Bishop de­clares nun’s re­cov­ery as 70th Lour­des mir­a­cle

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Kickoff - By Elaine Gan­ley

A French bishop de­clared Sun­day that the re­cov­ery of a long-de­bil­i­tated nun made af­ter she vis­ited the shrine in Lour­des was a mir­a­cle, the 70th event to be rec­og­nized...

PARIS » AFrench bishop de­clared Sun­day that the re­cov­ery a long- de­bil­i­tated nun made af­ter she vis­ited the shrine in Lour­des was a mir­a­cle, the 70th event to be rec­og­nized as an act of divine in­ter­ven­tion at the world-fa­mous Catholic pil­grim­age site.

Beau­vais Bishop Jacques Benoit- Gonin pro­claimed the mir­a­cle nearly a decade af­ter Ber­nadette Mo­riau at­tended a bless­ing of the sick cer­e­mony at the Lour­des sanc­tu­ary in south­ern France. The bishop of Lour­des, Ni­co­las Brouwet an­nounced the dec­la­ra­tion dur­ing Mass at the shrine’s basil­ica.

The shrine in south­ern France where ap­pari­tions of Mary, Je­sus’ mother, re­port­edly ap­peared 160 years ago to a 14-year-old girl is con­sid­ered a site of mirac­u­lous cures. Water run­ning from a spring in the sanc­tu­ary’s Grotto of the Ap­pari­tions is pur­ported to have cu­ra­tive pow­ers and mil­lions of pil- grims visit the sanc­tu­ary ev­ery year.

Mo­riau’s ex­pe­ri­ence un­der­went ex­ten­sive stud­ies and tests by the In­ter­na­tional Med­i­cal Com­mit­tee of Lour­des. The bishop has the last word on­whether to ap­prove a re­ported cure as a mir­a­cle.

Mo­riau had four op­er­a­tions on her spinal col­umn be­tween 1968 and 1975 and was de­clared fully dis­abled in 1980. One foot was per­ma­nently twisted, re­quir­ing her to wear a brace and use a wheel­chair. She took what she said were sig­nif­i­cant doses of mor­phine for pain.

“I never asked for a mir­a­cle,” the nun, now 79, re­counted of her July 2008 pil­grim­age to Lour­des.

Af­ter re­turn­ing to her home con­vent near Beau­vais and pray­ing in the chapel, “I felt a (surge of) well­be­ing through­out my body, a re­lax­ation, warmth....I re­turned to my room and, there, a voice told me to ‘ take off your braces,’” she said in a video posted on the Beau­vais dio­cese web site. “Sur­prise. I could move.”

Mo­riau said she im­me­di­ately did away with all her aids, from braces to mor­phine — and took a 5 kilo­me­ter hike a few days later.

The bishop said the nun’s “sud­den, in­stan­ta­neous, com­plete and durable change” alerted him to a pos­si­ble mir­a­cle. The Lour­des med­i­cal com­mit­tee said the changes were un­ex­plain­able “in the cur­rent state of our sci­en­tific knowl­edge,” he added.

Amir­a­cle at Lour­des last was de­clared in 2013. It in­volved an Ital­ian woman who vis­ited Lour­des in 1989, suf­fer­ing se­vere high blood pres­sure and other prob­lems.

Not all de­clared mir­a­cles pass through Lour­des. A French nun, Marie Si­monPierre, was de­clared cured of her Parkin­son’s dis­ease af­ter pray­ing to the late Pope John Paul II, who suf­fered from the same neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­or­der. That helped fast-track the pope’s can­on­iza­tion as one of the two mir­a­cles needed for him to be­come St. John Paul II in 2014.

BOB EDME — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

In this file photo, pil­grims queue to visit the grotto at Lour­des, south­west­ern France. A French bishop on Sun­day de­clared as a mir­a­cle the cure of a Ro­man Catholic nun who was an in­valid for nearly four decades and re­cov­ered af­ter mak­ing a pil­grim­age to Lour­des. Bishop Jacques Benoit-Gonin of the Beau­vais dio­cese north of Paris pro­claimed the mir­a­cle 10years af­ter Ber­nadette Mo­riau, now 79, went to Lour­des.

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