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Man with paralysed leg walks 1,000 miles after visit to Lourdes

By on Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Handicapped pilgrims pictured in front of the Basilica of the Rosary in Lourdes (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Handicapped pilgrims pictured in front of the Basilica of the Rosary in Lourdes (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

A man with a paralysed left leg has completed a 1,000-mile hike to Santiago de Compostela after being cured at Lourdes, it has been reported.

Television repair man Serge François, 40, said he felt a warm glow spread down his herniated leg during a visit to Lourdes in 2002.

He said he had been praying at the grotto where Bernadette Soubirous first had visions of the Virgin Mary in 1858, and all of his suffering suddenly disappeared.

After regaining the use of his leg, Mr François walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (the Way of St James), the pilgrimage route spanning France and Spain.

Mr François, from La Salle-et-Chapelle-Aubry in Maine, western France, reported what happened to the International Medical Committee of Lourdes and 20 doctors have now concluded that it was indeed “remarkable”.

Bishop Emmanuel Delmas of Angers said: “In the name of the Church, I publicly recognise the ‘remarkable’ character of the healing from which Serge François benefited at Lourdes on April 12, 2002. This healing can be considered a personal gift from God to man, as an event of grace, as a sign of Christ the Saviour.”

Bishop Delmas said the bureau of medical experts at Lourdes had concluded that the recovery was “sudden, complete, unrelated to any particular therapy and durable”.

The healing could be considered “as a personal gift of God for this man, as an event of grace, as a sign of Christ the Saviour”, he said, avoiding the word “miracle”.

More than 7,000 cases of unexplained healings have been recorded in Lourdes, but only 67 have been recognised as miraculous by the Church. The healing of Mr François may be the 68th.

  • Jeannine

    In the last few yrs, there seems to be a noticeable increase of reported miracles associated with the Catholic Church. I wonder if Heaven is making major preparations for something big.

  • Marc Repellin

    Emmanuel DELMAS, who happens to be a cousin of mine, is NOT archbishop but bishop of ANGERS (France) ! Errare humanum…

  • The Catholic Herald

    Thank you for pointing that out. We have now corrected it.

  • Jack Regan

    Brilliant, fascinating article. Thank You :)

  • Cjkeeffe

    Whilst the healing of this man as the bishop says is a gift from God, the true healings from Lourdes is that of peace of heart and soul and acceptence of Gods will. Be that to heal physically or to bear suffering. Suffering can be seen as a problem and Pope John Paul II wrote a moving Apostolic Letter about it. One of the mysteries of Lourdes healings is why that of Jack Traynor fromLiverpool is not listed as miracule.

  • Alex Benziger


  • Fr. Joseph

    I visited Lourdes in 2000. I prayed at the Grotto.I had an experience of our Lady’s presence there .Though I did not have any miracle,I got a special attachment to our Lady who is ever my mother since my childhood
    Fr Joseph manjananikal C. M..I I ndia

  • Noronhavivian

    It makes strange reading that Europeans in general have become non believers.The Asian, Latin American,and African peoples received the good news of Jesus and Mother Mary from Europeans and are ever grateful.Therefore we pray our dear Mother and our Lord work the biggest miracle i.e. that the people of Europe once again find and reclaim their faith in the Lord and our Mother.

  • tommo

    Wonderful story. So many different miracles occur there, with even the hardest of hearts open up to God’s mercy when they visit that great shrine.

  • Memory-of-Forever

    I’m sorry, but what do you base your comment “noticeable increase in reported miracles associated with the Catholic Church” on? I am not refuting this, but if you have any statistics or stories or websites, I would be very much interested in them! thanks :D

  • Jeannine

    I don’t have any statistics. I’m sure there aren’t any published stats out there. It maybe the same rate as compared to the past (How about those yrs before & during WWII!). It’s more of an educated hunch. I tend to be very sensitive towards outliers. (I’m a statistician by trade.) But given today’s horrible, current events, it makes sense to me that God is taking more concrete & unusual steps to remind & comfort His children that He is there for us no matter what, just like any good father would.

    The ones that I can currently remember that started at the end of the 20th century & into the 21st:
    - Our Lady of Kibeho, visions started in the 1980s & continues today. Recognized by the Catholic Church. Seems to be a continuation of Fatima.
    - Miracle associated with JPII 1 or 2 yrs after his death.
    - Miracles associated with Mother Teresa soon after her death.
    - This article.
    - The deacon cured by JH Newman’s intercession.
    - The boy maybe cured while watching JH Newman’s beautification mentioned in this website.
    - The entire life of Audrey Marie Santo from Massachusetts. A most unusual life!
    - Teenager Chiara Luce Badano of the Focolare Movement.
    - And I understand Padre Pio is still going strong.

    I know there is much more. I am sorry I can not remember all of them. Thank you for keeping me honest!

  • Amaladoss8

    Glory to God Almighty and through mother Mary may all who seek her assistance be blessed….

  • Tohmsa Hatrman

    I watched 5,000 visitors to Lourdes leave in the same wheelchairs that brought them, their conditions unchanged. God is very selective with his/her grace.

  • Anonymous

    Not to pour cold water on this or anything, but, as I read the article – he completed the 1000 mile walk 9 years after his visit, right?

    I would expect God to produce instant healing, this could just be remarkable natural healing over a 9 year period.
    Sorry to be so miserable and skeptical…. :(

  • Ratbag

    If you spent more of your time in prayer and in penance at Lourdes than counting people like a jobsworth, you’d be better off!

  • Ratbag

    If only we could be more interested in what God expects of us than what we expect of God…

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t it strange that god doesn’t heal amputees?

  • Stedge

    Peoples of Asia and Africa actually introduced Jesus to the Europeans and many of them still die for their beliefs today. Seven Churches of Asia Minor, Ethiopian Orthodox and Syrian Christians, Monastic movement in Africa, Saint Paul was born in Tarsus(Asia) etc .Our European arrogance has not abated.

  • Noronha vivian

    Stedge,The Lord would have said”Father forgive them for they know not what they do” but he will send them the scourge which is on them already.It grows in their backyard by leaps and bounds and they are asleep.They will become slaves to this people and then their eyes will be opened.Lets pray that they do not have to suffer this imprisonment?Lourdes is a constant reminder to Europeans not to forget their roots.

  • Kyriakos

    Dear Noronhavivian let me point out that there is a certain ignorance in your statement,though to a most part what you are saying is true.In fact as Stedge has pointed out Christianoty in the first centureis developed mainly in the East(The Fr.Joseph who has commented here is a priest who belongs the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church which has its roots in St.Thomas the Apostle). Said so there is also great truth in what you have commented.The western Europeans introduced Christianity to a major part of Asia,Africa and Americas and now seem to have lost or loosing faith(hope that this does not continue)

  • Anonymous

    I agree – what is the evidence for this?

  • Anonymous

    Fair enough, ignore the comment above please! :)

  • Anonymous

    Lourdes is very beautiful. I can’t say I felt anything at the grotto in particular, no sudden religious experience! More of a collective feeling of spirituality throughout the whole trip.

    The beauty of the basilica and the peace and beauty of the town, certainly contrast severely with the East of the town though, which is really busy and full of tacky souvenirs. A plastic Jesus face-mask – if that isn’t blasphemous – then what exactly is?

    Wonderful place nonetheless, would love to go back.

  • michael in sydney

    Are you worn out? Does your life lack meaning even though you own many things? Deep down is there something missing? Read the bible and take Jesus on His word. I did and my life has never been better or blessed.

  • Trishadoll

    well said , isay believe and thow shall recieve

  • finches7

    I prayed in a church for God to heal me of Schizophrenia. I was desperate and crying. I have spent all my life with this disorder and no doctor could cure me or even stabilize me on medication. I was getting worse and the doctors wrote poor prognosis on my file. I was violent and psychotic for three years of my marriage. My husband was getting ready to leave me and he felt bad, but he could not handle my psychosis anymore. I went to the church when it was empty and could not contain my tears. I met with the Deacon and told him about my problem and my guilt that i should let my husband go. I knew my life would be poverty and possibly homelessness again. I asked the Deacon to pray for me as well. The very next day, I went to a grocery store and the woman in the supplement section told me that there was a customer in there that day that had similar problems to mine and was healed by a holistic doctor. She introduced me to this customer who tells me that she went to a holistic doctor near me and he cured her of mental illness. I went to that holistic doctor and he cured me in 3 months! God answered my prayer for healing so quickly. I could not believe it! Some random customer at a grocery store tells me this and just happens to be there that very day. I thank God for this gift of life. It saved my marriage. I wasn’t able to work at all, and now i’m working full time and studying. Miracles happen everywhere. Not just at Lourdes. I know some people who were cured by praying. For years I did not go to church, but God kept calling me back. I had kids i tutored who inspired me to go back to church. You really need to turn back to God and go to confession and take communion and develop a relationship with God. For the longest time, I never asked God to heal me because I didn’t think it was the right thing to do, or that i didn’t deserve it. When I asked for healing wholeheartedly, it happened. Praise be to God!

  • finches7

    My life has just gotten better and God keeps sending me signs of His presence. I pray the Rosary and meditate on the life and death of Jesus Christ. God is always looking after me now. So many freaky things happen now that can’t be explained. LIke when i’m tired and cannot handle another hour at work, I get a phone call and my appointment is cancelled. That has happened more than once in three months. It just happens like automatically. It is absolutely amazing. Another thing that happened, was that i didn’t have enough money to buy ceramic pots and i tried to buy a used oak cabinet with glass doors for my books. I could not afford it and my husband said that he couldn’t either because he wasn’t making money at his job at that time. My neighbour across the street calls me to come over for coffee. Right before i leave, she says that there is something in the garage that she wants me to have a look at. It is an Oak cabinet with glass doors and shelves inside.. Then she tells me that she also has something else she wants to get rid of before she moves. I look down and there are two ceramic pots! I was completely flabbergasted. I ran into my home and was practically hysterical telling my husband that God was giving me this. I could not believe it. The only two things i wanted, and my neighbour gives them to me. This is the kind of freaky stuff that happens when you pray the Rosary, but that is praying every day. I try to talk to God as often as i can too. God answers prayers people. You just have to pray daily and talk to God and have a relationship with God and follow the commandments.

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