|View of the flooded Grotto of Lourdes in southwestern France|
(Photo credit: sacredspace102.blogspot.com)
It is interesting to note that on October 21, 2012, the very same day that a reliquary containing the blood of anti-pope John Paul II was scheduled to arrive in the Shrine of Lourdes in France during a pilgrimage organized by UNITALSI (Italian National Union for Transport of the Sick to Lourdes and International Shrines) which was supposed to have taken place from October 21 to 27 so that it can be seen and venerated by pilgrims from all over the world, in a strange stroke of unbelievable coincidence, severe floods, said to be the worst in 25 years, heavily inundated the shrine after days of non-stop downpour of rain in southwest France and forced the immediate closure of the sanctuary for several days and evacuation of some 450 pilgrims to a nearby conference center and a sports complex.
The incident clearly shows how the Immaculate Blessed Virgin Mary thinks about the great apostate, anti-pope John Paul II.
Two campsites were also evacuated and several roads closed around the Grotto, where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Bernadette Soubirous in 1858, as the Gave de Pau burst its river banks. The water was one meter deep in front of the grotto with debris like bits of wood, candles and branches floating on the surface, and about 80 centimeters in the avenue du Paradis where most of the hotels for pilgrims are situated. Only the massive basilica, built on higher ground, was accessible.
An estimated six million pilgrims visit the shrine every year where many disabled or sick people who went there to pray for a cure were miraculously healed by the Grotto's spring waters. The Catholic church recognizes 67 miracles associated with the shrine.