As the Church celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, a French bishop announced the 70th officially recognised miraculous cure of a pilgrim to the Lourdes grotto where Mary appeared 160 years ago.
Bishop Jacques Benoit-Gonnin of Beauvais formally declared this week “the prodigious, miraculous character” of the healing of Sr Bernadette Moriau, a French member of the Franciscan Oblates of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who had been partially paralysed for more than 20 years despite repeated surgeries to relieve pressure on the nerve roots of her lower back.
In November 2016, the International Medical Committee of Lourdes confirmed the nun’s “unexplained healing, in the current state of scientific knowledge”. But it is up to the bishop, not the physicians, to declare a healing miraculous.
Sr Moriau, now 78, made her pilgrimage to Lourdes in 2008, the 150th anniversary of the apparitions. She had experienced lower back pain, the first symptom of her disease, in 1966 at the age of 27. Four surgeries did not stop the progressive worsening of her neurological deficits.
A few days after returning to her convent, she said she felt unusually relaxed and she experienced warmth throughout her body. Sister Moriau said an inner voice asked her to remove the rigid corset that helped hold her erect, the splint that kept her foot straight and the neurostimulator she used for pain control. She began walking unaided and without pain.