By J-P Mauro
Bill Whitaker interviews Sr. Bernadette Moriau, who recalls how it felt when she experienced what has been recognized as a genuine miracle.
A recent episode of 60 Minutes saw correspondent Bill Whitaker visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France. The footage offers inspiring views of the popular pilgrimage site, as well as interviews with faithful visitors seeking to be healed and even one nun whose sudden recovery after visiting Lourdes has been deemed miraculous.
Despite the small size of the town of Lourdes, it draws more than three million tourists and pilgrims who wish to visit the shrine each year. The people have been coming to the site in droves since 1858, when St. Bernadette witnessed and interacted with the Blessed Mother in a series of apparitions.
In a previous article, Aleteia presented a comprehensive report on the apparitions of Lourdes; there were 16 recognized encounters over the course of five months. These visions began with the Blessed Mother simply appearing and smiling at the 14-year-old St. Bernadette, but as they continued, the young peasant girl began to interact with the apparition.
The apparition of the Blessed Mother directed St. Bernadette to continue to visit her at the site of the shrine, which was used as a holding area for livestock at the time. Once, when asked if the Blessed Mother said anything to her, St. Bernadette replied:
“Yes, now and again she would say: ‘Penance, penance, penance, pray for sinners.’”
These apparitions would eventually come to a head on March 25, 1858, the Feast of the Annunciation. The apparition told St. Bernadette, “I am the Immaculate Conception,” revealing herself as the mother of Christ. This phrase, one that the uneducated St. Bernadette had never heard before, sparked the flame of faith within believers and effectively launched the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. As pilgrims began to file into the site, it didn’t take long for reports of miraculous healings to emerge.
The 60 Minutes report goes into great detail on how reported miracles are investigated and authenticated. Whitaker spoke with a team of physicians who examine each case under various criteria, in order to prove that a miracle occurred. The massive size of each case folder is a testament to how deeply they study their cases before coming to their conclusions.
Whitaker even had a chance to interview Sister Bernadette Moriau, the 83-year-old nun who is recognized as the recipient of the 70th miracle said to have occurred at the Lourdes Shrine. Sr. Moriau explained that she had a “dark diagnosis” of full paralysis that was completely healed within three days of visiting the shrine. Sr. Moriau explained that while she was at the shrine she heard a voice in her head:
“I really had that feeling that the Lord was walking with us. And I heard him giving me these words: ‘I see your suffering and that of your sick brothers and sisters. Just give me everything.'”
She said that when she returned home she was in debilitating pain for three days until she suddenly felt the strength to walk to the chapel to pray. While in prayer, she began to feel a great heat inside of her and suddenly she felt urged to remove her foot and back braces, which she previously needed to walk. Suddenly her foot was straightened and her back was no longer in pain.
In order to validate the miracle, Sr. Moriau subjected herself to rounds of testing, both physically and mentally, but no scientific or medical explanation of her sudden recovery was ever identified. Her case was eventually recognized as the 70th instance of a miraculous healing taking place at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes.
There’s more packed into the 60 Minutes report than would be possible to cover here, and the expressions of St. Moriau as she explains her miracle are worth a watch on their own. Take a look at the video above to see more inspiring footage from the Sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception.
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