Lourdes in France: Miraculous spring of water that heals

In 1858 in the Massabielle Grotto, near Lourdes in France, the Virgin Mary appeared eighteen times to Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant girl.

On February 25, the Virgin Mary asked her to dig with her hands in the earth where she stood. Although there was no known spring there, and the ground was hard and dry, Bernadette did as she was told and dug in the dirt, and a spring sprung up that continues to flow even today.

The spring water has miraculous healing properties, and in the 145 years since then, about 70 cures have been verified by the Lourdes Medical Bureau as “unexplained”. But this only after rigorous scientific and medical investigations found no other explanations.

The city of Lourdes almost immediately became a destination for pilgrims. Today, 5 million people visit the site annually.

Statue at the site of the apparition
St. Bernadette Soubirous

Over the 145 years, approximately 70 healings have been verified by the Lourdes Medical Bureau as "unexplained"


In Lourdes there is a medical office that examines alleged healings. One has, among other things, the following requirements to start a review:

    • The disease state must be verified beyond all doubt before the cure.
    • It must be an incurable ailment.
    • The cure must take place in Lourdes
    • Healing must be immediate, not over time.
    • The cure must be complete.
    • The cure must be permanent.


Lourdes in France:
The Story of Gabriel Gargam

The accident

Gabriel Gargam was born in 1870. He was traveling on a train from Bordeaux to Paris which collided with another train at 70 km per hour. Gargam was thrown fifteen meters from the train and was left lying in the snow, seriously injured and unconscious for seven hours. He was paralyzed from the waist down. He was barely alive when he was lifted onto a stretcher. In the hospital, his existence was for a time more like living death.

After eight months he was nothing more than a skeleton. He weighed thirty-nine kilograms, although he was normally a large man. He could not eat any solid food and had to be fed through a tube. He could only be fed that way once a day. He brought a suit for damages against the railroad. He was granted 6,000 francs annually, and an allowance of 60,000 francs.

Gargam’s condition was serious. He was in need of needs around the clock. Two trained nurses were needed day and night to help him. Such was his condition after the accident, and such it would continue to be until death set him free.

Travel to Lourdes

Before the accident, Gargam had not been to church for fifteen years. His aunt, who was a nun at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, asked him to go to Lourdes. He refused. After a long plea from his mother, he agreed to go to Lourdes. It was now two years since the accident and he hadn’t left his bed the entire time.

He was taken on a stretcher to the train. The exertion caused him to faint, and for a full hour he was unconscious. They were about to abandon the pilgrimage, as it looked as if he would die on the way, but the mother insisted and the journey was made.

He was taken to the baths and carefully placed in the water – no effect could be seen, rather a bad reaction as the exertion made him pass out and he lay as if dead. Since he did not regain consciousness, they believed him to be dead. In grief, they wheeled the carriage back to the hotel.

The cure

On the way they saw a procession approaching. They stepped aside to let it pass and put a piece of cloth over the face of the man they thought was dead.

As the priest passed bearing the Blessed Sacrament, he gave a blessing over the mournful group around the shrouded body. Soon a movement was noticed under the fabric. To the astonishment of the onlookers, the body rose to a sitting position.

As the family and onlookers stared in amazement, Gargam said in a strong voice that he wanted to stand up. They thought it was a delirium that set in just before death and tried to calm him down, but he could not be restrained.

He stood up and walked a few steps and said he was cured. The crowd looked amazed and then fell on their knees and thanked God for this sign of his power at the shrine of his holy mother.

At the hotel he was soon dressed and continued walking about as if nothing had ever bothered him. For two years he had barely eaten anything but now he sat down at the table and ate a hearty meal.


On August 20, 1901, sixty prominent doctors examined Gargam. They considered him completely cured. Out of gratitude to God in the Holy Eucharist and the Virgin Mary, he dedicated himself to the service of the disabled in Lourdes.

He started a small business and married a pious woman who helped him in the apostolate to increase the knowledge of the Virgin Mary. For over fifty years he returned annually to Lourdes and worked with the sick who came there.

Resa till Lourdes

Före olyckan hade Gargam inte varit i kyrkan på femton år. Hans moster, som var nunna i det heliga hjärtats kloster, bad honom att åka till Lourdes. Han vägrade. Efter en lång vädjan från sin mor gick han med på att åka till Lourdes. Det var nu två år sedan olyckan och han hade inte lämnat sin säng på hela tiden.

Han fördes på en bår till tåget. Ansträngningen fick honom att svimma, och i en hel timme var han medvetslös. De var på väg att överge pilgrimsfärden, eftersom det såg ut som om han skulle dö på vägen, men modern insisterade och resan gjordes.

Han fördes till baden och placerades försiktigt i vattnet – man kunde inte se någon effekt, snarare en dålig reaktion då ansträngningen fick honom att svimma och han låg som död. Eftersom han inte återfick medvetandet, trodde de att han var död. Under sorg rullade de tillbaka vagnen till hotellet.


På vägen såg de en procession närma sig. De gick åt sidan för att låta den passera och lade en bit tyg över ansiktet på mannen som de trodde var död.

När prästen passerade bärandes det heliga sakramentet gav han en välsignelse över den sorgliga gruppen runt den täckta kroppen. Strax märktes det en rörelse under tyget. Till åskådarnas förvåning lyfte kroppen sig till en sittande ställning.

Medan familjen och åskådarna stirrade förvånad, sa Gargam med en stark röst att han ville stå upp. De trodde att det var ett yrande som inträdde precis före döden och försökte lugna honom, men man kunde inte hålla tillbaka honom.

Han ställde sig upp och gick några steg och sa att han var botad. Folkmassan såg förundrad och föll sedan på knä och tackade Gud för detta tecken på hans kraft vid helgedomen av hans heliga moder.

På hotellet var han snart klädd och fortsatte att gå omkring som om ingenting någonsin hade besvärat honom. I två år hade han knappast ätit något men nu satte han sig ner till bordet och åt en rejäl måltid.


Den 20 augusti 1901 undersökte sextio framstående läkare Gargam. De ansåg att han var helt botad. Av tacksamhet till Gud i den Heliga Eukaristin och jungfru Maria, vigde han sig till tjänst för de funktionshindrade i Lourdes.

Han startade ett litet företag och gifte sig med en from kvinna som hjälpte honom i apostolatet att öka kunskapen om jungfru Maria. I över femtio år återvände han årligen till Lourdes och arbetade med de sjuka som kom dit.