Lourdes is a small town in southwestern France that became famous for the Marian appearance of Our Lady of Lourdes in 1858. On February 11 of that year, a 14-year-old local girl, Bernadette Soubirous, claimed a beautiful lady appeared to her in the remote Grotto of Massabielle. The lady later appeared another 17 times, and identified herself as "the Immaculate Conception". Faithful believe her to be the Blessed Virgin Mary, who told Bernadette to tell the people this: "I am the Immaculate Conception, go drink at the spring and bathe in its waters." Although no water was in plain sight, Bernadette began to dig in the area indicated by the Lady and a spring began to flow.
Lourdes water has become famous for the miraculous healings that have come to those who drank or bathed in it. Since 1860, the Roman Catholic Church has officially recognized 67 miraculous healings which are individually and thoroughly studied for authenticity and and proved to be the result of only the healing power of the water. No physical or psychological basis can be the cause of these healings.
Today, Lourdes is the single greatest catholic pilgrimage site in France, one of the largest pilgrimage and Catholic shrine sites in the world, and the single most famous modern shrine of Our Lady.