On February 11, 1858 Saint Bernadette Soubirous of France, was granted of vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a cave along the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes, France.  Bernadette was the young daughter of Francis and Louise Soubirous, their family being very poor.  Bernadette reported the vision to others and crowds began to gather at the site of the visions.  The local authorities tired to get Bernadette to say that she had lied about seeing the visions, but she refused to deny them.  On February 25, a spring emerged from the cave and waters were discovered to bring healing to the sick and infirm.  On March 25, Bernadette said the vision had said that she was the Immaculate Conception and that a church should be erected at the site of the visions.  The local authorities tried to stop the building of the church, but the visions gained the respect of many throughout France, including the Empress Eugenie of France, wife of Napoleon III, and the church was erected. 

    The Catholic Church sent Bernadette to the Sisters of Notre Dame in Nevers, France.  The devil tried her with many trials at this order of Catholic sisters in which she received great abuse from some of the sisters who lived with her there.  She came down with a very serious illness and died in Nevers on April 16, 1879.

     Since the visions began Lourdes has become a major pilgrimage site for millions of people seeking to become closer to God and to be healed of all sorts of illnesses and diseases.  Bernadette was beatified in 1925 and canonized in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.