On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Some Photos from Lourdes

Today being the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, it seemed appropriate to share some photos I took this summer in Lourdes--the site where Our Lady told St. Bernadette "I am the Immaculate Conception."

The Basilica--the golden crown is spectacular! 

A shot from the interior. There are actually three basilicas on site. 

Lourdes is filled with engravings honoring Our Lady for prayers answered and miracles granted.

A side shrine to St. Peter in the basilica; you can see many more engravings commemorating miracles granted.

Many pilgrims come seeking healing from the spring water.
Pilgrims line up to collect water from the springs (left) and to visit the grotto (right)
The women's baths--especially for pilgrims seeking healing. (Don't worry; those dudes aren't going in.)

Yours truly and the Mrs. on the steps of the basilica. And before you make fun of the shoes, I've tried doing a pilgrimage in wingtips before. It landed me a lot of blisters and shin splints. 

One of my favorite parts of the shrine is the statue of Our Lady--adorned with many flowers presented by fellow pilgrims.

The streets of Lourdes

Statue of Our Lady of Lourdes where she appeared to St. Bernadette

The grotto where our Lady appeared

While it was difficult to get a photo encompassing the campus, you can see how the basilica was built directly above the grotto

The Karlens in front of the grotto

We estimate that we joined about 15,000 pilgrims for an hour-long Rosary procession (in a variety of languages). This procession stands along side a general audience with Pope Benedict among the most incredible experience of my life.
A group selfie during the procession.

Following the procession, we visited the grotto and lit candles to offer with our intentions.

Laura places a candle among the thousands burning in honor of Our Lady.

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