Our Lady of Lourdes

Feast Day:  11 February

ourladyoflourdes01 450

Our Lady of Lourdes was the title chosen for the parish of Armadale by Fr Michael O’Brien, the founding pastor who was appointed in 1922. He had been an Army Chaplain in France during the First World War.

According to the tradition he wanted to build his church to look like a French parish church and to call it Our Lady of Lourdes. It was the first parish church in the diocese to be dedicated to God under the title of Our Lady of Lourdes.

The first of the apparitions of Our Lady to St Bernadette on 11th February 1858 in the small village of Lourdes in the French Pyrenees introduced a genuinely popular reawakening of faith in God and warm devotion to Our Lady, as the Immaculate Conception. The messages to Bernadette, as she relayed them to her parish priest and to the local people, invited them to prayer, the practice of the faith, conversion as well as the experience of physical and spiritual healing in the waters of the spring which ourladyoflourdes02 450Bernadette herself had opened up at the direction of "The Lady".

Despite the initial misgivings of the church authorities and the clumsy interference of the civic officials, the consistency and simplicity of Bernadette’s words convinced them and others of her sincerity.

Well before St Bernadette’s death at the convent in Nevers in 1879, a church for pilgrims had been built at the grotto of the apparitions and the fame of the shrine had spread. During his service in France in the First World War Fr O’Brien may have heard more about Lourdes. One can only admire the faith that may have inspired his desire to establish this devotion in Armadale Melbourne.

Let us also resolve to be thankful for the care and love of our Mother, Our Lady.