February 11 is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes who appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in on February 11, 1858 in Lourdes, France. Young Bernadette was gathering wood near a grotto when she heard a noise and felt a gust of wind. She turned and “something white in the shape of a girl.” She immediately knelt to pray the rosary before the Blessed Virgin disappeared. Bernadette witnessed many more visions at the grotto and the event grew in great popularity to become one of the most traveled to pilgrimage sites for Catholics. The feast day is a great opportunity to explore this devotion that is very important to many Catholics around the world.

Resources on the Web

Background Information on Our Lady of Lourdes
• Video of Fr. Jim Martin about St. Bernadette from “Who Cares About the Saints?” http://sqpn.com/2009/02/11/feast-of-our-lady-of-lourdes/ (YouTube Video)
• Webpage including history, readings, prayers, etc.: http://www.wf-f.org/OurLadyofLourdes.html
• American Catholic article: http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1288
• Catholic Online has detailed descriptions of each of the apparitions as well as background information on St. Bernadette: http://www.catholic.org/clife/mary/lourdes1.php
• For a list of full movies including The Song of Bernadette (1943), visit: http://www.ignatius.com/Videos/bernadette/

Prayers for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes:
• Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes: http://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/novena/lourdes.htm

Reference Books:
Mary: A History of Doctrine and Devotion by Hilda Graef, pp. 343-344, 347-356. http://www.avemariapress.com/itemdetail.cfm?nItemid=990

Lesson Plan

• Students will be able to recognize images of Our Lady of Lourdes.
• Students will be able to describe the story of Our Lady of Lourdes.
• Students will be able to illustrate the story of Our Lady of Lourdes.
• Students will be able to pray a novena or other prayers for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

• Create a storyboard visual representation of Our Lady of Lourdes

Teaching Approaches:

1. Type a Google Image search (http://images.google.com) for the phrase Our Lady of Lourdes. Show the students the common features found in pictures and replicas of grottos of Our Lady of Lourdes: Mary clothed in white with a blue shawl, St. Bernadette kneeling in prayer, one or both holding rosaries in hands of prayer, Mary’s halo reading “I am the Immaculate Conception,” a mix of stone and greenery, Mary standing in a small alcove. Note that the images express the descriptions given by St. Bernadette.

2. Provide students with a background to the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes in an appropriate format: video, audio, copied text, or an invitation to explore websites on their own. See “Background Information on Our Lady of Lourdes” above.

3. Ask students to answer the following questions individually then discuss them as a class:
  • How would you describe St. Bernadette Soubirous?
  • How did St. Bernadette encounter Mary?
  • With what name did Mary reveal herself?
  • Why do you think this even became so popular?
4. Based on the information that they viewed or read and the pictures that they have seen, have the students create a story board production of a movie trailer for the apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes. For an example of a story board see: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/7217001/Movie-production-storyboard-example or http://cfbstaff.cfbisd.edu/paciottib/Video_Production/Module3-2.html.  

5. To bring the lesson to a close, ask the students to pray together the following prayer. You might also challenge them to pray a novena (see above) in the evenings or in the mornings before school.

Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes

O ever-Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy,
health of the sick, refuge of sinners,
comforter of the afflicted,
you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings;
look with mercy on me.

By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes,
you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary,
whence you dispense your favors;
and already many sufferers have obtained
the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal.

 I come, therefore, with complete confidence
to implore your maternal intercession.

Obtain, O loving Mother, the grant of my requests.
Through gratitude for your favors,
I will endeavor to imitate your virtues,
that I may one day share your glory. Amen.

Source: http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/prayers/Lourdes.html