top of page

Editorial N° 355

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

Alessandro de Franciscis

Président du Bureau des Constatations Médicales Président de l'Association Médicale Internationale de Notre-Dame de Lourdes (AMIL)


Dear Friends of the Bulletin

During these summer months, we are going to press with Issue 355, which tells you about what was happening over the Spring. I apologise to you for the delay in sending our Issue 354, at the end of winter. When we were ready to go to press at the Bialec printing house, near Nancy, with whom we published our Bulletin Nos. 341 to 353 with great satisfaction, we learned, unfortunately, to our surprise and dismay that the company had gone bust. This has forced us to look for a new printer. We selected BCR, about two hours' drive from Lourdes, who had already printed No. 354 for us. The change of printing house and region also meant looking for a new distribution company which takes the Bulletins from the printing house, packages them and sends them to the French Mailing Service, which in turn distributes them in France and other countries around the world. A bit of a delay, yes, but all has been resolved to our satisfaction.

In this issue, we are devoting considerable space to the arrival of our new Bishop, Monsignor Jean-Marc Micas, and to the departure of the Pontifical Delegate for the Sanctuary, Monsignor Antoine Hérouard - called to new pastoral responsibilities - and the Rector of the Sanctuary, Monsignor Olivier Ribadeau Dumas.

Monsignor Micas received his episcopal ordination on Sunday 29th May through the laying on of hands of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Toulouse and about 20 other bishops in a concelebration attended by about two hundred priests and several thousand faithful. On Monday, 30th May, Monsignor Micas took possession of his bishop's chair (kathedra) in Tarbes Cathedral. In the presence of Government and local authorities, the new bishop delivered his first homily, a beautiful text which we publish at the start of this bulletin. You will appreciate, as I certainly do, the mention of the centrality of Lourdes and Saint Bernadette and the reference to the sick and their waiting for healing.

On 10th May 2022, Mgr Micas announced to the Community of the Sanctuary the appointment of Father Michel Daubanes, currently Vicar General of the Diocese of Évreux, as the new Rector of the Sanctuary as of 1st September, for a term of five years renewable once. We welcome Father Daubanes to Lourdes and assure him of the collaboration of the entire vast medical network of Lourdes.

To Mgr Ribadeau Dumas, our sincere thanks for these three years or so spent together in almost daily contact. Years that were marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and by the pastoral and organisational decisions, which the Rector ensured with an expert, sure and generous hand, both for the Community of the Sanctuary and with the public institutions and those involved in the life of the City of Lourdes. To Olivier, the grateful greetings of the AMIL and the CMIL and my personal gratitude for a collaboration which has turned into the gift of a friendship, which has been a real honour for me. Monsignor Ribadeau Dumas wished to write a few pages for our Bulletin.

On Thursday 19th May, at the Grotto, we took part in the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Mgr Antoine Hérouard, the new Archbishop of Dijon, appointed Apostolic Delegate for the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in June 2019. During the Mass with which Mgr Herouard took leave of the Sanctuary in his capacity as Delegate of the Pope, we listened attentively to his beautiful homily, the text of which we publish here. Thank you Monsignor!

In this first part of the 2022 season, I have the distinct impression of an energetic revival of pilgrimages to Lourdes with and without the sick. Organised pilgrimages and large international pilgrimages such as the Order of Malta's International Pilgrimage and the International Military Pilgrimage are returning. And again the small groups return. And many sick pilgrims!

To my medical colleagues and all health workers: you are really generous! I already had a sense of your eagerness to come and serve from the successful AMIL General Assembly and the Zoom meeting on Saturday 12th February. This eagerness has been confirmed by the immense success of the recent "peregrinatio" of Saint Bernadette's relics across the United States of America, while preparations are being made for the one in the United Kingdom.

I would like to thank four dear friends for their collaboration with this issue that you have in your hands: (A) Ugo and Diletta Bogotto, Communications Officers for the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Loreto for informing us of the continuing care of that venerable Sanctuary for sick people; (B) Mrs Beatrice Bonnamour, wife of Dr Christian Bonnamour who tells of the homage paid to her husband on the occasion of the pilgrimage of the Hospitalité de Roanne; and (C) Dr Jane Pateman who helped me honour the memory of Dr Felicity Knight, one of the founders of the British Lourdes Medical Association.

We also publish the farewell of Sr Marie Ange Mesclon who leaves the Sanctuary to serve in Nevers. Thank you for everything, Sr Marie Ange!

As usual, the traditional Carnet closes, as usual, this Bulletin.

I have experienced an increased demand for my presentations in the Spring. In the last six months, I have been able to attend the annual meeting of the British Lourdes Medical Association (Newcastle) in the United Kingdom, meetings in Laval, Brive la Gaillarde, Châteaubriant and La Roche sur Yon in France, and meetings in Rome, Parma, Varese, Milan and Casale Monferrato in Italy. In the last few months I have met the miraculées Sr Luigina Traverso, Sr Bernadette Moriau and Vittorio Micheli, and the number of my lectures requested here in the Sanctuary has seemed to increase.

And I felt great joy at the resumption of the musical 'Bernadette de Lourdes', which is also accessible to disabled people and pilgrims.

What strikes me about the messages of the Immaculate Conception to Bernadette is the combined respect and confidence of the gestures and words used by Mary. “Would you be so kind as to come here for 15 days?” - “I do not promise to make thee happy in this world but in the other” - (...). This year we propose to reflect on the invitation of the thirteenth apparition “Go and tell the priests to build a chapel here and that people should come in procession.” The Virgin has not yet revealed her identity. But Mary begins to ask for a chapel. And - unique among all the recognised Marian apparition sites - Our Lady at Massabielle asks that we come “HERE”.

Colleagues and friends, it only remains for me to remind you that Mary awaits you “here” at Massabielle! Happy summer to all!

Sandro de Franciscis


bottom of page