Well-known actor Zac Efron called Lourdes sanctuary “an incredibly special and holy place” in his new Netflix documentary Down to Earth.
In the second episode of the series, which focused on water, there was a large section dedicated to the famous pilgrimage site.
Efron narrates over scenes of Lourdes candles, statues of Our Lady, the Lourdes grotto, Benedictine rosaries and more.
Beginning the section he said: “Water can provide more than just hydration. There is also a spiritual aspect to it. We are on our way to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, the most famous healing shrine in the world. It is here that four to six million people come each year – specifically for the water.
“Most of the people come in search of a miracle. We are seeking answers.”
He explains the story that in 1858, the Virgin Mary appeared to a 14-year-old peasant girl, Bernadette, who was instructed by the apparition to uncover a natural spring and to drink and bathe from the water.
“Bernadette’s furious digging into the mud led the townspeople to think she was mad. Yet, when water eventually began to flow, her vision was determined to be real, and thus, a miracle,” he said.
“To this day, that water continues to flow from the spring, and thousands have claimed miraculous healing as a result of drinking and bathing in it.”
He adds: “It’s hard to believe that back in the 1800s, a 14-year-old girl that people wrote off as crazy, had a miraculous, holy vision, right here at this very spot. There is no denying the sacred feeling you get, just by being here.
“And when people walk away from this experience, real or imagined, there’s a change.”
After Efron lit a candle at the grotto and joined the candlelit procession, he said: “Prayer means different things to different people, but what I found, is that sometimes just taking the time to ask, it can help bring peace.
“I don’t expect everything I pray for to be answered, but sometimes taking the time to ask is comforting in itself.”