Floods Close Pilgrimage Site in Lourdes

The Associated Press is reporting severe flooding in the French town of Lourdes, a popular destination for pilgrims due to the historic shrine in a grotto there, where many Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous in 1858.

Rescue teams helped hundreds of pilgrims escape waterlogged hotels on Saturday after heavy rains led the Gave River to overrun its banks — and even wash up into the grotto. The regional government issued a statement late Saturday saying 427 people had been evacuated from their hotels. The Red Cross and regional authorities provided food and shelter to the escapees, as authorities warned of forecasts for more rain in the region.

The grotto is expected to remain closed at least through Monday.


Photo courtesy of Lourdes Infotourisme.



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