How do we recognise the 70th miracle of Lourdes

Les miracles dans la vie sont quotidiens pour qui sait les reconnaître

Published on 6 July 2018 - 23:40

On 11th February 2018, the Bishop of Beauvais, Bishop Benoît-Gonnin (France) declared the “prodigious-miraculous” character and the divine sign of Sister Bernadette Moriau’s healing. We take a look back at the events that led to the official proclamation of the 70th miracle of Lourdes. A case study.

Let’s start at the end

Sr. Bernadette Moriau, a nun from the Congregation of the Franciscan Oblates of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was healed on 11th July 2008 after her pilgrimage to Lourdes. This healing was recognised on 11th February 2018 and is officially the 70th miracle attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes. It is an immense joy for the whole Church because, “this healing reaffirms for us the loving and active presence of Our Lady in the lives of the faithful who, like her, want to be open to the Word of God and to put it into practice,” says Bishop Jacques Benoit-Gonnin, the Bishop of the Diocese of Beauvais where the nun lives.

The one who was miraculously healed was not looking for a miracle

Sister Bernadette Moriau was born on 23rd September 1939 in the North of France. At 19, she entered the Nantes Convent to join the congregation of the Franciscan Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She graduated as a nurse in 1965. In 1966, when she was 27 years old she began suffering from lower back pain. There followed four operations and other treatments all without success. In 1975 she was no longer able to practice nursing. Her neurological problems started in 1987, significantly reducing the distance she was able to walk. Medical treatments were virtually useless. She had a spinal neurostimulator fitted in 1992 and had to begin morphine medication in 1994. In 1998 she began suffering from sphincter disfunction. The rigid cervical-lumbar corset that she had started wearing in 1999 became a permanent feature. In 2005, her left foot developed an equinus contracture which meant she had to wear a splint. In July 2008, she joined her diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes and received the Sacrament of the Sick. On her return home, her condition was the same if not worse having been aggravated by exhaustion after the trip. On 11th July 2008, just at the time that the Eucharistic procession was taking place in Lourdes, she was in the chapel of her community for an hour of adoration. Around 17:45, she relived a moment that she had experienced in the Basilica of Saint Pius X, during the blessing of the sick. It was then that she felt an unusual sensation of calm and warmth spreading throughout her body. She heard an inner voice asking her to get rid of all her medical aids, corset and splint. She then noticed that her foot had returned to a normal position and that she could move it once again. All her sphincter disorders disappeared, and, on that same day, she stopped taking all her pain medication and using the spinal neurostimulator.

From a cure to a miracle

Further medical examinations, appraisals and three collegiate meetings in Lourdes in 2009, 2013 and 2016, allowed the Office of Medical Findings (CMIL) on 7th July 2016, to find the unforeseen, instantaneous, complete, lasting and unexplained nature of Sister Bernadette Moriau’s healing. On 18th November 2016 in Lourdes, at its annual meeting, the CMIL (International Medical Committee of Lourdes) confirmed “an unexplained healing, within our current limits of scientific knowledge”. On 23rd February 2017, the bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, co-president of the CMIL, sent a letter to the Bishop of Beauvais where the nun resided, in which he set out the conclusions of the CMIL. On 10th January 2018, the Bishop of Beauvais met with a Diocesan Commission to rule on the case. Observing that the cure was sudden, instantaneous, complete, lasting and “remained unexplained within the current limits of our scientific knowledge,” he declared in a letter, on 11th February 2018, the day of the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the “prodigious-miraculous” nature and the divine sign of the healing of Sister Bernadette Moriau, obtained through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes. “

“I asked for a conversion of heart”

Sister Bernadette Moriau states, “In February 2008, my doctor invited me to join the diocesan pilgrimage from 3rd to 7th. I had never been to Lourdes as a sick person. The trip was very tiring, but no matter, I went to Lourdes with the joy of every pilgrim, then in 2008, we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette. So, we followed in the footsteps of Saint Bernadette, and I have a clear memory of each part of the jubilee pilgrimage. It was a source of great blessing for me. In the grotto, I felt the mysterious presence of Mary and little Bernadette. I experienced the sacrament of reconciliation, then the sacrament of the sick which gave me the strength to continue my path. At no time did I ask for healing, but a conversion of heart and the strength to continue on my path of sickness. It was during the Eucharistic procession and the blessing of the sick at the Basilica of St. Pius X that I experienced the presence of Jesus walking in our midst.”