Who comes to Lourdes? Pilgrimss, Tourists, children, teenagers, parents, grand-parents, healthy people, sick or disabled people, God seekers or believers from different religions...
For over 150 years, the crowd is always there, coming from all the continents . The world success of Lourdes, however,was not written in advance. In the Pyrenees, a young poor and ignorant visionnary girl transmits penance messages that she doesn't always understand. She says a "beautiful lady" gives her these messages. During the first apparition, on 11th February 1858, Bernadette is only accompanied by her sister: Toinette and her friend: Jeanne Abadie. In a few weeks, Lourdes becomes the “city of miracles”. Hundreds, then thousands of curious people come from the surroundings.
At the period of the apparitions, many people laugh at the sick and healthy believers coming to pray in this dirty place- the Grotto is out of the town - and rather inaccessible. After the official recognition of the Apparitions in 1862, the first local pilgrimages get organized. "The fact of Lourdes" becomes very controversial. Medias come to Lourdes. So do the crowd.
The celebrity of Lourdes becomes international in the early years of the twentieth century. After World War 2, the world needs reconciliation. And in Lourdes, all differences are overcome: those that are linked with the color of the skin, language, culture, age, wealth, poverty, handicap, and disease.
The Lourdes Grotto exudes flavors of fraternal life and universal Church.
A quote from the Bible, dealing with the crowd
After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages,
Participate in an international mass
From April to October, every Wednesday and Sunday at 9:30,in the basilica Saint-Pius X, the international mass is something unique. The international mass shows all the diversity of the pilgrims in the eucharist. International masses for young people are also organized in the Sanctuary, durant July and August.