Fr. Scott A. Haynes
Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception in 1854, four years before the “Beautiful Lady” of Massabielle  introduced herself to Bernadette Soubirous. In a series of 18 events, Mary appeared before Bernadette. These apparitions occurred between February 11, 1858, and March 25, 1858. At the last apparition, Mary said to Bernadette:
“Que soy era Immaculada Councepciou.”
As Our Lady proclaims, "I am the Immaculate Conception," her message at Lourdes might be summed up in this simple way:
1. Our Lady's message to Bernadette is a heavenly confirmation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception that had just been defined by the Church a few years before.
2. As Mary appears to Bernadette, it is an exaltation of the virtues of Christian poverty and humility that are perceived in this poor young girl.
3. Our Lady calls each person to a heartfelt conversion. Mary tells Bernadette to focus on being happy in heaven. We must accept the cross in our daily lives and strive to imitate Christ.
4. Mary stresses the importance of prayer, especially the rosary. Our Lady appeared with a rosary hanging from Her right arm.
5. We are called to do penance in reparation for our sins. This is an essential aspect of every Marian apparition.
6. Our Lady of Lourdes calls us to seek humility of heart, quietly doing the work of God's Kingdom on earth.
7. We are to show a message of mercy for sinners and show compassion for the sick.
Every day we have to overcome temptation and sin, as we strive to follow Our Lady's message at Lourdes. We ask Mary Immaculate to intercede, to help us overcome all temptation and sin in our lives. We pray:
"O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."
 On Feb. 11, 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary first appeared to the 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous at the grotto of Massabielle near the village of Lourdes in the south of France, close to the Pyrenees Mountains. Bernadette did not seek out this apparition, she was collecting firewood, when Mary first appeared to her. Bernadette describes that in this first vision, she saw a beautiful lady dressed in a white veil, a blue sash and a golden rose on each foo, holding a rosary of pearls.