BRIGHTON — Lorna Talty was a sickly child who suffered from asthma. That’s why her mother encouraged her to seek healing from Our Lady of Lourdes.
On several occasions Talty has traveled to Lourdes, France — where Our Lady appeared beginning on Feb. 11, 1858 — and attributes the cessation of her asthma to Our Lady’s intercession.
“She always gives you more than you ask for,” said Talty, who also attended a Feb. 11 Mass at Brighton’s Our Lady of Lourdes Church to mark the 150th anniversary of the Marian apparition.
Beginning on Feb. 11, 1858, the Blessed Virgin appeared 18 times to the 14-year-old St. Bernadette Soubirous at the Grotto of Massabielle near Lourdes, according to Butler’s Lives of Saints. Our Lady instructed the girl to dig in the ground, where a spring appeared; today, pilgrims in search of miraculous cures wash in and drink from the spring.
“So many people who go to Lourdes are experiencing healing power,” remarked Father Robert Lujula, sacramental minister at the church, during his homily.
The parish also marked the Lourdes anniversary Feb. 11 with daylong adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a concert and a dramatic re-enactment of the apparition, according to Sister of St. Joseph Joan Sobala, pastoral administrator at the Brighton church.
Sister Sobala noted that the events also served to mark the 80th anniversary of the parish, where worshippers will be asked to say a Hail Mary at the end of the closing prayer of Masses throughout the year.
In addition to celebrating the Lourdes anniversary, parishioners were able to earn plenary indulgences — or remission of the temporal punishment of sin — for acts of public devotion and prayer at the parish’s shrine and sculpture of Our Lady of Lourdes from Feb. 2 to Feb. 11.
“Because of the indulgences, many people were here,” Sister Sobala observed.
Lourdes parishioner Rita Kane said she wanted to attend the Feb. 11 Mass because she has been devoted to the Blessed Mother ever since she was a student member of a sodality — or pious association — at Our Lady of Mercy High School.
Since then, she said, she has made a special consecration to the Blessed Mother along with many others to give her all that she has without reserve.
“That’s a hard commitment to live up to,” Kane said.
In return, she noted, Mary has done everything in her life.
“I believe if we had all listened to Mary, the world would be a better place,” Kane said.