The New International Encyclopædia/Lourdes
LOURDES, lo͞ord. One of the chief places of Catholic pilgrimage in Europe, in the Department of Hautes-Pyrénées, France, on the right bank of the Gave de Pau, 90 miles by rail east-southeast of Bayonne (Map: France, F 8). It is a small town commanded by an old fortress now used as a prison. There are many grottoes and marble-quarries in the vicinity. The fame of Lourdes dates from the reputed apparition of the Virgin to the fourteen-year-old Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. The grotto near which the apparition took place is now surmounted by a magnificent church built in accordance with the wish of the Virgin and containing numerous banners, shields, medallions, tablets, and other precious gifts from pilgrims who visit Lourdes. These number about 300,000 per annum. Near the grotto is the miraculous spring, the water of which is diverted into several basins in which the ailing pilgrims bathe. The water is also exported in bottles. Economically the town is entirely dependent on the pilgrims, and its chief products are various souvenirs, mostly of a religious character, and marble. Population, in 1901, 8708. Consult: Les annales de Notre-Dame de Lourdes; Fourcade, L'apparition de Lourdes considérée au point de vue de l'art chrétien (Bordeaux, 1862); Pèlerinage national de Notre Dame de Salut (Paris, 1895); Boissarie, Lourdes, Histoire médicale (Paris, 1891); Zola, Lourdes (Paris, 1894); Gué, Histoire de Notre Dame de Lourdes (Paris, 1896).