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Editorial N° 360

Dear AMIL members, dear readers,

The celebrations of the anniversary of the first apparition of 11February 1858 have just ended, and I would like to share with you the joy that the immense crowd we encountered gave us. On the 10th, as scheduled, we held the Annual General Meeting of members with the participation of more than 40 professionals. I report the unanimous approval of our 2023 final budget and 2024 budget and the decision to organize a Congress-Pilgrimage in 2025, in collaboration with the International Medical Committee of Lourdes and under the leadership of our bishop, Monsignor Jean-Marc Micas. This is to celebrate and to mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Medical Association of Our Lady of Lourdes which was founded in September 1925 by the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes Monsignor François-Xavier Schoepfer.

This issue is pubished at the beginning of the new pilgrimage season. Here, we try to illustrate how Lourdes is also a place of strong bonds of friendship, solidarity and lived memories even after death. And this is because, for the Church and the world, Lourdes has become an authentic “place of healing”- healing of the body and of the heart.

We publish the message that Pope Francis released on the occasion of the World Day of the Sick on 11February 2024. In it, the Pope says, among other things,

“Brothers and sisters, the first care we need in illness is closeness full of compassion and tenderness. Therefore, caring for the sick person means first of all caring for his relationships, all his relationships: with God, with others - family members, friends, health care workers -, with creation, with himself.”

And it is the “relationships” that are established at Lourdes that have certainly touched the depths of the heart of each of you, dear readers, professional health care workers, the countless anonymous volunteers, the countless pilgrims - healthy and sick in body or soul - and myself now, after so many years of faithful friendship with the Sanctuary! Let us try to recount, with this issue you have in your hands, the fruitfulness of such “relationships”!

Palmino and Lucia Paolucci who, with their family, were sent to Lourdes a few years ago by their Community to which they belong - the Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII founded by Don Oreste Benzi - here experienced the richness of their generous openness to life (with their children, 9 biological, 2 adopted and 2 adults in foster care system) until the creation of the En Casa Association which I invite you to get to know and, if you wish, to help.

Fr Bruno Daniel tells us how much the recognition of the miracle by Monsignor Jacques Benoit-Gonnin in the scientifically unexplained cure of Sr Bernadette Moriau from her Cauda Equina Syndrome in 2008, activated a new ecclesial dimension both in the Diocese of Beauvais, which now counts no less than 4 miraculous cures, and at our Bureau des Constatations Médicales (BdCM) to which Sr Bernadette handed over the orthoses and braces she had been using for years.

Just before Christmas, we learned of the death of Juliette Tamburini, 62nd Miracle of Lourdes.  She was a shy woman who lived the testimony of the gift of the cure she had received rather intimately with her family.  You will find the brief report with which my predecessor, Dr Alphonse Olivieri, announced the recognition of the miracle and the reproduction of the Decree of 11 May 1965 signed by the Archbishop of Marseilles, Monsignor Marc Lallier.

In the previous issue 359 of the Bulletin, I published an account of an alleged Lourdes cure of 1885, in the third year of the existence of the BdCM. I was surprised by the many favourable comments which that text received from our readers. This encouraged me to present, in this edition, another story, dating from 1899. Like so many others, this too was an unknown cure but one that certainly marked that person’s life, her vocational discernment and the faith of her parish community.

Having started coming to Lourdes regularly on pilgrimage as a volunteer in 1973, I became well acquainted with the Accueil Notre-Dame and its director, Sr Marie-Jo Boullet, of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers. The sick pilgrims owe her a lot and it seemed only right to publish a memorial of her written by Father Horacio Brito, whom I thank. And I also thank François Labadie, who was Sr Marie-Jo’s student, collaborator and successor in the Accueil, for providing us with some beautiful pictures.

The International Medical Committee of Lourdes (CMIL) has been in existence since 1954.  Initiated by Monsignor Théas, Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, it is a college of some thirty eminent medical specialists from different disciplines who are co-opted to study and re-evaluate cures recognized as “unexplained” by the Bureau des Constatations Médicales.  The CMIL is co-chaired by the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes and one of its members, currently Prof Olivier Jonquet. Our colleague Denis Daley passed away last year. He had been present in Lourdes with his wife Mary for many, many years, both on pilgrimage with his countrymen from Wales and at the annual CMIL meeting. We honour him by publishing the affectionate eulogy delivered by his son Patrick at the funeral Mass.

Dr François Leuret was the 8th President of the BdCM in Lourdes. He succeeded Dr August Vallet (1927-1947). The memory of this illustrious predecessor of mine has remained particularly alive at the Bureau thanks to the very affectionate “relationship” that his children and grandchildren have maintained with the Bureau and with our beloved Secretary Mme Maryline Plagnet. One of his sons, Lawyer Charles Leuret, passed away recently. His son, Stem Leuret wanted to write a brief memorial of his father and his family. I am very grateful to him for this.

The traditional Carnet (news)follows.

So the pilgrimage season is opening and I hope to welcome all of you in large numbers at the Bureau to grow in our “relationship” with God in praying together and in our “relationship” of friendship in meeting each other.

I greet you all with affection.

Sandro de Franciscis


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