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Baths of Sanctuary of Lourdes - explanatory notes

Piscine du Sanctuaire de LourdesStep to take, probably unique in the world, is to bathe in  the Sanctuary Baths. At the request of the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, Mgr. Brouwet, the opening times of the Baths have been extend ed to enable the greatest number of people to go there. Why this action? What is the meaning of it? How does it take place? Three of our "experts" will enlighten you and answer the most frequent questions.

Our "experts" 

Maryse Auboin
Adviser to the Hospitality of Our Lady of Lourdes. Manager of the Baths service.
If you are interested in serving at the Baths: Tel 05 62 42 78 74

Fr Robert Boisvert
Canadian Eudist Priest, chaplain of the Sanctuary  - General Chaplain of the Hospitality of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Alessandro de Franciscis
Permanent doctor of the Sanctuary, manager of the Medical Bureau of the Sanctuary of Lourdes, who is
Responsible for the declarations of healings.


Where are the Baths?

The priest : Situated down­stream from the Grotto, the Baths are inside an austere building built to commemo­rate the centenary of the ap­paritions. Every day, pilgrims and sick people go there to be bathed. Without knowing it, perhaps, they respond to the call of the Virgin Mary, formulated to Bernadette Soubirous during the ninth apparition: "go and drink at the spring and wash there".

From where does the water come which feeds the Baths?

The manager of the Baths : he exit point of the spring which runs at the bottom of the Grotto was found on the 25th February 1858, during the ninth apparition. That is to say that the spring already existed. Bernadette did not know of its presence and it is on the instructions of the "young little lady of light" (The Virgin Mary) that she scratched in the right place and brought to light this spring. It is mountain water, with low mineral content, but quite rich in calcium. Its tem­perature is about 12° C.

Is the Bath water properly hygienic?

The doctor : There are 10 baths for ladies, 5 baths for men and 2 baths for children. To comply with the require­ments of the sanitary hygiene and safety services, checks of the water are made regu­larly. Since 1993, the water is constantly renewed. It is in a closed circuit, with continuous filtration. Of a more or less constant temperature of 11 to 12 degrees, there is no risk of contamination: no bacteria can grow at such a cold tem­perature.

What happens when you go to the Baths?

The manager of the Baths : he manager of the Baths: You go to the Baths and wait for someone to take you in. When the time comes, you will enter a cubicle where one undresses. There are four chairs on each side: they are for healthy peo­ple. Two other chairs are reserved for people with re­duced mobility. For someone who arrives on a stretcher, that person is placed in the centre of the cubicle. Then someone will invite you to enter into the Bath itself: you will then see a kind of stone bath, full of the spring water. After having draped a cloth over you to preserve your modesty, some hospitaliers of the same sex as you will invite you to go down into the Bath. You will then enter into contact with the water of Lourdes. You are left free to decide how you want to ex­perience this "Bath".

If for medical rea­sons the ‘Bath’ is not appropriate, what happens? 

The doctor : For sick people, be they in an armchair or on a stretcher, if an immersion Bath is inappropriate, we offer them a wash, that is that, once undressed, they are covered with a cloth that is more or less wet. These people do not go to the water, but it is the water that comes to them. For people with heart troubles, it makes sense that they are covered in a dry cloth and they are only asked to walk in the water.

In this step I am tak­ing, will I really remain free until the end?

The priest : Yes! In all cir­cumstances, the wishes of each pilgrim are respected. Whether it is a faith approach or not, the hospitaliers and myself, as Chaplain when I am there, we are simply there to welcome you, to help you and to accompany you.

What happens afterwards?

The manager of the Baths : ery often, after the ‘Bath’, the heart has changed. Peo­ple experience a feeling of well-being. We feel a glowing in their eyes, an indescriba­ble joy which is manifested in movements of affection: "I will pray for you", "I keep you in my heart", "God bless you!".

Are there still healings in the Baths? 

The doctor : Firstly, I keep reg­istering declarations of heal­ings, 30 to 40 per year. Then the statistics on the miracu­lous cures of Lourdes recog­nised by the Catholic Church speak for themselves: out of the 69 recognised to this day, 50 were due to the wa­ters of Lourdes, 40 of these to the Baths. Finally, the last person to experience a mira­cle, Danila Castelli, an Italian woman, was cured at the Baths. These are the facts.

What meaning can be found in the visit to the Baths?

The priest : For the faithful, the water is a sign of the free gift that God offers us: gift of forgiveness, gift of reconcilia­tion, gift of purification with a view to a new life. The pass­ing through the Baths is lived as a movement towards con­version. It is the possibility to return to the Light, to find in­ternal healing. The Baths are, basically, the gift of the ten­derness of God. There is a cir­culation of Love. Through the gestures and the looks of the hospitaliers, the tenderness of God becomes palpable.

Opening times of the Baths
Mondays to Saturdays: 8.30 am - 12.30 pm / 1.30 pm - 6 pm  - Sunday: 10 am - 12 noon / 2 pm - 4 pm