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The Lourdes Miracle

From: John Laurenson
Length: 14:48

The extraordinary popularity of the pilgrimage to Lourdes 150 years on.

Torchlightprocession1_small When Pope Benedict made his landmark visit to France in September (12-15) he held a massive open air church service in Paris of course but he actually spent more time ? two days in all ? in Lourdes (PRON: LORDS). He wanted to visit this small town in the Pyrenees during its Jubilee. It is 150 years since the Virgin Mary appeared here and people began to report miraculous healings. Today the site attracts more Christian pilgrims than any other in the world. This report from John Laurenson on the miraculous success of Lourdes. Feature (un-mixed with a couple of translated clips in French to voice over) explains origins of the shrine, how it helps (and sometimes cures) the sick and has become a rallying point for Christians throughout the Catholic world. It includes interviews with the Bishop of Lourdes, the head of the Medical Bureau which decides what is and what is not a miracle, the (Irish) priest in charge of liasing with English-language visitors, an American with cancer, an English woman with MS and an Indian who says the Virgin Mary cured him of jaundice. Piece also contains killer wild-track (singing, praying, faithful filling bottles with Lourdes water, etc.)

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Piece Description

When Pope Benedict made his landmark visit to France in September (12-15) he held a massive open air church service in Paris of course but he actually spent more time ? two days in all ? in Lourdes (PRON: LORDS). He wanted to visit this small town in the Pyrenees during its Jubilee. It is 150 years since the Virgin Mary appeared here and people began to report miraculous healings. Today the site attracts more Christian pilgrims than any other in the world. This report from John Laurenson on the miraculous success of Lourdes. Feature (un-mixed with a couple of translated clips in French to voice over) explains origins of the shrine, how it helps (and sometimes cures) the sick and has become a rallying point for Christians throughout the Catholic world. It includes interviews with the Bishop of Lourdes, the head of the Medical Bureau which decides what is and what is not a miracle, the (Irish) priest in charge of liasing with English-language visitors, an American with cancer, an English woman with MS and an Indian who says the Virgin Mary cured him of jaundice. Piece also contains killer wild-track (singing, praying, faithful filling bottles with Lourdes water, etc.)

Broadcast History

'Sunday' BBC Radio 4

Transcript

SFX (lourave.wav) singing at procession. 9? and dip.
LINK ?the crowd holds up a thousand candles in the night and sings the chorus of the Ave Maria of Lourdes. Tonight, as every night, people from all over the Catholic world have come to follow a swaying statue of the Virgin Mary, held aloft and shining white - the way she appeared to a poor, asthmatic girl called Bernadette Soubirous one and a half centuries ago. 24?
SFX (lourpray.wav) praying at Mass. 5? and dip.
LINK Six million people ? up to ten million in this Jubilee year ? come to pray and celebrate mass, to touch the rock and light candles at the exact place Mary appeared eighteen times to the shepherdess. In a cave. By the swift-flowing River Gave. ?I am the Immaculate Conception?, said the lady. And told Bernadette to dig in the mud at the back of the cave. She did and the mud turned to a clear spring. ?Come here in process...
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Timing and Cues

INTRO When Pope Benedict made his landmark visit to France in September (12-15) he held a massive open air church service in Paris of course but he actually spent more time ? two days in all ? in Lourdes (PRON: LORDS). He wanted to visit this small town in the Pyrenees during its Jubilee. It is 150 years since the Virgin Mary appeared here and people began to report miraculous healings. Today pilgrims come in their millions. This report from John Laurenson on the miraculous success of Lourdes.