This postcard is from someone even more special... my boyfriend, Matt! :) He visited Lourdes with his family in 2006 (a couple of months after we had to say goodbye for almost two years as I had to go finish my studies in Finland.. not missing those years, they were pretty painful even if we got to meet up a few times). Matt's parents are Catholic so Lourdes is a pretty important place for them. I'm not a religious person so I would probably just enjoy the sunshine myself. :p
Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes that are reported to have occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous. At that time, the most prominent feature of the town was the fortified castle that rises up from a rocky escarpment at its centre (you can also see the castle in this postcard).
Following the reports that Our Lady of Lourdes had appeared to Bernadette Soubirous on a total of eighteen occasions, Lourdes has developed into a major place of Roman Catholic pilgrimage and of alleged miraculous healings. The 150th Jubilee of the first apparition took place on 11 February 2008 with an outdoor mass attended by approximately 45,000 pilgrims.
Today Lourdes has a population of around 15,000 but is able to take in some 5,000,000 pilgrims and tourists every season. It is the joint seat of the Diocese of Tarbes-et-Lourdes and is the largest pilgrimage site in France, the second site being the Basilica of St. Thérèse (Lisieux), in Normandie.