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Raven parent Kim Halpin, the mother of three alumni of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas — Cassie, Connor and Sean — was recently featured on an episode of the CBS news program “60 Minutes“ about the miracles that have been experienced in Lourdes, France.
Kim was interviewed about why she made a pilgrimage to the Marian shrine and prayed for a cure. Benedictine College has a close affinity with the shrine, since a monk was rescued in 1856 by a mysterious ”lady dressed in white“ and then founded the school in 1858, the year Our Lady of Lourdes, dressed in white, appeared to St. Bernadette in France.
The program reported: “The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in Southern France is the site of 70 medical miracles recognized by the Catholic Church. The Marian shrine is famous to the faithful, but less well known is the Lourdes office of medical observations. That’s where world-renowned doctors and researchers conduct decade-long investigations into the countless claims of cures reported over the years. They determine which cases can be medically explained and which cannot.”
Though Lourdes is a small town, it draws more than 3 million tourists and pilgrims each year. The 60 Minutes episode focused on Sister Bernadette Moriau, the 83-year-old member of the Franciscan Oblates of the Sacred Heart of Jesus whose healing from full paralysis became the 70th miracle recognized at the shrine.
“I really had that feeling that the Lord was walking with us,” Sister Bernadette said about her visit. “And I heard him giving me these words: ‘I see your suffering and that of your sick brothers and sisters. Just give me everything.’”
After exhaustive physical and psychological testing, no scientific or medical explanation of her restoration to health was found.
But the show also shared the story of Kim Halpin’s first pilgrimage to Lourdes. She recently discovered that she had incurable blood cancer and “came all the way from Kansas to cleanse herself in the water of Lourdes.”
“I’ve asked for complete healing, or a super long remission,” she told “60 Minutes” but added that she does “Not necessarily” expect a cure. “I ask for as much as I want, and maybe I will be blessed with part of it, which will be okay.”
The program mentions that her son Sean, a Benedictine College graduate, helped her make the visit.
Benedictine College has a close relationship with Lourdes and the “Lady dressed in white.” In what Benedictine Father Henry Lemke called a “miracle of Our Lady,” a pioneer girl was awakened during a storm in 1856. Her mother lit a lantern that guided the monk to safety when he was afraid for his life. The college dramatized the incident in a video available here.
When Benedictine College built Mary’s Grotto to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the campus in 2008, Lourdes water was brought in from France to mix the concrete with. Monks embedded a St. Benedict medal along with a rosary blessed by Pope Benedict XVI in the foundation.
The college has publicly thanked the Blessed Mother for several instances of her intercession on behalf of the school. Abbot James Albers consecrated Benedictine College to Our Lady in 2013, and the consecration was renewed in 2018. To commemorate the occasion, 1,000 faculty, staff, students, and friends formed a giant living rosary around the campus. After praying the Rosary together, students dropped hundreds of blessed Miraculous Medals into pre-drilled holes in the sidewalk. Afterward, the holes were plugged up with concrete and stamped with symbols to mark a giant walking rosary — Roman numerals to begin each decade and an M for each Hail Mary.
The “60 Minutes” episode shares much more about Lourdes, including a priest explaining that Our Lady of Lourdes called herself “the Immaculate Conception.” See the whole thing here: