Tradition of oils
The tradition of anointing with sacred oil is very old indeed. It is used in sacraments and also as a devotional practice. The sick person applies the oil and blesses themselves. As they do so, they are asked to pray to whomever the oil is dedicated to. The Irish blessings oils do not have miraculous power. It is God who has the power to heal. Applying the oil while praying are important ways for us to express our faith in God’s power. Moreover, by doing so we place our trust in God.