Walking nun declared a miracle

The case of a nun who started walking after being paralysed for years has become the 68th miracle to be recognised at the fabled French shrine of Lourdes, Catholic officials said Thursday

The priest at Traverso's diocese of Casale Monferrato officially recognised it as a miracle at a mass Thursday, the Sanctuary administering the shrine said.

The incident happened in July 1965, when the nun, Luigina Traverso, started walking during a visit to the holy site. Born in 1934, the nun had been wheelchair-bound despite several operations for lumbar sciatica.

She "was overwhelmed by a sensation of warmth and well-being and warm sensation and felt the sudden impulse to get up," said the Catholic Silesian Sisters order, the Filles de Marie-Auxiliatrice.

"She started moving her paralyzed limbs," the order said.

More than 5,000 miraculous cures have been documented but the Catholic church has so far validated a mere 67. Traverso's case was yet to be officially recognised by the church.

The shrine at Lourdes is a destination for sick pilgrims many of whom are reported to be miraculously cured of their ailments after drinking the water there.

On 11 February 1858, a 14-year old peasant girl called Bernadette Soubirous claimed to have experienced a series of apparitions of a girl dressed in white and with a blue belt around her waist, who eventually introduced herself as the Immaculate Conception, a name by which the Virgin Mary was known, at a grotto in Lourdes.

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Pope Francis pushes for more prayer and less business at Lourdes shrine

Pope Francis has named a special envoy to prioritise spirituality at the Roman Catholic shrine at Lourdes in France over "managerial and financial" aspects.

Pope Francis pushes for more prayer and less business at Lourdes shrine
Lourdes is one of the most revered sites for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. Photo: AFP
The Italian press said Friday that the nomination of Lille auxiliary Bishop Antoine Herouard is seen as the equivalent of placing the holy spring in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains under supervision.
Lourdes is one of the most revered sites for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics because the town is said to be where the Virgin Mary appeared to a peasant girl in a grotto.
“Pope Francis, who has this case very much at heart, wishes to accentuate the spiritual primacy over the temptation to overemphasise the managerial and 
financial aspect,” the official Vatican News website said.
The pope wants centres of Marian devotion to be “ever more a place of prayer and of Christian witness corresponding to the needs of the People of God.”
A former Renault manager, Guillaume de Vuilpan, was put in charge of Lourdes in 2017, and has introduced new products at the site.
The shrine returned to profit in 2018 after 10 years in the red, accumulating losses of 10 million euros.
Last year, 1.2 million pilgrims visited the site, half of them on organised tours.
Photo: AFP