On February 11, 1858, Our Lady first appeared to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France at a place that would become the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. Our Lady appeared 16 more times to Bernadette, with some appearances accompanied by miracles. In 1992 Pope John Paul II instituted the World Day of the Sick to be held on this date. Today, thousands go on pilgrimage to this holy place each year with many healings reported after visits. A replica of the Lourdes Grotto can be found at the University of Notre Dame where students, faculty and visitors gather daily to lift their prayers of intercession to Mary.
Mother Mary, may we look to you for inspiration in our role as parent. Help us to always be fully loving, gentle in our corrections and supportive of our child's entire journey. Guide us in understanding the whole picture of our child's development rather than simply focusing on their accomplishments. Inspire us in standing by our children in their times of greatest sorrow and defeat, as you did with Jesus when he had to endure the cross for our salvation. Help us to not be down-hearted by the challenges our children face, but to love them fully so they may endure supported by your grace. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us to raise our children strong in faith and firm in good works. Amen.