The city of Lourdes in France has been one of the greatest pilgrim shrines of the Christian world since 1958, when the fourteen year-old daughter of a poor miller saw visions of the Virgin Mary.
GV EXTERIOR: brass band leading precession through Lourdes square.
MV Plaque PAN TO people carrying picture.
MV procession ZOOM IN TO people carrying picture
MV sing on building PAN TO procession carrying picture of St Bernadette. (2 shots)
MV PAN people carry casket.
GV PAN Clergymen walking in procession.
MV PAN casket laid on alter at grotto.
GV congregation at grotto.
MV crutches hanging from grotto wall.
MV women kissing stone on wall of grotto.
SV Bishop shakes hands with pilgrims.
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Background: The city of Lourdes in France has been one of the greatest pilgrim shrines of the Christian world since 1958, when the fourteen year-old daughter of a poor miller saw visions of the Virgin Mary. Saint Bernadette died in Lourdes one hundred years ago, and the city has declared 1979 The Year of Bernadette.
SYNOPSIS: A brass band led a procession through the streets of Lourdes to mark the first celebration of the centennial anniversary of the saint's death. The eighteenth of February was chosen to begin the commemoration of the Year of Bernadette because it was on that day, in 1958, when the young girl saw her third vision of what she called "The Lady".
The procession, carrying a picture of the saint, passed by the house where bernadette lived with her family until she entered a convent.
Throughout her life, Bernadette was frail, suffering from Asthma. She died at thirty-five. The procession carried her sacred remains.
The Clergymen of Lourdes held three conferences to prepare for the ceremonies, which began at nine in the morning and ended with a procession of lights in the evening.
One of the highlights of the day was a trip to the grotto the place where bernadette had her remarkable visions and where the underground spring, which is said to have miraculous healing qualities, was revealed to her. Almost three million pilgrims visit the grotto each year.