CBS delivers good news on 'medically unexplainable' miracle at Lourdes

"I didn't go there for a miracle. I just went there to pray with others. Lourdes is a place where the smallest people, or the sickest, or the poorest, they come first."

In December, the CBS News program "60 Minutes" broadcast a report into the miracles that have taken place in the small French town of Lourdes, where medically unexplainable recoveries have been happening since the mid-1800s.

The small town of around 13,000, tucked away in the foothills of the Pyrenees, has been a pilgrimage site since 1858, when 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous claimed that the Virgin Mary visited her at the grotto of Massabielle, in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes.

The Marian shrine draws more than three million tourists and pilgrims every year, and has been the location of 70 proclaimed miracles confirmed by the Catholic Church.

"'I look to CBS News for good news about the Catholic faith' is a sentence you'll never, ever hear," said NewsBusters' Tim Graham about the "60 Minutes" story, broadcast on December 18, 2022.

The segment saw Bill Whitaker travel to the site and examine the investigation and authentication of these proclaimed miracles.

One of the focal points of the segment is an interview with 83-year-old Sister Bernadette Moriau, who until 2008 was unable to walk without a back and leg brace, an implant, and lots of morphine. 

"I always believed in miracles, but not for me," Sister Moriau told Whitaker when asked if she believed in miracles at the time. 

Sister Moriau suffered from Cauda Equina, a disorder that affects her nerves and lower spine and reportedly rendered her left foot twisted and limp.

"I really tried everything I could. But this is something that cannot be healed," she told the 60 Minutes host, telling him that her prognosis was "full, total paralysis."

Explaining to Whitaker why she decided to go to the shrine, she said, "I didn't go there for a miracle. I just went there to pray with others. Lourdes is a place where the smallest people, or the sickest, or the poorest, they come first."

But her experience turned out to be much more than that an opportunity to pray with others.

"I really had that feeling that the Lord was walking with us. And I heard him giving me these words: 'I see your suffering and that of your sick brothers and sisters. Just give me everything,'" she told Whitaker.

Three days later, she heard a voice instructing her to remove her braces and walk, which she successfully did.

For eight years, the case was examined by the Lourdes Office of Medical Observations, where world-renowned doctors and researchers investigate reported cures. They ultimately concluded that her case was "medically unexplained."

The segment concludes by saying, "It's been said about Lourdes: for those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not, no explanation is possible."

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