St. Pius X and Lourdes

Translated extract from FSSPX Actualités

The underground basilica of the Marian city bears the name of Saint Pius X, patron saint of the Society, because the holy pope had personal links with the Marian sanctuary.

His sister, Maria Sarto, testified to this:

He was very devoted to Our Lady of Lourdes, of whom he had a small image that he often kissed; because we found it worn out... I know that it was by his order that a chapel was dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes in the Vatican gardens, and that he attended the dedication at which I was also present.

Another testimony of the particular piety of Saint Pius X towards Our Lady of Lourdes is that of Bishop François-Xavier Shoepfer, who was Bishop of Tarbes from 1899 to 1927.

He received a letter from the newly elected Pope asking him to entrust his pontificate to the Virgin Mary.

This prelate informed his flock that the Pope wished to have a replica of Massabielle's Grotto built in the Vatican gardens. He wrote to them:

This project is a personal initiative of our Holy Father the Pope. No one is unaware of the devotion that Pius X has for the Madonna of our Pyrenees.

Two years earlier, by tender piety, the future pope had the intention of coming to Lourdes at the head of an Italian pilgrimage, a project that Cardinal Sarto was forced to abandon because of his poor state of health.

His Secretary of State, Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val, also echoed the many testimonies of the Pope's special devotion:

During his walk in the Vatican gardens, he used to visit the chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Saint Pius X granted many spiritual favours and marks of esteem to the sanctuary of Lourdes, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Apparitions. He extended to the universal Church the feast of the apparition of 11 February. He introduced the cause of Bernadette's beatification. He thanked Our Lady for having established in Lourdes "the seat of her immense goodness". He underlined the link that exists in Lourdes between piety towards the Mother of God and piety towards Our Lord, and he paid this moving tribute:

The unique glory of the Sanctuary of Lourdes lies in the fact that people everywhere are drawn to it by Mary for the adoration of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, so that this sanctuary, both the centre of Marian worship and the throne of the Eucharistic mystery, seems to surpass all others in the Catholic world. (Letter of 12 July 1914)

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