Our Lady of Lourdes


“I feel sorry for all these people”

Esther Brachmann had an angel’s face…Her clear voice, her lively and deep eyes were full of ravishing youth – were it not for the wheelchair, that casket where already she lies…were it not for the growth, not of her adolescent body, but of her belly, a spectacular, monstrous, inhuman swelling that she could no longer hide from those bold enough to look at her. Beauty and horror: The atrocious contrast does not elicit pity at first. It does, however, elicit queasy disgust.

Just over two years ago, she was in bloom, barely awakened from life’s great dreaminess. Then she started to cough a little, and then a little too much. In no time, tuberculosis took everything from her – her dreams, her life, her very body. A momentary torture, far from passing, changed into an unyieldingly constant agony.

And medicine? Worse yet than the illness – repeated, interminable punctures, revulsive treatments as violent as they were inoperative, useless eviscerations. Everything had been tried. The case was incurable, and the prognosis was imminent death….

“Why not me?”

Once again, Esther thought of all the miraculously healed people about whom she had heard these last few years. A place had been reserved for her…Sometimes there was a year-long wait, besides the expenses that many, outside of hospital institutions, could not afford. When they were told of their upcoming departure for Lourdes only a few weeks after her request had been made, it was already a little miracle for her. She firmly believed in the Holy Virgin’s intercession…

Esther did not see the Virgin. She did not notice the rosebush and the ivy running up the rock face, nor the crutches lining the grotto’s ceiling as so many offerings from those who had been healed…She was not even praying. She was no longer doing anything. She had just entrusted her entire being to the mercy of God.

It was in the pool to which she was soon carried that the unexplained occurred. Esther re-emerged from the water nearly by herself, saying that she no longer felt any pain, that her stomach had flattened and that she was hungry. And there she was, walking….I am healed.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us
St Bernadette, pray for us

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