The miraculous waters of Lourdes, France, are known throughout the world. Ever since the first apparition on February 11, 1858, crowds have flocked to the site and have bathed in the sacred water, praying to God for a miracle.
However, even after more than 150 years, only 70 miracles have been officially approved and verified.
Lourdes Medical Bureau
It became evident at Lourdes in the very beginning that many people were claiming miraculous healings, but were in fact not healings at all.
This led to the formation of the Lourdes Medical Bureau.
At the request of Father Rémi Sempé, Father of Garaison, first Rector of the Sanctuary,Dr Georges-Fernand Dunot de Saint-Maclou established the Bureau des Constatations Médicales in 1883, so that no one who thought he had been “cured” would leave Lourdes without having submitted the story of his cure to a rigorous and collegiate medical assessment. In this way, he turned his consultation activity, which he had been performing occasionally every summer since 1879, into a permanent activity.
Frequently people would claim to be cured, but then a disease would reappear, or there would be a scientific cause for the cure.
Miracles are described by St. Thomas Aquinas as “those things … which are done by divine power apart from the order generally followed in things.” This means that a miracle must have hard evidence that it did not follow the rules of nature.
Medical scientists have evaluated thousands of reported cures at Lourdes and have only verified 70 as being miraculous.
In 2018, French bishop Jacques Benoit-Gonnin of the Beauvais diocese declared the healing of a Roman Catholic nun, Bernardette Moriau, as miraculous. She was disabled for almost 40 years of her life until she made a pilgrimage to Lourdes.
Not all miracles are reported to the authorities at Lourdes, so it is possible that there are more miracles that are left undocumented.
However, its important to remember that while God can work miracles in the lives of those who travel to Lourdes, he only does so when it is in his divine plan. And there are many ways pilgrims find spiritual healing and comfort at Lourdes, even when there is no physical cure deemed miraculous.