Our Lady of Lourdes is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary invoked by Roman Catholics in honor of the Marian apparitions which are said to have taken place before various individuals on separate occasions around Lourdes, France.
Most prominently among these is the apparition of 11 February 1858, when Saint Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant girl, admitted to her mother that a “lady” spoke to her in the cave of Massabielle (a mile from the town) while she was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend. Similar appearances of the “lady” were reported on seventeen further occasions that year.
Bernadette Soubirous was later canonized as a Saint, and Roman Catholics and some Protestants believe her apparitions have been validated by the overwhelming popularity and testament of healings claimed to have taken place at the Lourdes water spring.
In 1862, Pope Pius IX authorized Bishop Bertrand-Sévère Laurence to permit the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes. This Marian title, Our Lady of Lourdes, has been widely copied and reproduced, often displayed in shrines or homes, most notably in garden landscapes.