People pray at the Lourdes sanctuary, in the Massabielle cave where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to Bernadette Soubirous
Lille (France) (AFP) - The case of a French nun who recovered from a decades-old back problem that prevented her from walking normally has been recognised as the 70th miracle at the fabled French shrine of Lourdes, her church said Sunday.
Sister Bernadette Moriau from northern France visited the holy spring in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains in July 2008, aged 69, seeking a cure to her ailment like millions of other pilgrims each year.
Shortly after returning home, her chronic sciatica or pinched spinal nerve disappeared for the first time since she was first diagnosed at the age of 27.
Sister Bernadette had undergone four unsuccessful operations.
“She experienced an unusual feeling of relaxation and heat in the whole of her body (and) heard a voice telling her to take off her equipment, the corset and the leg brace,” said a statement from her parish in Beauvais in the north of France.
After further examinations by doctors and three meetings of church figures in Lourdes, the medical committee in the town confirmed that Moriau’s recovery could not be explained scientifically, the statement said.
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.
A press conference has been scheduled for Tuesday in Beauvais featuring Moriau, the bishop of the local diocese Jacques Benoit-Gonnin, and the head of the Lourdes Medical Bureau, Alessandro de Franciscis.